WHAT CAN YOU SAY about two vans full of New Windsor teen-agers who traveled across the country together? That they had a ball, they were great ambassadors for Carroll, and they returned rejuvenated and, in some ways, different people.
That's the report from Tom Marble, 14, of Uniontown and his pastor, the Rev. Darrell Layman, who just returned from a 4,200-mile trip to the heart of the country with nine other teens and their parents.
These youths from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in New Windsor, for which Layman ministers, were part of a work-camp adventure that included a weekend at Lutheran Church's World Mission Conference in Sioux Falls, S.D. The group stopped at amusement parks, baseball games and national monuments and slept in sleeping bags on church-hall floors.
Those who traveled included chaperons Bob Bassler Jr., Mary, Amy and David Layman, Alan Trump, Donald Hoff and Dawn Waskiewicz. Teens who made the trip are: Tom Marble, Chris and Jenny Bassler, Heather Partner, Jessica Hoff, Jenny and Kristin Waskiewicz, Dawn and Kimber Richards and Jason Trump.
What prompted the group to attempt this adventure? The time was right, said Layman, whose first love is youth ministry.
"We had a number of kids who were too old to spend a summer day camps, yet too young for summer employment. And we were looking for a way to have some involvement in a church some distance away. We wanted to do some work with a congregation and with other youth that would be beneficial to the life of that church."
A St. Luke's parishioner knew a church family in Craig, Iowa, so that town became the group's work destination. Craig is a village "even smaller than Uniontown, if you can imagine that," Tom Marble said. The group stayed with families for two days, helping spruce up the local park and painting the dugout at the ball
diamond and concession stand.
The next big weekend was spent at Augustana College in Sioux Falls at the Lutheran Church's Global Mission Event. Fourteen-hundred people from around the world attended the international meeting, and St. Luke's members participated in sessions on topics from prison ministry to the impact of urbanization on the church.
These were eye-openers. "I didn't realize there was a church in prison, or that prisons had their own currency that couldn't be donated to a church," Tom said.
The global mission event, Layman said, helped connect the youths with Lutherans from around the world and experience other cultures through music and food.
It was a spiritual safari, but the youths had other adventures along the way. A storm of heavy winds and hail surprised the travelers in Nebraska.
"I never saw a storm like that before," Tom said. "The wind picked up a highway sign and blew it across the ground. The adults were scared the van was going to flip. It was something." A van tire blew near Pittsburgh, and the vans got separated in Indianapolis.
The travelers visited the Badlands of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore ("it was not as big as I thought," Tom said), Wild Bill Hickock's grave and the Milwaukee Zoo. They spent a day at King's Island Amusement Park in Ohio and watched a Pittsburgh Pirates game at Three Rivers Stadium.
"We feel very blessed to have accomplished our goals, and doubly blessed that we did it without incident," Layman said. "No one got sick, and we traveled safely.
"It's the kind of thing that, in some instances, was life-changing," he said, "and had an impact on how the kids view their church and their world. The kind of excitement these young people brought back will generate enthusiasm in the life of the church."
Teens tour Europe
Ellie Turner of Frizzellburg has returned from her first trip to Europe. Turner, a student at Francis Scott Key High School, spent nearly two weeks with a tour group from Key's French Club. The 19 students from Key linked up with other teens from Seattle and Louisiana and spent their time together in Europe touring France and Italy by train and bus.
"I've always wanted to go to France," said Turner. "But it turned out that I liked Italy better. One of my favorite parts of the trip was on the island of Capri, where we took a chair lift to the highest part of the island."
What surprised Turner about life in European cities was the traffic patterns. "People walk right down the middle of the street, and the drivers drive like they're insane. And the streets are so narrow."
Another surprise was the lack of skyscrapers in Paris.
Turner delighted in a city filled with small houses, shops and restaurants.
Turner kept a journal and took lots of pictures to remember her first European adventure.
And she lamented, as many vacationers do, that within a day after arriving home, she felt as if she'd never left.
Steve Horr of New Windsor and son Brian, 10, spent another summer traveling to America's baseball parks. Horr, a baseball enthusiast for as long as he can remember, has been to 12 ballparks so far and hopes to add to the list.
This summer, he and Brian got tickets to an Indians game and spent a day at Jacobs Field. Horr has been an Indians fan since his boyhood in West Virginia, where he listened to games on the radio.
After the game in Cleveland, the Horrs drove to Toronto. They ate dinner in the Sky Dome, watched batting practice and watched the dome open, an impressive display that lasts more than 20 minutes.
A diversion for these baseball fans was a trip to Niagara Falls with a boat trip on the Maid of the Mist, a trip that takes one precariously close to the falls.
Judy Reilly's Northwest Carroll neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 8/01/96