Surrounded by a circle of nursing home residents in the center's solarium, a teenage volunteer from Virginia tossed a balloon back and forth among residents.
Off to her right, a boy set up bowling pins for other residents to try knocking over.
More than a dozen groups of youngsters from throughout the mid-Atlantic region are spending the week volunteering at various locations around York County for one of Week of Hope's short-term mission trips.
Many of the volunteers became involved through their churches.
"My youth group was going, and a lot of people in years past said it was a lot of fun," said Elise Littlefield, 14. "This is my first time."
Littlefield's crew is spending the week at Colonial Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Most of their time is spent interacting with residents, helping with activities such as bowling. They also are involved in a range of tasks, including garden work.
Appreciated: Residents at the home enjoyed having volunteers there to allow additional programming.
"If we didn't have all the volunteers, we wouldn't be able to do all the things we can," said Nancy McClure, 65, from York City. "I like it that they have a lot of activities ... there's something to do besides sitting in my room."
Workers at the nursing home said that the Week of Hope volunteers who come to the nursing home every year provide a significant amount of help.
"I look forward to when I get that letter saying Week of Hope is coming," said Volunteer Coordinator Janet Hengst. "I love it -- everything they're doing here."
The volunteers are staying at Logos Academy, and are split into crews of 4-5 people to help at nursing homes, day care centers, and other local organizations. They start working around 9 a.m. every day from Monday through Thursday.
Week of Hope is a program run through Group Cares, a nonprofit organization that organizes six week-long camp sessions each summer. Those involved participate in assorted community service while focusing on fundamental Christian values.
Littlefield said that her favorite part of the week has been getting to know the other volunteers and nursing home residents. She hopes to participate in the week again in the future.
Anyone older than 12 can participate in the program in some capacity.
"This is my first year with Week of Hope, but I've done six mission trips in the past. This might be the last one before I go off to college," said 18-year-old Riley Frazier. "We're having a good time."
-- Reach Michael Tabb at 854-1575 or email@example.com.