Youth Pancake Breakfast Highlights Maple Sugaring Weekend

GILFORD — Local youths who are traveling to Black Mesa, Arizona this summer to volunteer at a Navajo Reservation are hosting a pancake breakfast this Saturday March 23 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church on Rt. 11A in Gilford.
The team of 11 young people and five chaperones are working hard to raise the nearly $10,000 they will need to cover the cost of the trip for the team.
The pancake breakfasts are just a couple of the fundraisers the youth are holding over the next few months to fund the trip. Riley Alward, 12 of Laconia says that getting there is a lot of work but a lot of the fun too. "We held a move a thon in February and our friends and families sponsored us as we spent 8 hours being active in a lot of fun ways. We shot hoops, danced, did martial arts and shoveled snow. This weekend we are flipping pancakes."
The team is an ecumenical group traveling in June includes youth and adults from four local churches including the Gilford Community Church, Laconia Congregational Church, First United Methodist Church of Gilford and the Tilton Northfield United Methodist Church.
While in Arizona the kids will be working to help rebuild a church kitchen destroyed by fire, doing general labor on some of the tribal homes and working with local youth.
The kids are very excited to be helping others and getting a chance to see another part of the country. For some of them it will be their first trip on an airplane or away from their families. Others are seasoned missionaries who have already traveled to Haiti to help rebuild after the earthquake.
Braden Alward was one of those who went to Haiti last year and says, "Doing this kind of work makes you feel good. You learn how lucky you and how hard other people have it. Seeing some of things I saw in Haiti changed me as a person. I respect a lot more what my folks give me, judge others less and try to be thankful everyday. Once you see the look of gratitude in people's eyes when you help them in some small way, you get bitten by the volunteering bug."
Tickets are available for the breakfast by calling the church office at 524-3289 or at the door on the
morning of the meal. Donations toward covering the teams' travel expenses are also welcome and should be made out to FUMC-Navajo Mission Team and mailed to team leader Jessica Alward at 36 Emerald Dr. Laconia NH 03246