In 2005, several brethren had a vision to develop a program for young Amish and Mennonite men to serve in case of a military draft. They asked CAM to help provide leadership in this endeavor. The Conservative Anabaptist Service Program (CASP) developed from this effort and launched its first pilot project in 2006.
Since then, young men work on projects approved by the Selective Service System just as if the U.S. government activated a military draft. Most of the projects involve working with park officials on forestry projects and rebuilding homes for disaster victims. Young men on the projects enjoy their time of service and benefit spiritually from it. On a recent project, a group came home early because of COVID-19 restrictions. Our staff member shared, “I think we were all disappointed that we had to come home earlier because of the coronavirus.”
Nineteen church constituencies are signed up under the CASP program and coordinating these pilot projects through CAM. Each participating church group may tailor the work projects according to their own standards, as long as the standards meet our minimum code of conduct.
After returning from a CASP project, a young man commented, “If anyone ever has the chance to go [on a CASP project], I would encourage you to go. You won’t regret it.”