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Summer Stretch' offers service, fellowship for youth

The "Summer Stretch" program, coordinated by St. Philip's Lutheran Church, Our Savior's Lutheran Church and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, is open to the community and is set to go again for the 2013 summer. During the program, Hastings youths do community service, have fun and make new friends.

Summer Stretch is a seven-week service and recreational program intended to expose youth to service work while providing a safe faith environment for them to socialize and create fellowship with peers. The program is open to all students who have completed grades five to eight in the 2012-2013 school year.

Summer Stretch meets from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, June 19 to Aug. 17. There is no program July 3.

The day begins with morning devotion at 8:30 a.m. at Seton Church, 2035 W. 15th St. The group leaves for the service sites at 9 a.m. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. At about 12:30 p.m., the group leaves for the recreational site. They return to Seton at about 4:30 p.m. Prayer concludes the day.

Possible service sites include Feed My Starving Children, Arc Value Village (a thrift store that supports nonprofit organizations), City of Hastings and vacation Bible school. Recreational opportunities include Grand Slam, Cascade Bay Water Park, Brunswick Zone and a St. Paul Saints game.

The cost for the program is $150 or $25 per day. This includes T-shirt, admission to each recreational site, lunch and transportation.

Peer leaders are needed at the service sites as mentors and role models. They help provide supervision and support at afternoon events. A peer leader must have completed grade nine to 12 in the 2012-2013 school year. Their cost is $100. A peer training session is June 12. Peer leaders must be able to attend at least four of the Summer Stretch dates.

Adult volunteers are also needed to assist with the program. Parents are required to volunteer for at least one day of Summer Stretch. A background check and other training for adults is required.

Information/registration forms are available at the individual churches or by calling 651-437-6541, 651-437-4254, or 651-437-9052. The registration deadline is May 31.