BAB reveals trip locations

Badger Alternative Breaks has announced its destinations for their departure during February break: New Orleans, Louisiana; Boulder Creek, California; and an international trip to Nicaragua.

The environmental trip will be going to Boulder Creek, California, to work with young inner-city students on surviving out in the wilderness, along with some other outdoor activities.

“We will be working at the YMCA Camp Campbell and we’re going to be working with fifth and sixth grade urban students,” said Mikayla Turner, a senior at JSC and a Badger Alternative Breaks leader. “They’re coming from San Francisco, the city area, and this is going to be their first experience out in the wild. We’re going to be working with a naturalist and we’ll be doing studies outside. We’re going to be leading hikes, we’re going to be doing survival skills, which is super fun.”

The hunger and food insecurity trip will take students to New Orleans to work on the Grow Dat Youth Farm and work with food sustainability. The group will be lodged in a church while working at Grow Dat, which is youth leadership farm. “We’re going to be working with food sustainability and doing jobs that Grow Dat Farms wants us to do,” said Megan Roberts, a freshman at JSC and a first-time Badger Alternative Breaks volunteer.

“I’m most excited about experiencing the culture of New Orleans and learning more about food sustainability,” says Roberts. “It’s a good opportunity to travel around the country, and possibly go out of the country, and help people in the process.”

The Nicaragua trip will focus on educational issues. Participants will be working at an after-school program and will help the students with their class work. Also, they will be doing some school renovations. “They’re going to be focusing on education in rural areas,” says Turner.

Turner notes that BAB tries to inform the volunteers on current social issues through the trips that they plan. The program, she says, offers students an opportunity to learn about pressing social issues while at the same time enjoying the benefits and adventure of travel.

“When I did it the first year, it just amazed me that I was able to expand my horizons and learn more about social issues that I wasn’t even aware of beforehand,” says Turner. “Through the alternative breaks program, I’ve learned so much about diversity. I’ve learned a lot also about myself. You learn that social issues are interconnected, which is a mind-blowing thing. It’s definitely an eye-opening program.”

For Turner, participation in the alternative breaks program has also given her a sense of what she might like to do as a career. A trip two years ago provided just such an opportunity. “I went to the Grand Canyon National Park for one of my trips and that’s where I found out that I wanted to be a park ranger. I got to work with a park ranger on a volunteer project and that got me interested in a future career that I wasn’t aware of beforehand,” says Turner.

She noted that the BAB program has done a lot of advertising this year to help publicize the program. Outreach has included a video and a high profile on social media.

“We use Facebook as a large platform,” Turner says. “We also used Instagram to reach out to students and we continue to do so and we highly recommend people follow our page because we’re really trying to show people what we’re doing through not just words and posters. We want people to be involved through social media. We also do a lot of posters around campus for the different fundraising events that we have. Also, for recruitment, there was posters put up. Then word of mouth is largely a big part of what we do. If you have any inclination to apply or you hear about it and is sparks your interest just a little bit, you should apply for the program.”