This meeting will get your group ready to do the most common construction tasks at a Group Mission Trip – and do it all safely. Believe it or not, many youth (and lots of adults as well) have never done basic construction tasks like swing a hammer, read a tape measure, or climb more than a step stool. This meeting will give everyone the confidence they need to serve well this summer. It’s also a great opportunity to involve adults in your youth ministry!
**BEFORE THE MEETING: **
- Recruit adult volunteers who are skilled and able to be trainers in the following areas:
- Hand Tools
- Caulking / Utility Knives
- Power Tools
- Tape Measures / Chalk Lines / Levels
- Find veteran participants, who are over 18 and very knowledgeable about tools and equipment, to be assistant trainers to help people with hands-on practice time.
- Instruct trainers and assistants that stations should be a combination of verbal instruction and hands-on training. Everyone should practice what they are learning, so make sure there is plenty of time and space for practicing.
- Don’t forget to give adult trainers the safety tip that must be reinforced in their particular section.
- It’s best to have a pre-meeting “meeting” with all trainers so everyone knows the schedule, what’s expected, and they have a chance to ask any questions.
- Set up stations according to the sections below, and have materials available at each station, as listed.
- Prior to the meeting, divide your group into six small groups that can rotate through the stations. If your group is smaller, keep everyone together. Or, if your group is on the larger side, you may need to create larger stations or multiple smaller stations so that everyone can have practice time.
- If you didn’t already hand out the Tool List from your customer account, be sure to print and make copies of it to distribute at this meeting.
- See the last page of this meeting for a document called “Just Painting”. Figure out a way to review the points of this document in this meeting. You could work it into the painting station or discuss it when you are going through your group’s tools towards the end of the meeting.
- Open with prayer, and then explain how the meeting will work.
- Announce the six small groups that will rotate through the stations and introduce the adult trainers and assistant trainers.
- Say something like: This meeting is all about home repair skills safety and training. After 15 minutes at your first station, I’ll call for you to rotate. Move quickly to the next station, and make sure everyone has a chance to practice the skills at that station. We have an hour and a half for this training. Before we get started, I’d like you to repeat after me a very important phrase: “My safety is my number one job.” (Have everyone repeat it.) We’ll repeat that phrase when we get to each new station. Go!
**STATION 1: LADDERS **
Supplies Needed: Stepladders and extension ladders
Participants should learn:
- The safe way to use a ladder
- How to identify a step and extension ladder
- How to raise, lower, and move an extension ladder
- The proper angle to set a ladder against a house (1 foot away from the house for every 4 feet of rise)
- How to be safe on a ladder
- The importance of holding ladders for others
- That a ladder you use to get onto a roof must extend 3 feet above the landing
SAFETY TIP: When you’re up on a ladder, look out for overhead power lines. They carry enough electricity to kill instantly. Never, under any circumstances, touch an overhead electric line or electrical service entrance. Let’s say our favorite safety phrase all together: My safety is my number one job!
STATION 2: HAND TOOLS
Supplies Needed: Phillips screwdrivers, slotted screwdrivers, chisels, hammers, nail bars, many 16d nails, and scrap lumber to drive and remove nails
Participants should learn the safe and proper use of a:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- Hammer (including nailing and removing nails)
- Nail bar
SAFETY TIP: Don’t use a tool for a task for which it was not intended. Generally speaking, if you’re forcing the tool, you’re probably not using it correctly, and you’re more likely to get hurt. Let’s say our favorite safety phrase altogether: My safety is my number one job!
STATION 3: CAULKING, UTILITY KNIFE
Supplies Needed: caulking guns, tubes of caulk, scrap lumber to practice squeezing and smoothing caulk on, rags for wiping up, utility knives with blades, nails for corking the opened caulk tubes
Participants should learn:
- About caulk and where caulking is needed in weatherization projects (around windows and doors and in cracks in the siding)
- How to load and operate a caulking gun
- How to open a tube of caulk
- How to smooth the caulk with their fingers
- How to unload a caulk tube from a caulk gun and store the caulk properly after it has been opened
- Safe use and handling of a utility knife
SAFETY TIP: Immediately retract the blade of a utility knife after each use—even if you’re just setting it down for a minute. Let’s say our favorite safety phrase altogether: My safety is my number one job!
**STATION 4: PAINTING **
Supplies Needed: cans of house paint, wooden stirrers, various paintbrushes, paint trays, paint rollers and paint roller covers, scrapers, scrap lumber to practice painting on, a hose for cleaning, dust masks, and safety goggles to demonstrate safe scraping
Participants should learn how to:
- Open and stir a can of paint
- Use a paintbrush
- Pour the paint into a paint tray
- Connect a paint roller cover to a paint roller
- Use a paint roller
- Properly prepare a surface for painting (including scraping)
- Close a paint can for future use
- Clean rollers, brushes, and trays
SAFETY TIP: In any home repair scenario, assume the old paint on the house is lead-based, and wear dust masks when scraping. Inhaling paint dust is a serious health hazard. Let’s say our favorite safety phrase altogether: My safety is my number one job!
YOUTH LEADER TIP: Review the points of the document below, called “Just Painting.”
