Alternative Spring Break (ASB)
Alternative Spring Break empowers members to become active citizens through education, direct service, and reflection.
In 2016, students headed to Columbia, South Carolina to work with environmental justice, climate change, food insecurity, and disaster relief efforts from a flood that affected the area in the fall of 2015. The group worked with Community Collaborations International and several local non-profit agencies to complete a full four days of service. Tasks included trail restoration, trash pick up at National Wildlife reserves, work at a local food pantry, and mold removal from homes affected by the disaster. At the end of the week, the group went to the Columbia Zoo and the South Carolina State House to learn more about the local community.
In 2015, Alternative Spring Break served in New Orleans, LA with the United Saints Recovery Project. More than ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the group contributed to ongoing recovery efforts within the city. During their time in New Orleans, students helped to install tile in a home, as well as prepared planters for use in a community garden. In addition, throughout the week the group hung sheet rock in a home, while also preparing the exterior of another home to be repainted. At the end of a week full of hard work and service, the group went on a swamp tour, searching for alligators and crocodiles, followed by a true New Orleans meal at a local restaurant.
In 2014, the group traveled to Brigantine, NJ to work with The Fuller Center for Housing Sandy Relief with families affected by Hurricane Sandy that swept through the city in 2012. Partnering with the Atlantic County Revive and the Fuller Center the students worked with masons to lay a new foundation for a home. Additionally, they gutted a home to prepare it for renovation for victims. The team took a free day in Philadelphia, PA for a double decker bus tour of the city. They also had the opportunity to visit Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City where the owners provided the students with a free meal for all of their hard work and a stroll on the boardwalk. The group formed a strong bond with the two families they were able to help.
2013 brought the group to Biloxi, Mississippi. The team worked on multiple projects including crafting oyster bags from chicken wire and later in the week filling the bags which will be placed in the gulf to reduce erosion. The students also cut trails at a local state park and aided in tornado relief by cleaning up a local church hit in February 2013. In their spare time, the group saw the world’s largest rocking chair, spent time at Biloxi Beach, and made their own fun hanging out at the campsite.
In 2012 the group traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to work with an agency known as Community Collaborations International in disaster relief. They worked with the Red Cross creating disaster relief bags, on sites of destroyed homes cleaning up debris, and fixed up some other local organizations affected by the tornado that swept through the city in April of 2011. The team also took a free day at NASA’s Space Camp and had a blast.
In 2011, ASB teamed up with Community Collaborations International in Niceville, Florida. Participants spent the week working on various environmental projects to restore eroding shore lines by creating natural barriers with oysters and emergent sea grasses. The group also helped serve needs of the local community by helping with the general upkeep of a state park, museum, and the 4-H camp they stayed at for the week.
In 2010, the group set out to help in the Big Apple (New York, NY) with the Youth Service Opportunities Project to help fight hunger and homelessness. The week involved various service projects such as working at shelters, soup kitchens, schools, food and clothing banks and other direct-service institutions in New York City.
In 2009, ASB revisited the Cumberland Trail in Soddy Daisy, TN. They spent the week working at a difficult portion of the trail moving large rocks, creating cribbage walls, and learning how to put a maddox and firerake to good use. Their efforts helped conserve natural resources which have historical and cultural heritage to the area.
In 2008, students traveled to Crossville, TN to help create paths in the Cumberland Trail. They also cleaned out a cave and waterfall in the area. The trip culminated with a 6-mile clean-up hike through a path that was devastated by a tornado.