The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 27, 2013

Teen workers to stay at DHS


DANVILLE — District 118 school board members approved a request Wednesday from a group to use Danville High School’s facilities for a week during the summer of 2014.

Group Workcamps Foundation, a Colorado-based ministry founded in 1977 that does charitable work around the globe, plans to bring about 400 teens and their chaperones to Danville between June and August of 2014 to donate one week of free labor to repair 50-65 homes.

During the work camp ministry, high school-age youths from across the country pay for the privilege to come to a community for a week and assist with repairing homes for senior, low-income and disabled homeowners.

Danville’s First Presbyterian Church is the local sponsor of the work camp group and will select the homes that need work with the help of local organizations such as Love INC and The Salvation Army.

The Rev. Jimmy Hopper of First Presbyterian Church said he has attended work camps the last four summers in North Carolina and Minnesota, with the closest one being in Mount Vernon, Ill.

“It’s across denominational lines and across state lines,” he said of the group’s work.

Hopper said the group’s payback to a community amounts to about $500,000 in labor hours, supply purchases and other purchases, such as food.

Bob Turley, manager of Group Workcamps Foundation, told the board that local schools have provided the best lodging for their teens, many of whom are involved in church youth groups.

The teens would sleep on the floor at the high school in their own sleeping bags, shower in the locker rooms and eat breakfast and dinner in the cafeteria.

“We will pay for the utilities, cleaning supplies, custodians and cooks,” Turley said.

Also on Wednesday, school board members:

First Student was the lowest of four bidders at $2.919 million for the first year of service, with a 3.5 percent increase in the second and third years of the contract.

The bid was 13 percent, or $331,000, higher than this year’s transportation cost of $2.58 million.

The portable press box is $20,000 less than a permanent structure, plus “we can move it and use it in other places,” said Ron Henton, director of buildings and grounds.

What’s next

District 118 school board members will meet at 6:30 p.m. March 13 in the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St.