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From sunny California to Victoria, B.C.: spring break, Gator-style

Alameda, California
Twelve students and two staff departed Green River for Alameda, California.

Students had two opportunities to participate in college-organized trips through Student Life this break: one that went down to sunny California and the other up to Victoria, B.C. 

Alameda, California

By Story Gilmore, Coordinator for Student Leadership & Involvement

The first to depart was the second annual service-learning alternate break to Alameda Point Collaborative in the Bay Area of California, March 23-29.

We started our seven-day road trip bright and early, departing Green River at 7:45 a.m. with two vans, two staff, twelve students, four hula hoops, a rice cooker and a desire to serve.  

Our evening destination of Yreka, Calif. was hours ahead of us and the students had ample opportunities to bond with fellow students from different countries and different academic programs, power nap, and enjoy hula hoop sessions and push-up challenges thrown in at rest stops along the road.  

After a brief stay in Yreka, we were back on the road the second day headed to San Francisco.  We stayed in the heart of downtown and spent the evening at the famous Fisherman's Warf to afford students the opportunity to take in the unique culture of the area, enjoy magic shows and pick up a few souvenirs for friends back home.  At "San Fran" we were so close to APC, but still a little farther to go.  

Alameda, California
Students volunteered with Alameda Point Collaborative help local Bay Area communities.

We made it to our destination on the third day.  We were very fortunate that APC was able house us in one of their apartments during our stay, allowing us to share space as a group and further strengthen the bonds that were growing to connect us as a community, as well as maximize our engagement with the community we were volunteering to support.  

Having shared space also allowed us the opportunity to share "family style" meals and participate in rich conversation at reflection dinners we called "Daily Dish." Students were given journals at the beginning of the trip and we challenged them to commit to writing down their expectations at the start, then reflect daily on their experiences, what they learned, what challenged them and how they grew.  

We stayed on site and worked with APC staff in different capacities for three days before returning home.  Tasks ranged from weeding garden beds and gluing PVC irrigation tubes, to leading after-school educational programs for youth. With each task our efforts were acknowledged and appreciated. 

For some, it may be their only California experience; for others it may have been only the beginning, but for all, it was an incredible experience with high impact.

As part of our event evaluation process, we always allow and encourage comments, anonymous or not. 

Here are two student quotes we received:

"Awesome event. Learned a lot of new things. Should do it again!"

"We had the opportunity to stay in the middle of the community we were serving and get a sense for what it is like to be a part of it." 

Vancouver, B.C.
Students visited beautiful destinations in Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver, B.C.

By Zach Rude, International Activities Manager

The second trip to depart was Green River's March 24-27 spring break trip to Victoria, B.C.

It was an action-packed four-day adventure. We started our trip with a spectacular morning view of the Puget Sound as we cruised north aboard the clipper. Upon arriving at the harbor, we were welcomed with views of the parliament building, sunshine on our faces, and a beautiful walk along the water.

Although learning to navigate the B.C. transit system was a challenge, we eventually mastered it and were able to reach destinations such as Mt. Douglas National Park, the Butchart Gardens, and Victoria Butterfly Gardens. Our hotel, the Chateau Victoria, was located right in the middle of downtown, so popular destinations like the Victoria Bug Zoo, Victoria IMAX, and Craigdarroch Castle were conveniently within walking distance. 

Vancouver, B.C.
Students hike to the “summit” of Mt. Douglas.

Highlights of the trip include exploring the historical castle of the Craigdarroch family, hiking to the "summit" of Mt. Douglas, taking in the breathtaking views of Cordova Bay and downtown Victoria, and-of course--walking through the world-famous Butchart Gardens.  The incredible transformation of an abandoned limestone depository quarry into one of the most beautiful gardens in the world was a treat for us all. 

If you would like to see more pictures from our trip follow us on International Programs Activities Instagram (account ipgreenriver).