Photo Essay: Weatherization Program and Youth Volunteers Fix Homes and Change Lives in the Navajo Nation

Each year, something surprising happens in the Navajo Nation in southeastern Utah. Hundreds of teens from all around the country gather at a nearby high school, and just five days later, dozens of local residents have newly refurbished homes that can stand up to the harsh desert elements. 

The youth are a participating with Group Mission Trips, a non-denominational Christian organization that provides opportunities for Christian youth to see a new part of the world and give service. For the camps located in southern Utah, the Department of Workforce Services Weatherization Assistance Program provides the supplies, training and expertise needed to make the needed repairs. The Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments also co-sponsors the project.

This year, the camp was held June 20-24 in the area surrounding Montezuma Creek. Scroll through the photos below to learn more.

About 175 Christian youth from around the country, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Minnesota and Pennsylvania made significant improvements to 27 homes on the Navajo reservation.

Harsh weather conditions, including extreme heat and sand-filled winds quickly break down traditional building materials, like roof shingles and wood siding and doors. 

Most of the homes received a new metal roof, which provides much better protection against the elements. 

Weatherization Assistance Program teams taught the youth volunteers how to drill, cut and install the metal roofing.