Six youth bound for mission trip to Costa Rica (April 4, 2012)

Written by Carla Howell

Published by Whitecourt Star on Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Six Whitecourt youth will be given the chance to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Robyn Quist, Jamie Elliot, Roy Bos, Amy Magee, Jonathan Maxwell and Amy Maxwell will be travelling to Costa Rica in August for two weeks. Trevor and Dawnelle Bills will be their chaperones

Dawnelle Bills will be accompanying them on the trip and said the youth who are going are a great group of kids.

They will be joining 40 to 50 youth from around the world through the group Samaritan's Purse, which is the company that delivers shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, said Bills.

The six youth attend the Whitecourt Baptist Church where they got a chance to go on this mission trip.

They hope to be able to pass out shoeboxes, which are distributed throughout the year, build infrastructure and assist with outreach programs that are offered in the area.

Magee, 15, is a Hilltop High School student and will be going on the trip. She said she had a choice between going on this trip or going on a field trip to England.

"You can go to England anytime, but to do this project as a youth and not as an adult means more to me," said Magee. "This is an opportunity to grow as a youth and it might affect my character in the long run."

Elliott, 16, also attends Hilltop High School and said she looks forward to this trip because it's so unlike a vacation.

"When you're sitting on a resort the whole time, you never get to see the real people. It's like you're in a bubble," said Elliott. "Going on this trip will open our eyes to the world."

Bills said the church has organized previous trips to poorer nations and she felt like leading another group this year.

"Youth have lots of energy and they're really fun to be around," said Bills. "We know we're part of a group that's going to be seeing poverty. We want other people to understand, so when we return to Canada, we can see how good we have it here. We want lives changed for the better."

The group has been fundraising for the trip, which will cost approximately $3,200 a person. They have sold taco-in-a-bag at their church, held a Valentine's Comedy Night with silent auction, done odd jobs for people, collected bottles, had movie nights and are also planning a garage sale for the spring. The funds that are collected will be split up between the group.

Elliott and Magee both admitted they want to make a difference in someone's life, even if it's small.

"Even the smallest things make a really big difference," said Bills. "We want this trip to affect everyone in a positive light."