In 35 years of youth ministry, Sunday’s event was in my top ten youth events ever. A life changing look at poverty and hunger.

— Rich Lash, Youth Director, Deerhurst Presbyterian


As a pastor, I was glad to be part of a program which made my week easier by providing useful reflection tools, flexible scheduling, and diverse service projects. ROC SALT was great, and was much more accessible for our church than existing programs in other parts of the country.

Rev. Katie Styrt, Associate Pastor  (click to view full comments)

ROC SALT's retreat was an amazing, less-stressful program for our youth! My church's youth group loves going on mission trips, but in the past I've often planned reflection and education time myself. It can be difficult to find affordable, progressive programs which provide in-depth education, encourage discussion, and tie in each day's service with Biblical reflection. Laura worked with me and other leaders to craft a retreat which was tailored to the experiences and interests of my youth. She collaborated with our leadership to give us space for our church's mission trip traditions, while also providing specific lessons about Rochester and its cultural context. The program's flexibility meant that our youth were part of a custom-tailored retreat which fit their own abilities.

Our group was composed of youth from 6th-12th grade, and Laura worked with our leadership to make sure that there were service and educational activities which fit each youth's physical abilities and learning levels. We served at a variety of different projects, which gave our youth face-to-face and behind the scenes volunteering. Many of our volunteer projects took place at ministries where ROC SALT had ongoing relationships, bringing more depth to our experience and helping our youth build relationships with those they served. As a pastor, I could be confident that ROC SALT's reflections and educational activities would help my youth learn about justice work and advocacy from a reformed perspective. We also brainstormed ways to continue our service and apply what we had learned in the future, bridging the gap between short-term service and long-term commitment. We also had plenty of space and time for our youth to relax and get to know participants from other churches, building friendships that have continued. As a pastor, I was glad to be part of a program which made my week easier by providing useful reflection tools, flexible scheduling, and diverse service projects. ROC SALT was great, and was much more accessible for our church than existing programs in other parts of the country.


It was the most satisfying project I have been involved in, working on items that would be obviously and immediately beneficial to recipients.

— Jim, Adult Volunteer

I think it was a valuable experience and more eye opening than the other mission trips I have been on.

— 12th grade , Youth volunteer

This trip helped expand my mindset.

 — 6th grade , Youth volunteer

Thank you for showing me what it's like to live in poverty. Also to see what it's like to wonder if you can support your family. I have learned so much from this experience.

 — 8th grade , Youth volunteer