Alternate Spring Break Experiences

A completely different type of spring break experience, and one that has been gaining popularity on college campuses in recent years, is a break spent working on community service projects. Many times this sort of spring break is set up by an office or organization on campus.

The experience can involve staying at the college or within the local community, traveling to a different part of the country, or sometimes traveling out of the country. While you probably won't be staying in hotels, you will be with other college students, and your basic needs will be met.

Where can you find alternate spring break trips?

Your campus office of community service or religious life will have some information. Student service organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega may also sponsor trips. Local chapters of groups such as Habitat for Humanity are also likely to have information. If they aren't prominently featured on campus, you'll have to show initiative and find these organizations on your own.

An alternate spring break trip can be hard work. Students who attend these experiences often return to campus tired and sore. However, those same students report a tremendous sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Don't let the thought of some hard work deter you from this type of experience. The work you will do is completely different from your day-to-day life at college and will ultimately leave you feeling refreshed and enthused.

After spring break, when you're explaining how you spent your time to friends at college or family at home, the energy in your voice will convey to them that you were part of something special. These trips are usually extremely affordable, as the sponsoring organizations often contribute funds and the students going on the trip hold numerous fundraisers throughout the fall semester.

Alternate spring break trips may include working with widely established organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, or with local entities, such as domestic violence shelters. Some trips involve living and working at a Native American reservation or nature reserve. You may have the chance to tutor children, assist the elderly, or work on construction projects.

There are as many possibilities as there are people in need of your services. Only a week of your time could change the lives of dozens, or even hundreds, of people. Even if you don't plan to participate in one of these programs for your first spring break, be sure to consider it in the future.

If your college does not offer alternative spring break trips, or you want to find opportunities other than those offered on campus, looking online is the right idea. Many organizations such as United Way and the Jewish National Fund offer exciting alternative spring break opportunities. Look in the Internet Resources Appendix of this book for some sample sites, or use your favorite search engine to find alternative spring breaks.

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