Every year the Plymouth Youth Group (high school age) go on a service trip. The service trip is the highlight of the youth program; it is an essential bonding experience for the kids. It models a life of service and reflection and is a lot of fun. To learn more about the youth service trips please contact Rev. Eleanor McCormick at eleanormccormick@sunflower.com.

Plymouth’s Youth Service Trip 2016 

We traveled to the town of La Plant, South Dakota June 4 – 11, 2016 to partner with Simply Smiles for a week on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation (CRST).

The CRST Reservation stretches across two U.S. counties though it is actually an autonomous country within the borders of the U.S. The average household income in Ziebach County and Dewey County is $20,000 less than the average income in the United States. These are two of the poorest counties in the country.

Simply Smiles is dedicated to providing bright futures for impoverished children, their families and their communities. Each morning our volunteer teams focused on new home construction. Each afternoon we had the opportunity to lead a summer camp for children living on the Reservation. We also participated in Simply Smiles’ healthy living initiatives which include community gardens.

As the founder of Simply Smiles puts it: “The needs of the Reservation are staggering. The cause of these needs equally so. But we must draw a line, and start from this new point. We must base our opinions of people and of situations only from personal interactions with them. A persistent problem can often only be solved when looked upon from a fresh angle. Everyone deserves a clean slate in someone’s eyes. And we need to see and to use the good in everyone to have any chance at success, to have any chance for change.” The stories of the Lakota people’s past and present struggles challenged our preconceptions and forced us to rethink our nation’s history.

Lives are changing on the Reservation and our lives, through this experience, were changed too!