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Published Sat, Nov 10, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Sat, Nov 10, 2012 09:45 AM

Clayton youngster bicycling for airfare

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- Correspondent

CLAYTON -- A Clayton youngster is racking up mileage on his bicycle in hopes of raising funds for a mission trip to Guatemala next month.

Wyatt Harrison, 6, has been spending afternoons and weekends on his two-wheeler riding local trails and pathways with one goal in mind – hitting 100 miles in a month’s time to pay for his approximately $1,000 air fare.

Along with his parents, Jennifer and Brian, Harrison will travel to Palin, a town situated in the foothills of the Sierra Madre volcanic chain and located about an hour south of Guatemala City. From Dec. 4-11th, the family will join a group from the International Mission Board and Southern Baptist Convention to work with an international school and teach bible schools for the children of the village.

“The goal for our mission is to spread the news of God,” said Jennifer Harrison. “For Wyatt, it goes further than that. It will be great for him to see a different culture and learn about a Third World country. I think it will make him more grateful than he can imagine.”

In order to raise funds for the trip, Wyatt is riding his bike throughout the month of November with local families, friends and members of Bethesda Baptist Church sponsoring him for every mile he completes. In his first week, Wyatt had already logged over 30 miles riding along the path in his Flowers Plantation neighborhood and the Sam’s Branch Greenway.

It’s an activity that gets the entire family involved. His parents accompany him on each outing traveling about an hour each trip. Younger sister, Ellie, 2, rides along in a cart pulled by her father’s bicycle. The busy family rides at any opportunity they can find and uses the time for bonding.

Brian Harrison estimates it takes his son about seven minutes to complete a mile.

“It’s kind of like our table time at dinner,” said Brian Harrison. “It’s our time to talk and catch up on our days.”

At the end of each ride, Wyatt goes to the refrigerator and logs his mileage onto a chart.

“I’m very excited to go to Guatemala,” he said. “We’re going to have a bible school and tell people about God.”

The first grade student at East Clayton Elementary has already begun brushing up on his conversational Spanish skills. He is a part of a group of students who receive instruction two days per week prior to the start of the school day in addition to once a week with the rest of his class.

Jennifer Harrison said it’s unusual for a child of Wyatt’s age to take a mission trip. The group they are traveling with suggests a minimum age of 16 but the Harrisons received special approval for their son’s passage.

“When the opportunity came about for us to go, I thought it would be a great overall experience for Wyatt,” she said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve others.”

A website has been established to sponsor Wyatt’s fundraising efforts at youcaring.com and can be searched under Jennifer Harrison’s name.

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