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Vermonters take part in triennial Episcopal Youth Event

Vermont EYE participants at the site of the Habitat for Humanity house built during the event.Back row (l. to r.): Katie Dutcher, Michael Daley II, Cheyenne Garland. Front row (l. to r.) Emily Corkins, Kayla Weeden, Alyssa Zajan, Heather Ogelby.

Five Vermont young people and two adults were among 1,300 Episcopal youth and adult sponsors who gathered on the campus of Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, June 22-26, for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event (EYE). A portion of each year’s diocesan budget is reserved to help defray the costs of attending EYE.

The theme for EYE 2011, “Come To- gether: Intimately Linked in this Harvest Work,” reflected the design team’s passion to be “all about mission,” and participants had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops on every aspect of mission as well as to complete mission projects such as writing letters to soldiers and assem- bling care packages for victims of recent tornadoes. The young people also built a house from the ground up for Habitat for Humanity in a parking lot on the campus. Habitat transported the house to a Saint Paul suburb following the gathering.

Adult sponsor and coordinator for the group, Heather Ogelby, reported that, “Everyone who goes gets something personal, gets something out of it they will never forget. We learned about faith, learned about self, learned about other Episcopal youth, others who share the same beliefs.”

Responses to Ogelby’s question about highlights included: “the workshops; the music; the worship services; meeting new friends; getting helpful tips during workshops about mission work and leading small groups; the talks by Dr. Rodger Nishioka and Bishop Sutton of Maryland; learning that we should give back to the church and that we [youth] are the church of today; we [youth] can do things—we have to try hard and keeping trying, don’t give up; the workshop by Cameron Graham Vivanco, an Episcopal missionary living in Ecuador, where we learned about accepting people no matter what culture they are from and that receiving [in terms of mission trips] is as good as giving—people we are helping want to help us too.”

Helping to build the Habitat House was also a highlight. Ogelby said, “The Vermont youth liked the feeling that we could help and the sense of community—everybody pitched in. Kayla and Cheyenne helped cut blue board, Alyssa and Emily hammered, Katie helped organize supplies and paperwork, Heather and Michael helped lift boards that ended up going on the roof.”

Ogelby asked the participants to complete the sentence, “EYE is…
Katie said, “really fun.”
Emily said, “a life changing experience, learned about self.”
Kayla said, “something everyone should experience.”
Alyssa said, “life changing connection to God, self, and others—not by yourself.”
Cheyenne said, “fantabulous.”

[Many thanks to Heather Ogelby for her contributions to this article.]

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