DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - Over 1,000 teenagers are trading a week of summer relaxation for service projects around the Wiregrass. It's part of a week long conference hosted by Wired Ministries.
"Every day from 9-3, we have students who are in sixth, seventh, through 12th grade out doing local mission projects all day," said Assistant Director Dustin Lee. "This year we have 1,600 participants. That includes some adult chaperones."
When you crunch the numbers based on how many people are volunteering and how many hours they put in, by the end of the week volunteers will have devoted nearly 50,000 hours of service to the community.
Over 50 churches from across the Wiregrass came together for the camp and teens are working at 88 sites performing service work.
One group of a dozen teens is spending the week helping build dorms at The Ark in Dothan. The facility helps people transition from prison.
"We're changing them into rooms so that people can stay in them during that transition process," said track leader Elliott Weston.
And the work is grueling.
"We had to carry almost a ton of wood - literal ton - up three flights of stairs board by board, and once we got it all up here we could start building the frames for the rooms," said camp participant Dillion Gaster.
The 17-year-old Gaster said he realized he could have spent his summer doing other things, but being a part of the camp was important.
"I decided to do Wired, because I wanted to help and serve," said Gaster. "Also [I] wanted to be a part of the conference to grow closer to God."
Wired ministry leaders said getting teenagers to think about being service-minded is the goal.
"We can get the students exposed to the needs in their own backyard and also see there's something bigger than themselves," said Lee.
Teens will work on projects until Friday.
"On Friday, I think I'll feel accomplished after all the work we will have accomplished, and also very satisfied that we helped people," said Gaster.
There is worship service from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every night for the teenagers at the Dothan Civic Center. Tickets are $15 for the public.
Students are being housed at six host sites during the camp.