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St. Anne work camp, Milwaukee

July 07, 2010 - At least one Milwaukee neighborhood is just a little brighter thanks to some local youth.

About 30 high school-aged youth and six adults from St. Anne Church in Ortonville traveled to Milwaukee on June 20 as part of a Catholic Heart Work Camp. The weeklong inner city Milwaukee work camp concentrates in two major areas; helping families who have acquired a home through the Dominican Center for Women or A.C.T.S. attain repairs, and helping the area senior population of Milwaukee.

The contingent from St. Anne joined hundreds of high school youth from across the country, including St. Daniel Church in Clarkston, for a week of cleaning, painting and yard work in the Milwaukee area.

Kim Zernec, St. Anne youth ministry coordinator, has served five years with the group and assisted with many trips around the country.

"Over the past trips I've watched teens growing in their faith and understanding," said Zernec. "I see the joy provided others by being a servant to those in need. The teens are exposed to other cultures and worlds. Many teens return home and refocus on their own life. It's simple things like showers, a nice place to sleep and a meal. "

In 1993, Catholic Heart Work Camp was founded by Steve and Lisa Walker. At that time they were both youth ministers at St. Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park, Fla. The concept of offering a Catholic work camp was prompted by their participation in non-denominational work camps.

"When the group starts working out in a neighborhood and the people living there see the activity—they come out and start cleaning up their yards," said Zernec. "In the midst of a lot of neglect, residents were motivated to clean up their own yards and streets. These kids bring out the best in us all—their enthusiasm is life-changing."

The St. Anne Youth group is open to all area high school students. Details: 248- 627-3965 ext 132.

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