by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer
During the week of July 20 through July 24 there was a lot of activity at the Itasca County Habitat for Humanity Home being built at 1405 Aspen Drive in Deer River for Zack and Samantha Ikola and their family.
This flurry of activity came about because there were 27 youngsters from age 16 to age 18, who, along with six adults, had arrived from Geneva, Ill. to do their part in the construction of the home. They were working on the framing.
This is the seventh year that the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva had brought a group of kids to work on a Habitat home in the area.
Nancy Christensen is one of the adults in the group that has been here all of those seven years with groups of youngsters. She said, “Some of the young people have been here more than one year, but not all of them. They are from our church’s high school youth group.”
On July 21 the crew of youngsters were busy working with Habitat for Humanity staff, such as Habitat for Humanity Project Manager Larry Curtiss, at the site.
“Our youth group always gets excited to come up here to work on a home,” said Christensen. “They do all of the fundraising to pay for the trip and donate what isn’t needed to the Itasca County Habitat for Humanity. Usually, they raise about $6,000.”
The group is being housed at the Assemblies of God Church in Grand Rapids. “They have pretty well let us take over the church,” said Christensen with a laugh. “We cook the group’s breakfast and supper there. The local churches in Deer River are providing lunch for everyone. They bring it right to the site.”
Not everything is work for the youngsters. “On July 22 they get a play day,” said Christensen on July 21. “That’s their beach day and local people will be bringing out their personal pontoons to take everyone out on the lake. That will be a nice break for everyone before going home.”
But, some of those youngsters will be back again. “Sometimes we are able to stop back and visit at the Habitat home they worked on as they have worked side-by-side with the families. The kids like to visit the home and relive the memories of what they accomplished.”
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