Interested Volunteers Asked to Register Now for ASP 2021

Although the COVID-19 pandemic may prohibit or alter this summer’s mission trip, Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project is asking high-school teens and adults to register now as volunteers for ASP 2021.

Jesse Lee ASP hopes to take volunteers down to Appalachia June 26-July 4 for a week of meaningful home repair. While there currently is uncertainty because of COVID over what will happen this summer, the organization needs to begin registering and training volunteers now.

“If we are able to make the trip happen this summer, it’s important to begin to prepare our crews for where we’ll be going, what to expect there, what work we’ll be doing there, and how to safely do it,” said Steve Coppock of the Jesse Lee ASP council.

At least for now, there’s no cost to express interest in volunteering. Register with no obligation at www.jesseleeasp.org.

Online monthly trainings will begin soon to plan for the summer trip and to review the ASP guiding principles of safety, stewardship and sensitivity.

If a decision is made this spring that the COVID risk is too great for traveling to Appalachia, Coppock said, Jesse Lee ASP may pivot to doing work locally.

ASP is a national Christian volunteer organization founded by Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans, a Methodist minister, in 1969. Since then, some 400,000 volunteers from across the nation have participated in weeklong mission trips to make nearly 18,000 homes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina “warmer, safer and drier.”

Last year – in what would have been Jesse Lee ASP’s 37th year – the entire ASP summer program in Appalachia was canceled because of COVID. Some 270 volunteers had signed up through Jesse Lee ASP, again making it the second-largest local ASP group in America.

This summer, the national ASP organization has added a number of COVID safety protocols, including: limiting the number of volunteers who can stay at its “centers”; requiring that masks be worn unless volunteers are eating, sleeping or showering; and prioritizing exterior home repairs, like roof and siding replacements.

Jesse Lee ASP is open to anyone who will have completed their freshman year of high school. Adults are encouraged to volunteer – both those who have teens participating and those who don’t. You don’t have to be a member of Jesse Lee or any church, you don’t have to live in Ridgefield, and you don’t need to be an expert with a hammer to volunteer. Basic construction skills and safety rules are taught in training sessions prior to going on ASP. There’s also a fund-raising component. And it helps if you like ice cream.

Home base for Jesse Lee ASP is Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 207 Main St.  Learn more and register for this year’s work at www.jesseleeasp.org.

Matt Carpenter Wins John Ward Award

Jesse Lee ASP is excited to announce that the winner of the 2020 John Ward “Love in Action” Scholarship Award is Matt Carpenter.

Matt is a recent graduate of Ridgefield High School and a 4-year participant of Appalachia Service Project. In addition to attending the trip, he has been a member of the Orientation Team for the last three years.  Because of his family’s involvement in ASP, Matt was actually part of a task force before he was eligible to go on the trip, working on preparing and managing the first aid kits.

Matt has been an active member of Jesse Lee Church where he has served on the Teen Leadership Council and was the Youth Representative to the Church Council.  Additionally, he participated in the Texas Hurricane Relief Mission, served as an Usher and volunteered at Vacation Bible School. Matt is a member of The National Honor Society and served on Student Government and the Student Executive Board at Ridgefield High School.  Matt was involved in the theater program both behind and in front of the curtain.  He also served as a speaker and facilitator for many high school activities including the Business Symposium, Freshman Orientation, and Holocaust Presentation.   

This fall he will be attending James Madison University where he plans to study accounting.  We are very pleased to present him with this award.  

John Ward

  The John Ward Love in Action Award was established by Jesse Lee ASP in 2017 to honor John Ward’s 30th Appalachia Service Project Trip. It is a $1000 grant given each year to a high school senior who has participated in ASP and dedicated themself to other forms of community service.

Winners of the John Ward Award have been:

  • 2020 – Matt Carpenter
  • 2019 – Miles Tullo
  • 2018 – Gillian Retter
  • 2017 – Petros Papadopolous