By Mary Haley
For the Mirror
WILLIAMSBURG -For many young people, Saturday night means a trip to the movies or the mall. But for the youths who are members of the group Crossroad, that nightlife fun dims compared to the desire to spend time sharing about God and planning ways to help others.
(Photo for the Mirror by Mary Haley) The Crossroad in Williamsburg was a dream of Dave Cadle (right) who is shown with co-founder Elizabeth Isenberg and Alana and Bo Isenberg. On the bridge are (from left) Noah Detwiler, Harry Mullins and Memphis and Emily Detwiler.
But then again, the Christian-based group that took a while to get off the ground, has bucked all sorts of trends and has come together to help people literally across the world.
It began as a way to help people in the borough and that's still the main mission of the Crossroad, comprised of students in elementary school through high school, said co-founder Elizabeth Isenberg.
One of the the members who joined the group while she was in grade school is Yvonne Longenecker. The 14-year-old freshman at Central High School in Martinsburg started in the group when she was 9.
"It makes me feel good to help people in our town,'' she said. She's helped with a lot of projects, such as collecting canned food for the needy.
But not all the activity takes place indoors. Isenberg heads up the group's summer bridge programs, which are offered for younger and older kids.
The younger children learn about responsibility and friendship, she said. Teens gain experience in practical skills such as cooking, job interview techniques and plumbing tips, she said. Of course, all the kids learn biblical lessons.
Co-founder Dave Cadle said field trips are part of the fun with summer nature walks to learn about science and trips to area farms to hear about agriculture.
"That's the kind of learning we like them to do,'' he said.
Projects are balanced with leisure, such as spending time at Raystown Lake.
Longenecker said she enjoys the recreational days that are balanced with the community service and educational days.
But that's not what keeps her coming back to the Crossroad.
"I like hearing about God,'' she said. "I really like it when they read stories from the Bible.''
Tanner Detwiler, 11, son of Lori and Jon Detwiler, said he liked the fun days in the summer program that include water games, which he described as "pretty cool.''
But he also liked making cookies for people in local nursing homes, he said.
"It made me happy to be helping other people,'' he said.
Such enthusiasm is what Cadle envisioned in the late 1990s when he got the idea that eventually led to the Crossroad. But it was a long and winding journey.
Cadle, who was a basketball coach for Williamsburg High School at the time, asked kids if anybody was interested in forming a group of students who would pray together.
He got no takers.
"But that feeling [about a need for a Christian youth group] just wouldn't go away,'' Cadle said.
The next year, he put a sign-up sheet in the hall and had a few responses. The fledgling group became part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a national organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that challenges coaches and athletes on professional and student levels to impact the world for Jesus Christ.
But Cadle wanted more.
He dreamed of a grassroots effort that would help people in the Williamsburg area.
Eventually Isenberg got involved, and she and Cadle recruited others.
The group gained momentum, moving out of the confines of the school and into the former Hollidaysburg Trust Co. building in the borough.
The building at High and Second streets, had stood vacant for several years, when the group took occupancy.
One day, Cadle looked out one of the building's windows and hit on the group's eventual name - the Crossroad.
"We go through a lot of crossroads in our life, but usually, it's one at a time,'' he said.
The group went through one of its own when it was evicted from its home, because the borough declared the building unsafe.
But the story has a happy ending, although it has a bittersweet touch.
The Crossroad relocated down the street to a storefront owned by John and Dona Gorsuch of Williamsburg.
You can't miss the entrance to the Crossroad group's home in Williamsburg, thanks to the colorful artistic efforts of members.
The brightly painted designs on the sidewalk lead to, in front of and all round the storefront at 413 W. 2nd St.
Inside, it is furnished with a hodgepodge of couches, tables, chairs and a TV that welcomes members each week for Bible study, discussions and the occasional movie or video games.
A teen group called "I Am Second,'' led by Dakota Biddle, meets on Saturday evenings.
Meanwhile, the building the group vacated was torn down, and the land was purchased by Harry Mullins of Williamsburg.
Mullins and Sharon Detwiler care for Emily Detwiler, 16, and her brothers Noah, 14, and Memphis, 9. The children were left without their mother, Kimberly Detwiler, when she died of congestive heart failure at age 29.
Once Mullins had secured the property, Cadle put a plan for the Crossroad to benefit the family into action.
He put out the call for people to bring dirt to the vacant lot and got tons.
The soil provided a base to plant flowers, a desire of Kimberly Detwiler's sons, Noah and Memphis, Mullins said.
Memphis had always wanted flowers in the yard, Mullins said, but they didn't have a lot of room.
Now flowers beautify "Kimberly's Place,'' the park created by the Crossroad group in memory of her.
"I thought it was important that the kids had a place to remember their mother,'' Mullins said.
In the center of the park is a wooden bridge.
"People need to be bridge builders,'' Cadle said. "It's way too easy to build walls. We're about building bridges, relationships with other people.''
Emily, Noah, 14 and Memphis are all members of Crossroad.
"I think it's a lot of fun,'' Emily said.
She also belongs to "I Am Second.'' The group watches movies, studies the Bible and has discussions.
"I like hearing how people have turned their lives around,'' Emily said.
Crossroad has transformed other parts of the borough, too, beautifying the landscape with mini- parks throughout the area. In several locations, the members have erected three crosses to symbolize the scene when Jesus died on Calvary.
But improving the look of the borough is only a part of the Crossroad's mission.
Seeded with a start-up fund since its inception that came from its founders, the group has held soup and bake sales and other fundraisers to help people locally and in all parts of the world.
They don't talk a lot about all the people they help, but they've supported missionary efforts in other countries, donated to food pantries in Blair County and provided money to help people in the borough pay delinquent utility bills.
"What we've found is that the more you give, the more you get,'' Cadle said. "If you don't help, then why even bother