Sleeping on the floor and waking up to strip shingles off a roof hardly sounds like a summer vacation but to nearly 200 students who came to Salt Lake City from across the country, that's exactly what it was.
Each summer about 18,000 Christian youths visit more than 85 U.S. cities to alleviate substandard housing. They call themselves World Changers.
"We really just want to get out here and serve. That's where our heart's at and that's what we love doing," said Nicole Purvis, a staffer who has taken more than six trips with the group since she was in middle school.
This is the seventh year the volunteers have visited Salt Lake City. In that time, they've brought 1,000 volunteers to roof, landscape, fence and paint 100 Utah houses at no cost to the homeowners.
While the low-income homeowners pay nothing for the $2,500 worth of free work their houses receive, the World Changers themselves aren't so lucky.
Each participant shells out $250 so that they can work and serve and that doesn't include food and other expenses.
Not only do the young volunteers have to pay, they also have to squeeze into their living space and shower in trucks. The 198 volunteers are sleeping on floors, air mattresses, even hammocks for a week at the Canyons Church, 1700 E. Fort Union Blvd.
"It's not roomy," Purvis said, "but we can all fit."
The sleeping quarters may be tight, but the food isn't shabby.
"Usually you think of camp food as being moldy, those eggs that are cold, yech, the chocolate milk that still tastes like white milk," said California volunteer Nick Trigeiro. "But the food is really good."
Though where they stay and what they eat aren't really the point.
"Why we wanted to do it is so that we could show God's love to everybody and be able to help people in need," said volunteer Kylie Paynter, of Idaho Falls.
"If I were alone and my house needed work, wouldn't I want someone to come help me?" asked Trigeiro.
"I love doing anything that I can get my hands on to show love to God and to serve others," added Purvis.
That desire to serve garners the group support.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave World Changers a grant, American Express kicked in $5,000, and businesses sold them supplies at lower prices.
This is the 22nd year the World Changers have served. The group was founded by the North American Mission Board at the Southern Baptist Convention. Through the years, more than 300,000 participants have completed 1,400 housing projects.
"During training, they hit hard on being a servant leader because that's what Christ was," Purvis said, "that's what we want to be as well."