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.

Miles Tullo Wins John Ward Award

  Jesse Lee ASP is excited to announce that the winner of the 2019 John Ward Love in Action Award is Miles Tullo.

  Miles 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. He has accumulated over 1000 hours of community service during his high school career. He works with Special Olympics, is a Youth Leader for Young Life and is involved in Lion’s Heart.

  Miles is a soccer player and also serves as a head coach for a U8 boys team.  He is a member of the RHS National Honor Society and has participated in business retreats with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.  This fall he will be attending the business school at the University of Michigan 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:

  • 2019 – Miles Tullo
  • 2018 – Gillian Retter
  • 2017 – Petros Papadopolous

2019 ASP Dates Announced

  Jesse Lee ASP has announced the dates for the 2019 rally, orientations, and trip. We’re starting earlier, so be sure to get these on your calendar now and don’t miss out…

January 17
Introductory Meeting for new participants and parents

January 30 -or- February 5*
The 2019 Rally

February 27 -or- March 5*
Orientation 1
Registration Deadline

April 3 -or- April 9*
Orientation 2

May 1 -or- May 7*
Orientation 3

June 5
Orientation 4

June 29 – July 7
ASP 2019 Trip

*You can attend the Rally and Orientations 1, 2 and 3 on either night they are offered.

Gillian Retter Wins John Ward Award

  Jesse Lee ASP is excited to announce that the winner of the 2018 John Ward Love in Action Award is Gillian Retter, a recent graduate of Ridgefield High School and a 4-year participant of Appalachia Service Project.

  Gillian’s ASP experience started her freshman year when she was living in southern California.  Her church there traveled to Rutherfordton, in Rutherford County, North Carolina. “That week,” she says, “I found myself doing work I had never done with kids I didn’t know very well. One thing I did know, though, was that I had found something I loved.”

  When her family moved to Ridgefield later that summer, “I found Jesse Lee, and immediately fell in love with its youth group and huge ASP program. Since then, I have gone on ASP each summer.” She served with us in Knott County, Kentucky, in 2016, and Wise County, Virginia, in 2017. This year, Gillian will be serving in Leslie County, Kentucky.

  Her service to others extends beyond Appalachia. She has traveled to Belize with J:OLT, Jesse Lee’s high school group, to help build an elementary school. She is a member of the Unity Club and is a student volunteer for the Names Day anti-bullying assembly, and she volunteers with Meal on Wheels. But she is perhaps most excited about her work with Special Olympics. “I volunteer as a swim helper a few times a week, and it brings me immense joy,” she says, adding that the Special Olympians have taught her authentic love and happiness. “I have been blessed with the ability to interact with people with whom I may not always interact. I have been exposed to the intense reality that we’re not really that different.”

  Gillian is a competitive swimmer with the Ridgefield Aquatic Club, a member of the RHS Girls Varsity Swim Team, and belongs to the National Honor Society. As she looks ahead to the fall, she plans to attend Seattle University, majoring in Chemistry on the pre-med track. We are very pleased to present her with the John Ward 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:

  • 2018 – Gillian Retter
  • 2017 – Petros Papadopolous

ASP 35 for 35

In honor of our 35 continuous years of building relationships and making homes warmer, safer, and drier through the Appalachia Service Project, Jesse Lee announces, ASP 35 for 35.

We are hoping that our past participants and other supporters would make a gift of $35 (or more) toward this outreach.  Our goal is to have 1000 donors and to raise $35,000, enough to build two new homes for underprivileged families, or whatever the ASP leaders deem the greatest need.

Please use this link to make your gift.  If we exceed our $35,000 goal, the additional funds will support broader youth mission projects.  Thanks for your generosity and support in building principled youth who love, care and serve.