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The trip of a lifetime

Residents and staff members from Paxton Ministries travel to Puerto Rico for their annual fall trip

by Peggy Mumper

“I had a blast!” That’s how Ben Delp, a resident of Paxton Ministries (Harrisburg, Pa.), describes his “chance of a lifetime” visit to Puerto Rico.

Each fall, a few residents and staff members from Paxton Ministries, a BIC-associated housing facility for mental health and retardation clients from disadvantaged settings, head to a vacation destination. But this year’s group of six male residents, two staff members, and one staff member’s spouse ventured farther than ever before by traveling to Puerto Rico.

“Paxton Ministries prides itself on its ability to enable residents to experience things they would never experience in another residential facility,” explains John Gill, a Paxton staff member who helped organize the trip. Darrell Reinford, another staff member and trip participant, notes that the excursion, which was partially paid for the residents themselves, supports Paxton’s broader vision of encouraging independence, while also providing support to its clients.

Both residents and staff talk animatedly about the vacation, during which they enjoyed everything from the waves on the beach, to the Puerto Rican cuisine, to a group trek along La Mia waterfall in El Yunque rainforest. The group also visited a friend and former resident of Paxton who now lives in Puerto Rico.

Tim Mull, another resident, says that he loved the rainforest and enjoyed swimming right up under a waterfall. “The Caribbean is a dream come true for people. It’s paradise.”

Visit paxtonmin.org to find out more about Paxton Ministries.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2008 issue of In Part magazine.

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