Alternative break trips scheduled for spring

Johnson State Colleges Badger Alternative Breaks Program is performing its twenty-fifth consecutive year of providing student-oriented community services.

This year’s JSC BAB theme-based trips will be revolving around past and more recent community service experiences that the BAB program have been involved with. Three trips will be going out for this year’s BAB services. Each experience will consist of 10 Students and two site leaders. All of this year’s BAB trips will be going out during the week of JSC’s winter February 2016 break.

The BAB experience consists of a year-long commitment that includes a week-long direct service experience. Participants learn about a variety of social issues in a nonacademic setting. Before the trips go out, there is a lot that needs to be done, like group meetings, fundraising and trainings.

One of the themes for this year’s BAB program is a “National Park Service, A Second Century of Environmental Stewardship.”

Participants involved with this trip will be going to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. This group will be working primarily with a wildfire management crew.

Another theme this year is “Education for all from the ground up.” Members involved with this trip will be traveling to the Central American country of Nicaragua. Participants will be working on rehabilitating existing schools. This will ultimately help create educational access for the community as a whole.

The third BAB theme for this year is “Community Building.” Participants of this trip will be going to Detroit, Michigan. The group will be working with Cass Community Social Services, which is an agency dedicated to providing food, housing, health services, and job programs for individuals in need.

JSC Junior Rachele Funk has been involved with BAB since her start at JSC as a freshman. She is now on the executive board for the program where she is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. “My freshman year I was a participant on the Animal Advocacy experience,” said Funk. “We worked with Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue in Chestertown, Maryland.” Last year as a sophomore, Funk was one of the site leaders for the Homelessness in LGBTQ+ Youth Experience, where she traveled to New York, NY. Funk worked with a day shelter that primarily focused on the age group of 18 to 25 year olds who identified themselves as being LGBTQ+. Also for this year, Funk will be leading the National Park Service trip to The Grand Canyon.

As always, with any BAB program, fundraising is a large portion of the experience. “We are planning many different fundraisers this year,” said Funk. “Program wide fundraisers for this year include working with Stowefest, creating alumni campaigns, letter writing, and many different seasonal opportunities.”
Along with these program-wide fundraisers, each experience group also has the opportunity to fundraiser for their group as well.

“I would describe the BAB program at Johnson as a tradition of service, through passionate students, faculty and staff. I believe the program is very important on campus,” said Funk. “There is no other program like us at Johnson. We connect students to service, through passions they have.”

According to Funk, through the program students have the ability to meet other students who share similar interests, and also learn about cultures they might have not had the opportunity to learn about in a classroom setting.

Funk hopes the participants, leaders and executive board members learn, grow and give back all throughout the year. “I want participants to feel an excitement about service that they’ve never had before, and use that to make positive change in their life and community,” said Funk.

Since JSC introduced the BAB program, they have sent out 120 alternative breaks involving 1197 students, faculty, and staff. In 1995, JSC was awarded the highest honor by the National Break Away to a campus chapter, the Alternative Break Program of the year award at the Break Away national conference.

For more information regarding JSC’s BAB program, you can visit the SERVE office on the top floor of the Stearns Student Center.