When I was in high school, a handful of us from Youth Group went over to what is now Kids Play Park, or perhaps better known as Castle Park, on Prewett Drive in Folsom. At that time, the park was in the construction phase and our Youth Pastor, David Holcomb, thought it would be a good idea for us to lend a hand. It was a hot day, a long day, but my memories of it are good. My job was to cut ground cloth to lay under the wooden structures. If you’ve ever been to the park – you can imagine what a job it was to work around the maze of wooden beams and posts that make up the play structure. I remember working alongside some of my friends, laughing with them and figuring out the maze of ground cloth together. For anyone who knows me – math and I are not friends, but co-laborers Todd Dunlap and Jeff Leary, on the other hand, had formulas and theories of the best way to figure it out – none of which, I might add, made the job easier, albeit more entertaining.
Fast forward to today, almost 20 years later and “Castle Park” is a beloved park for my family. It has been the location of our birthday parties, picnics, playdates, swinging contests, nature walks, you name it! Every time I am there, I remember the day we helped to build it. Of all the parks in Folsom, I feel a bit more ownership of that one – I feel a bit more inclined to pick up the trash and leave it in good shape for those who come next – I guess I just can’t shake the feeling of responsibility that comes when you invest yourself in a project like that!
Coming up on May 17 & 18, several of the churches in our area are joining together to invest in these types of projects for our community. There are several reasons I am excited for this upcoming effort:
1. We rarely get to work side by side with our fellow brothers and sisters from the churches around us. We pray for them each weekend, but this is a chance for us to get to know them and be shoulder-to-shoulder with them in our collective community.
2. We will get to invest our labor in projects that fulfill needs in our city! The organizers of this event have spent countless hours talking with the School District, Parks & Rec Department, city officials, as well as ministry leaders and organization directors for months gathering these projects. Our hope is that the city will be blessed. Not only blessed because of the needs met, but also blessed because of the ongoing investment we will all feel for these areas of our community long after the projects are over.
3. Everyone is included! There are projects for skilled laborers, kid/family-friendly projects, projects for those who like to engage in conversation, as well as projects for those who want to stay busy. You name it, I think you can find a match of some kind on the list. Or if you have your own projects (a neighbor who needs some work done, a favorite organization you don’t see on the list?) – it is not too late to add it!
A few years back, I was infected with the question, “What difference does it make that there are churches in Folsom?” It should make all the difference in the world that churches exist in a given community. Here’s our chance to make our answer a bit more tangible, even if just for a weekend.