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The Lower Youth Plaza now has all-weather sports court.

It was installed on March 17 with the help of students from Schreiner University, who were spending their spring break volunteering in their local community.

In addition to laying down the VersaCourt at the Lower Youth Plaza, they organized and inventoried camper t-shirts, cleaned the art generator and spruced up the bird watching area.

It’s all under the umbrella of Schreiner’s Campus Ministry, which offers an alternative spring break option through the Purposeful Lives initiative.

Through the program, which has been going since 2013, students have had the opportunity to go Corpus Christi and Puerto Rico for service opportunities.

“Our larger missions to prepare students for service learning, volunteerism and civil engagement, which is all part of the Schreiner experience,” said Kelsey Penn, assistant campus minister.

This year, five students participated in the program. While they expected to roll up their sleeves and get some work done, they did not expect to find solace in the midst of confusion and fear.

“This is something to do and get away from university life while we still can,” said Tim Barrera, a senior.

While the students were at Mo-Ranch, they got word that Schreiner University was closing due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

“I’m glad we had this week to let them breathe,” Penn said. “It’s a good balance of retreat, mission trip and camp.”

When they weren’t working, students were able to explore the ranch — they hiked, visited the rapids and went fishing.

“This is my first time here, and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Janelli Rodriguez, a sophomore. “But it was nice to disconnect — especially with what is going on — and listen to the river and the birds.”

Rodriguez said she wanted to participate in alternative spring break because she wanted to do something different.

“I’m trying to push myself to do different things. I’ve never traveled with a group of people like this before, and I’ve never been to camp,” she said.

The all-weather sports court was made possible through generous donations from the 2019 Giving Tuesday project. Every dollar donated on Dec. 3, 2019 will go toward updating the Lower Youth Plaza, a common gathering space for summer campers. By supporting the cause, you helped ensure that the Lower Youth Plaza will be around for generations.

We want to thank Kelsey Penn and all of the Schreiner students who took time out of their day to help us here at Mo-Ranch. We are grateful for our continued partnership with Schreiner University.

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