**STATION 5: POWER TOOLS **
Supplies Needed: power saw, power drill, spare blades, spare bits, screw tip bits, extension cord, power source, safety goggles, sawhorses, scrap lumber to practice cutting and drilling, screws for drilling.
Note: Any participant can operate a power drill/driver to put screws into boards. Participants that are under age 16 cannot operate a power tool and participants under the age of 18 cannot use a power saw on a Group Mission trip.
Participants should learn how to:
- Safely and properly use a power saw and drill
- Use eye protection
- Change blades and bits, and know when those changes are necessary
- Properly use extension cords
SAFETY TIP: Be careful not to use power tools in wet conditions. Always unplug power tools immediately after each use. Also, power tools must be used under the supervision of an adult at all times during the mission trip. Let’s say our favorite safety phrase altogether: My safety is my number one job!
**STATION 6: TAPE MEASURES/CHALK LINES/LEVELS **
Supplies Needed: tape measures, chalk lines, levels, various objects to measure and check the level, speed square (optional), T-square (optional)
Participants should learn how to:
- Read a tape measure
- Mark a board for cutting
- Lock the tape measure
- Identify the various fractions of an inch on a tape measure
- Purposefully and properly use a chalk line
- Use a level both vertical and horizontally
- ADVANCED: Students could also be shown how to use a speed square and T-square
SAFETY TIP: Keep small tools in a central location or on your tool belt. Return them after each use. If you spend less time searching for tools, you’ll have less opportunity to get hurt! Let’s say our favorite safety phrase altogether: My safety is my number one job!
**WRAP UP & TOOLS: **
- After everyone has gone through all the stations, gather back together. Have the trainers available after the meeting to answer any additional questions about the skills they learned.
- Say something like: When on your work site, do not do anything if it feels unsafe. The work you’ll be doing is very important, and it’s an expression of our love for Jesus, but no task should be done in an unsafe manner.
Say: If you forget safety and get hurt, you won’t be able to keep serving people. So let’s say our favorite safety phrase all together one more time: “My safety is my number one job.” Good job!
Pass out the Tool List, if needed. Say something like: The tools we have been asked to bring will help us accomplish just about any task we’re asked to do this summer.
Review how your group is doing on assembling tools. If they haven’t already, ask participants to look for items in their garage or borrow them before purchasing something brand new. (Some places may be willing to donate tools, so don’t forget to ask!) Also, remind them to put their names on their tools so they get them back. Let them know where they need to bring their tools and when.
Pay special attention to the ladders listed. Ladders are often in short supply at the mission trip, so plan to bring plenty of step and extension ladders. Have the owners write their names clearly on their ladders, and put your church’s name on them as well. Ladders are checked into a tool room upon arrival at the lodging facility, and various crews throughout the week will use them. You will need to pick them up on the last night of the mission trip to take them home.
If you haven’t done so already, review the points of the “Just Painting” document.
- Have everyone give the trainers a big round of applause, and close in prayer.
**BONUS PRACTICE: **
For real, hands-on practice–coordinate a real construction project. Perhaps someone in your church or community needs a new coat of paint or a wheelchair ramp on their home, consider providing this for them. Or, perhaps use it as a fundraiser for the trip.
We sometimes hear from kids (and adults) who express disappointment at being asked to do a painting project. “Just painting”, as they call it, doesn’t seem to them to be important work.
Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth…
Group Mission Trips takes on painting projects for two very important reasons:
- Paint is key to preserving the structure of the home. Our developer accompanied a group of state government housing experts to a remote, very low-income community we had served at several years ago. They inspected several homes that our youth groups had painted and the housing pros were very impressed that the homes, while old and in a region of severe weather, were still in very good condition. By contrast, they inspected a home that had not been painted in years. The unprotected siding—once in very good quality—had weathered and begun to absorb, rather than shed, water. This was causing it to rot completely through, actually leaving fist-sized holes in several spots. The insulation in the walls had become wet and useless, and the rot had spread to the wall studs, threatening the structural integrity of the home. The damage was literally beyond repair—and the sad fact was, it all could have been prevented with a simple coat of paint!
- A nice clean coat of paint has an amazing impact on your resident’s self-esteem. Let’s face it, in comparison to many of the residents we serve, we enjoy fairly affluent living conditions. A few gallons of paint just doesn’t seem like much to us. But, to a resident who really can’t afford those few gallons, that paint equals a whole new outlook on life! This point was driven home to us by one of our mission trip partners in the poorest county in the United States. His motto was, “no matter what else we do on the house, every one of our residents gets a nice, fresh coat of paint”. The housing stock in this area was really bad, and we had questioned the value of spending time and money to paint homes that needed so many other things (yes, we once questioned the value of painting ourselves!) In response, we were told the story of two children there who wouldn’t go to school. They were so ashamed of how their house looked that they didn’t want the other kids on the school bus to see where they lived. Our partner told us, “In comparison to us, your people are rich and you don’t understand. But to us, just having a house that looks better makes us feel better about ourselves. It makes us feel like we’re worth something again.”
We have never been able to forget those words and we hope that you don’t either. And if you could see the delight in your resident’s eyes months before our mission trip when they carefully choose the color they hope you will make their house—you would never again think you are “just painting”.