From Washington to Walmart, young people from across the diocese have been experiencing the USA as part of an exchange programme with one of our link dioceses.
Led by Children, Youth and Families team member, Katherine Grasham (pictured in front of the group) the group of six 15 to 17 year olds and two leaders are spending three weeks in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia staying with local church families and meeting with young people from across the region.
“For many it’s their first time abroad and this will be, I hope, an empowering and encouraging time – meeting with other Christian young people is a big part of that," says Katherine.
The nineteen day trip has included visits to some of the major sites in Washington DC before the group travelled to different parts of the large diocese, staying with families and enjoying an action packed programme visiting local historical sites, taking part in outdoor activities like canoeing and tubing, volunteering on local projects and spending time meeting Christians from the area.
Katherine writes, midway through the visit, “We're having an amazing time here in Virginia!!
“We flew into Washington DC almost two weeks ago, spent some time at the Smithsonian museums and the historic monuments and then drove down to Virginia in the "party bus". There's been a lot of singing in that bus over the last two weeks!
“Since getting to the Diocese, we've been staying with host families, who have all been wonderful and generous. Most of the host families have had young people the same age as ours, and they've built up some great relationships. It's really helped the young people feel at home here. We have been fed amazingly well, both at our host families' and at various American restaurants!! Our favourite place to eat is Chick-fil-A!!
“We've also enjoyed visiting American stores like Target and Walmart (the young people have been playing Hide and Seek in every Walmart we've been to!!), and we love Goodwill (the equivalent of a British charity shop) - we had a very hot and sweaty visit to Lynchburg Grows, where we helped on the farm, so we all went to Goodwill afterwards and each tried to find the best outfit for $10!!
“The weather has been very mixed - you may have heard about the flooding in Lynchburg! Thankfully it didn't really affect us, and mostly we've had very hot weather - 30°C most days! The young people have got used to me yelling "suncream!" at them every few hours!
“We're still excited for all the things that Roanoke, our last stop has to offer, before we have to say goodbye next week! It's going to be hard to leave!”