In 2009, Budget Travel magazine named Owego the “Coolest Small Town in America.”
The coolest town in America was devastated in 2011 by a catastrophic flood.
Today you’d hardly know it as you walk down picturesque Lake Street, passing a variety of unique shops. Founded on the banks of the lazy Susquehanna River in 1787, the village of Owego is surrounded by the soft green mountains of upstate New York. Life feels good here. People greet each other warmly on the streets—and strangers are welcomed.
But the sad truth is that poverty has always stalked the “Southern Tier” of New York. While other Empire State communities prospered, the economy here has always revolved around small farms and timber—translation: hard work and low pay. There was a brief fling with better times in the 1960s and 70s, when a large tech firm built a plant that provided hundreds of good-paying jobs—but today the firm and the jobs are gone.
Bring hope and help where one child in five lives in a food-insecure home.
Taste the Place: You’ll enjoy spiedies (pronounced SPEE-dees)—a delicacy found only in a very small region of upstate New York. It’s marinated meat, skewered on a stick, grilled over hot coals and served on a slice of fresh Italian bread—Mmmm!
Winters here can be snowy and long. Poverty and age take an additional toll on homes. You’ll change lives here by doing things like:
- Putting new skirting around a mobile home (it’s really easy!)
- Replacing wobbly makeshift steps with safe new porches
- Preserving a historic home with brand new paint
At the same time, you’ll discover a new depth of faith as you watch fireflies dance in this gorgeous world of green mountains and fertile fields.
Far from it! We created the concept of workcamp mission trips way back in 1977. Since then we’ve served hundreds of thousands of participants. Our team is led by Thom and Joani Schultz and includes several seasoned veterans with decades of experience in mission trip planning and programming. We’ve also added some innovative new updates to the mission trip experience.
No. We are the original, genuine Group mission experience, a part of Group Publishing of Loveland, Colorado, for over 40 years. Others may use a similar name, but they’re not connected to us. You may rely on Group’s Lifetree Adventures for a worry-free experience, thorough and professional preparations by our highly experienced staff, spiritual growth experiences created by Group’s experts, meaningful work projects, an emphasis on safety, and the stability and security of a large established organization.
Anyone with a heart to serve others and a desire to grow closer to God is welcome to join us on a Lifetree Adventure. We welcome a blend of individuals and groups. Our domestic mission trips are designed with teenagers and youth groups in mind. Participants who are at least 14 years old or entering 9th grade in the fall of 2019 are welcome at our (Senior High) Advanced Home Repair Adventures, while all other Adventures are open to both Senior and Junior High (at least 12 years old or entering 7th grade in fall 2019). Our international experiences include a wider variety of ages, groups, and backgrounds. Your mission adventure concierge can give you more details.
The Group team provides care to nearly all the details of your trip, including lodging, meals, project coordination and building materials/supplies during the mission experience, discipleship programming and materials, on-site support crew, and a T-shirt for every participant. The fee doesn’t include transportation or meals to and from the trip location or during your time off.
For our domestic mission trips, we use a clean, comfortable high school or middle school as our home base for the week. We sleep, eat, and do all our programming at the school. You’ll want to bring an air mattress and bedding.
The safety, security, and well-being of every participant is our number-one priority. Our team has years of experience ensuring that extra precautions are given to make every aspect of the mission trip as safe as possible. We visit each location in person several times before your Adventure, and we check each worksite for safety before you arrive.
Many of our trips give you the option to focus on home repair or relational ministry. Actively engaging in the local culture is important to us. So, you might yodel, dance, cook, craft, clog, powwow, or sing. Your mission adventure concierge will have specific details for each location.
What types of work does “home repair” entail?
Depending upon the location, need, and your skill or desire for work, you might be assigned to a variety of projects. Work ranges from challenging at Monument Valley to moderately challenging at Red Lake to moderate at Owego, Mescalero, and Lame Deer. Raytown and Monson offer moderate to simple home-repair projects as well as relational ministry opportunities.
What if I don’t have any construction skills?
Don’t worry—what really matters is your desire to work. No matter how challenging the project, if you really want to put in the effort, skilled Local Project Advisors and on-staff Troubleshooters will be available to ensure your success!
What does “relational ministry” entail?
Relational ministry could entail a variety of opportunities to interact with and meet the needs of local people. From assisting elderly residents to serving at a food bank to building trails, your work will be a valuable opportunity to connect one-on-one with people who need your help.
You need to bring one adult volunteer (age 21 or older) for every 5 students (age 20 years or younger) you register. If you have both genders registered, you need to have at least one adult volunteer of each gender.
You will provide your own transportation to and from your mission trip. The vehicles and drivers you bring will be used to provide daily transportation to and from the project sites.
Very much so! Group’s Lifetree Adventures is unique in that we partner directly with local tribal leaders and agencies. We’ve enjoyed decades of solid relationships based on trust and respect. People on the reservations now count on us to come—and every resident will have specifically applied for your help.
The Next Steps
Build the excitement
Have the conversations to get approval from leaders and key decision makers. Download FREE Plan-it Guide
Build your team
Spread the word and assemble a list of who might be on your team.
Answer these questions
- Have you considered a budget with travel costs, registration fees, and emergency fund?
- Have you received firm commitments from a core number of people?
- What is most exciting to you and others about this trip?
Reserve Your spaces
Register for your trip by calling our friendly staff at 800-385-4545 ext. 4166, or by registering on this website.
Get a catalog sent to your mailbox. This catalog contains information about all of our mission trips.Request a Catalog
Get in touch with one of our Adventure Concierges to schedule a time for a one-on-one meeting.Schedule Meeting
FREE Adventure Plan-it Guide
Receive valuable resources that help make your decision-making and trip-planning easy!Download Guide
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