Our Alternative Break group went to Mayville, Michigan, to volunteer at The Fowler Center (TFC). The Fowler Center is a camp for children and adults with special needs, and we were there for their Winter Camp from the day after Christmas until New Year’s Day. During our time there, we set up activities, served food, cleaned, decorated for events, painted nails, ran carnival games, went on hayrides and pretty much helped out wherever we were needed. We each were assigned to help out a cabin with their campers, we ate our meals with them and did all the daily activities with them as well.
Not only did we grow incredibly close to the campers, but we connected with the staff at TFC. One of our team members, senior Lea Guglielmo, said that for her, the most memorable part of the trip was the reaction from the campers when we were saying our goodbyes. They were very sad to see us go, and it validated our hopes that we had made as much of an impact on them as they had on us.
Another team member, sophomore Lauren Arsenault, agreed that one of the highlights was when they asked if we would be coming back for Summer Camp. One of the leaders, senior Lindsey Musco, said that the greatest impact for her was going full force into a new territory and having the best possible experience.
Alternative Break puts its participants in a brave space, one that challenges them to step outside their comfort zone, while being supported by their team. Working with this population was new for a lot of our team members, but together we supported each other to be open-minded and respectful to everyone of any ability.
Rachel Harmon can be contacted at email@example.com
Other articles in this series: