North Shore, Truckee students head south to build a home |

North Shore, Truckee students head south to build a home

Courtesy photo

High school students from Truckee and the North Shore are already gearing up for a springtime trip to an impoverished town in Mexico, where the group will build a home for a family in need.

“It’s really amazing to see kids build a house from scratch with their own hands in four days, and to then see the reaction from families living in shacks or cardboard boxes. It’s an amazingly gratifying thing and it changes lives,” said Rob Hunt, area director of Incline Young Life.

Young Life, the local organization that will lead 50 to 80 teens south of the border during their Easter vacation, is Christian-based, but does not identify with a single church. Young Life leaders and participants were quick to point out that any person, be they Christian, atheist, Mormon, Jewish or otherwise, is welcome to join in on the Mexico trip.

“There is a positive message and [Christianity] is something that’s offered, but we never, ever try to beat someone over the head with a Bible and make conversions.

It’s very much take it or leave it,” said Dannette Arney, a Young Life parent leader.

Last year, the group’s annual Mexico trip was canceled so that students could instead drive down to Mississippi and assist with hurricane disaster relief.

“It was seven months later, so I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. But people were still homeless and asking for basic things like food, water and toilet paper,” said Young Lifer Erin Lee, a senior at Incline High School. “We did quite a bit for just being high schoolers and not being very skilled.”

But as difficult and eye-opening as the Mississippi trip was, Lee and other Young Lifers said that going to Mexico is even more enlightening.

“It was a pretty eye-opening experience to be confronted with such severe poverty that isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen in the U.S.,” said Young Lifer Russell Reinhart, also a senior at Incline High. “It gives you appreciation and global awareness.”

In less than one week in 2005, Reinhart and a slew of other teens built a house for a family that had never had one. Some of those students had never even swung a hammer, Hunt said.

“When we went down to Mexico, I was expecting poverty, but the conditions that these families were living in were ridiculous,” Lee said. “They didn’t have a toilet or running water, and we got to take these people that had never had anything and we gave them a home with a roof.”

Interested in a different sort of Easter vacation? Incline Young Life will be holding an informational meeting for high school students and their families next week about an upcoming trip to build homes in Rosarito, Mexico, from April 9 to 14.

When: Monday at 7 p.m.

Where: Sierra Bible Church, 11460 Brockway Road in Truckee

The cost of the trip is $600, but scholarships are available and Young Life will support any student who is not financially able to participate. Parents are asked to bring a $50 deposit on the night of the meeting.

For more information, contact Dannette Arney at 587-6787

Young Life’s mission is to help teens find purpose and direction in life through faith and service in local middle and high school programs.

Young Life started in Texas in 1941 as a way to provide life experience and social support to young people while teaching them about the life and word of Jesus Christ.

Young Life’s outreach has expanded since then, and a mix of American and international staff and volunteers are reaching kids with the Gospel through more than 450 ministries in more than 50 countries.

For more information check out or

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Pine Nuts: Young leaders of the Americas


Zoom meetings are like Near Beer, you don’t get a buzz, but you still get the weight gain. However, when Kevin Sung called from the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative at the Northern Nevada…

See more