Youth Mission Trip:  August 6-11

The Mountains of Kentucky!

 The Youth Will Embark Upon a Week of Service, Community Building and Fellowship!

The Mountains of Kentucky are calling!  And the Youth of First Church and Westmoreland Congregational UCC could not be more excited!  Two youth from First Church — Patrick Darling-LaGamma and Raine Anderson — and eight youth from Westmoreland will go an adventure of good work and learning from our brothers and sisters in the Appalachians of Kentucky.

This trip really began last fall when First Church hosted the UCC’s Parker Lecture Series.  One of its amazing award recipients was Dee Davis of the Center for Rural Strategies.  With honesty and authenticity, he shared his story about how too often the people living in rural America are left behind.  Not only do they face significant socio-economic and environmental challenges, but they also are deprived of the communications and internet infrastructure that would allow them to connect to the rest of the world.  The organization’s mission is to advocate for their socio-economic welfare, but also to be truth-tellers about the rich culture and vitality that exists in rural America.  By doing this, they hope to “deepen public debate and create a national environment in which positive change for rural communities can occur.” (

So, in DC, I told Dee how impressed I was by his work and how wonderful it would be for me and DC youth to visit him in Whitesburg, KY.  And with loving hospitality, he not only said yes but connected us with amazing organizations that are helping us to truly create a meaningful mission experience.

Some of the highlights of this trip will include:

  • Three days of volunteering with the Housing Development Alliance where we will work with seasoned carpenters to help build homes for Appalachian families.
  • An Appalachian Meal offered by our hosts, First Presbyterian Church of Hazard County, KY.
  • Learning about the cultural significance and power of stories from Dee Davis of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, KY.
  • Attending an Appalachian concert and a dance at the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School.
  • A hike up to Cascade Falls in southwest Virginia.

Needless to say, we are excited!  We are also grateful for the support of First Church to make this trip possible!

Rev. Sam