The BYG (Big Youth Group)

 

We are a cooperative group of six churches in Morris, Hunterdon, and Sussex counties, who work together with each other and with the Appalachia Service Project www.asphome.org to help make homes warmer, safer, and drier.


This year, a group of 85 youth and adults travelled to Logan County, West Virginia to fix houses and build relationships.


Together; in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ, we can do amazing things.

Since 1993 Community Presbyterian Church of Chester NJ has been a member church of the Big Youth Group, BYG.  BYG was formed for the sole purpose of giving high school youth from area churches the opportunity to have fellowship with one another.  That first year a summer mission trip (BYG Work Camp) was planned that involved the high school youth, with adult volunteers, to spend a week doing construction work for families they had never met before.  Since that first year it has been a summer tradition for many high school and college youth and adult volunteers to spend a week in July working side by side with others and serving families, that before, had not been a part of their lives. 


Many of the participants do not have any construction background or have even heard of some of the tools that they will become experts at, many do not know the poverty that they will see, but all go with open hearts.  Since 1996 BYG has been volunteering with Appalachia Service Project (ASP), www.asphome.org,
whose mission is to make homes warmer, safer, and drier, in Central Appalachia.  ASP works in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, where in most communities there is a poverty rate of up to three times the national average, and one in four (25.04%) people live in poverty in these areas. 


It is hard to explain to someone that has never been to Central Appalachia or been on a summer work camp what their week will be like.  How do you put a life changing experience into words?  How do you explain that at the end of the week of working harder then you ever knew you could that all you want to is to stay and keep working?  How do you explain that the family that you didn’t know seven days earlier has let you into their homes and hearts and will forever be with you?


Throughout the year, starting almost with our return home each summer, we plan for our next trip.  The trip has many aspects to plan, renting vehicles to drive to Central Appalachia and to use all week to carry construction supplies and the volunteers to their worksites, organizing paperwork, training for all participants of the basic tools they will use, determining the best road course to take, and of course fundraising.  Each year the biggest hurdle is raising enough money to go.  With our every growing group of 79 strong and gas prices increasing every second a $45,000+ budget is the reality of what needs to be raised to go, but with the memories of the past summer we buckle down and work all year to get ourselves back to Appalachia.  This summer BYG (participating churches Community Presbyterian Church of Chester, First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Flemington, First Presbyterian Church of Fairmount, Lower Valley Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church of Califon) will once again be traveling to the hills of Appalachia to make homes warmer, safer and drier for families we have not yet met. 


It is with everyone’s support that we will have the opportunity to see the smile of the child that greets you when you arrive Monday morning, the hugs from the family members that are so tight you would think that you knew them your whole life, the tears in their eyes (and your own) when it is time to leave on Friday.  These are all images tha
t stay with you a lifetime, these are part of the life lessons, what you think of at the strangest of times and what goes home with you after a long week of hard work in the hot July sun.


Please support us with your prayers and with your donations.


Visit the “Events” page for upcoming BYG events and fundraisers.

                                                                               BYG Leadership:

                                                                          bygworkcamp@gmail.com


 

The Churches

Califon United Methodist Church

http://califonumc.org

15 River Road, PO Box 305

Califon, New Jersey, 07830

908.832.2318

Stillwater Presbyterian Church

901 Main Street
Stillwater, NJ, 07875
973.579.6686

Fairmount Presbyterian Church

www.fpctoday.org

247 Old Turnpike Rd, County Road 517

Califon, NJ, 07830

908.832.2154

Lower Valley Presbyterian Church

www.lowervalley.org

445 Route 513

Califon, New Jersey, 07830

lowervalleypc@embarqmail.com

Community Presbyterian Church of Chester

www.cpcchester.org

220 Main Street

Chester, NJ, 07930

908.879.5091

cpcchester@comcast.net

BYG Member Churches

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Flemington

www.stpaulnj.com

201 State Road 31

Flemington, NJ, 08822

908.782.5120