Travis Finley is known to be a lot of things — church pastor, city councilman, sports coach — and, now, he’s even a unit of measure.
Last Thursday morning, Rev. Finley was watching a local YouthWorks crew construct a scorer’s stand behind the southwest backstop at Finley Field (local ballfields named in honor of the longtime civic leader). As the roof was about to be installed, one of the group leaders inquired of Finley about his height.
"I’m somewhere around 6-2," responded a slightly puzzled Finley.
"We just want to make sure you’ll be able to walk in there without bumping your head," the YouthWorks’ leader explained.
For the past 10 years, the Christian youth program has included Pawhuska as one of the 70 North American communities to which it arranges week-long mission trips for some of its 30,000 students and adult leaders.
YouthWorks officials say their goal is to provide affordable options for "high quality experiences." Working with local church leaders has helped the program accomplish its goals for its students while giving much-appreciated support to the host ministries.
Pawhuska’s other minister/city councilman, Mark Buchanan, said the arrangement with YouthWorks has been a match made in heaven.
"Every summer, they provide some wonderful benefits to our community," Buchanan said of the program. "And, they say that Pawhuska is one of their most requested mission-trip destinations."
YouthWorks was founded in 1994 and started coming to Pawhuska in 2005. For the first five years, students were housed at the Indian Camp School but they have been housed at First Christian Church since 2010.The group has continued to be involved with the Indian Camp summer school programs, however.
Visiting YouthWorks’ students also assisted at the Pawhuska Boys & Girls Club. They also help serve a community meal at least once a week, and also run Kids Club activities. for part of the summer, in addition to doing work projects around town.
In the evenings, the YouthWorkers’ activities are varied to include learning local historical highlights to playing softball, and from attending local church services to providing for a community cookout.
"The hospitality we experience in Pawhuska is second to none," YouthWorks officials said. "We are blessed to be a part of this small town."