Fifteen sites around Brown County were weeded, mulched, cleaned, rebuilt, sorted, painted and/or stocked with wood last month thanks to the work of teen and adult volunteers.

Since 1995, youth and adults from St. Agnes Catholic Church in Nashville and five parishes in Terre Haute have joined to provide a service camp, Nazareth Farm. Over those 21 years, they’ve provided more than 26,000 hours of service to Brown County.

This year’s project July 22 to 26 spanned 15 project sites across central and northern Brown County.

Five youth from St. Agnes and six from Terre Haute, plus 17 adults, spent 612 hours working over four days in 90-plus-degree temperatures.

Projects included splitting and stacking tons of wood; weeding and mulching overgrown gardens and yards; tearing out and rebuilding steps; cleaning out garages and removing debris; cutting down trees; washing and painting buildings and fences; moving furniture; sorting out scrap, recyclables and litter; and monitoring huge bonfires of burnable materials.

Many of the senior citizens who were served expressed gratitude and how much their spirits were lifted by the energetic effort of the Nazareth Farm team members, reported Carol Nathan and Shirley Boardman of St. Agnes.

St. Agnes youth volunteers were Alexa Borger, Kathleen McCann, Grant Suding, Jessica Taylor and Elly Wertz. Young adults Mackenzie Borger, Jeanette Bube and Sofia Lindley helped alongside St. Agnes adults Adrianne and Paul Spahr; Alan, Tami and Justin Schwenk; Pat Clark; Jimmy Bullock; Zeno Wertz; Seth Lindley and Craig Hoskins.

The youth each pay $70 to be a part of the program. St. Agnes parishioners pitch in to support them, offering swimming, dinners and fellowship. The rest of the meals are sparse — lunch being peanut butter and jelly.

The original Nazareth Farm was formed as an association of the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston, West Virginia, as a service to the people of Appalachia.

In 1995, Sister Mildred Wannemuehler of St. Agnes, and youth leaders Janet Roth of Terre Haute and Mike Lewis of Nashville launched the project in Brown County. St. Agnes parishioners Gene and Dee Suding offered the meadow on their farm as the campsite for the group — a tradition Paul and Kelli Suding have continued.

Idea for a project?

If you know of a possible project for Nazareth Farm volunteers for summer 2017, contact Adrianne Spahr at 812-327-9470 or