Youth Peace Travel Team 2015 – ECHO Workcamp

group  hand in beansbuilding  open storeturtle planting beach

Hello from Florida again friends! We spent the last week as directors for the workcamp down here in Fort Myers at ECHO Global Farm! We got to not only help lead devotions for the youth, but also got the chance to work alongside them. It was an excellent experience for all of us, and here are some of our thoughts from the week.

I was already excited to see ECHO again, as I went there as a workcamper back in 2009. Having that experience gave me some know-how, but it didn’t help me “know how” to be a director – that was the biggest difference! But I still had a great experience at both the farms and with my campers. These campers were an awesome, hard working, energetic and song-loving group. Sing-alongs were a must during the week. But it wasn’t all play. The work was dirty and tiring, and we drank so much water. We were all inspired to live more mindfully of the earth and the resources we use. I daydreamed about having my own garden of multi-use plants and produce. My parents say that I came home daydreaming about a garden back in 2009 too! ECHO must have a great impact on people as well as their staff. Proving just how dedicated to their spiritual calling, two elders of ECHO prayed for me for something I’ve been struggling with. I was definitely happy to be back. The beautiful gardens, the wonderful staff, and the great campers made it an unforgettable experience – one that was definitely worth the fire ant bites!  – Brean

Last week the Peace Team played the role of the director, which was new for everyone. I really enjoyed ECHO for many reasons. I love the philosophy they have on global farming and helping people around the world learn how to grow their own food. Food insecurity is something that interests me a lot so ECHO was a perfect opportunity to learn about and participate in helping to alleviate that problem. Echo has sections of the farm that replicate different regions of the world including: rainforest, mountain, wetlands, semi-arid, urban farming, community garden, and more. I worked in semi-arid by weeding and planting okra. I also worked in the community garden by hauling and mixing sand and soil to raise the beds in the garden. I haven’t ever done farm work so ECHO was very new and exciting. On our free day we got to go to Barefoot Beach. It was gorgeous! We got to swim and dolphins swam by us about 200 meters away! We also found crabs, sand dollars and sea stars; I’ve never seen that much wildlife in the day at the beach. It was wonderful! – Annika

This past week at ECHO was a wonderful time! We played the role of director and worked alongside one of the workcamp coordinators (shout out to Hannah). We had a great group of campers and advisors that we got to lead through devotions and just hang out with. During the day we would all head over to ECHO Global Farms where they would split us up into different work groups that would go with interns at the farm to work for the day. And when I say work, I mean WORK! It was tough work of all kinds, from weeding and planting to building shelters to mulching and everything in between! And on top of that it was in the Florida heat! But our campers persevered and did an excellent job! Everyone was always tired when we broke for lunch and at the end of the day, but then we could rest knowing that we had done great work for an amazing cause. The staff at ECHO were all super great and helpful, and incredibly excited to have our help for the week! One of my highlights was getting to work with a big group of campers to replace one of the shade coverings at the nursery. We spent all our workday up on ladders or running tools around to take boards down and put new ones back up! The coolest part was that it couldn’t be done as a one-person job; we needed everyone and all had to work together to get the job done! Another highlight was how welcoming the Saving Grace Church of the Brethren in Fort Myers was to our camp. They let us use their building, and also had a cookout meal and concert for us one evening! ECHO was a great experience and an excellent week! -Kerrick

We all greatly enjoyed the week at ECHO, and if you ever get the chance to go down to Fort Myers and volunteer there, we definitely recommend it! (Although maybe not in July) J Thanks to everyone who helped make this workcamp happen and thank you to all who took time to read our blog post here! Blessings to you all!