As my service as one of the 2014 Alternative Spring Break Trip leaders draws to an end, I want to take a moment and reflect one the entirety of my experience. ASB was the third service trip I have been on, and the first of which I was an organizer. My decision to apply for the trip leader position stemmed from my experiences on my previous ASB trips. Each spring break I spent emerged in service work showed me how each individual’s actions had an impact on the world. Serving others showed me why I was important relative to the world around me. Once I understood that my actions made a difference, I came to the understanding that it was my responsibility as a citizen to continue taking those actions and serving my community in any capacity I was able. In doing so I felt the full liberation of service, the mutually beneficial relationship in which I became an empowered, educated, and humbled individual only because I was devoting myself to the benefit of others.
I applied to be a trip leader for ASB 2014 because the individual I am today is a product of service trips. I felt as though being a trip leader was the next step for me to take in my service career; to be one of the people who creates these life altering opportunities for students and to come full circle and give back to a program that has given me so much. I am blessed that I was given the opportunity, an opportunity that stands out as the best experience of my life.
Brandon, Tori, and I under the advisement of Claire and Angel poured incredible effort into organizing a program that would leave each participant with that unique sense of empowerment, education, and humility that only service can foster. It was a both a stressful and exciting period of my life that called upon me to think in ways I never have, face challenges I could have never have seen coming, and to be a leader to 27 other peers. Nevertheless I can say with no hesitation that it was the most gratifying experience I have ever had.
By the end of the trip I could see growth in ever-single ASB participant. I could hear in their reflections of the workdays that they were considering their place in the world differently than they had before, that understood how they were working with and for the good of their neighbors, and that their work, no matter how small, matters. Above all else however, was their understanding that it doesn’t end when the trip does.
ASB trips are to take participants outside of themselves, show them that they can make an impact, and then challenge them to perpetuate that work in their everyday lives. Though it is always hard to return to the “real world” these trips don’t really have meaning unless we take away something of value from it and return home to apply it.
I am honored to call myself a peer to the ASB 2014 participants because they truly are some of my generation’s finest citizens. Serving as a trip leader has provided me with unquantifiable amounts of self growth both as a leader and as an individual. Once again, I leave an ASB trip rejuvenated and confident that as long as my motivations are founded on the good of my community, only positive things can come. Thus, I am ready to enter back into the "real world" and continue applying my newly found strengthens as a means to positively impact my community.
I have nothing but thanks to everyone and anyone who has supported me in this process. It is because of the support of my fellow trip leaders, friends, family, advisors, and community that I have been so blessed with the opportunity to have such an amazing experience.
Sincerely, Amy Jones class of 2016