| 03.18.2018

Taking control of service


ASB participants to have say in trip destination

While many students look forward to spring break as a chance to relax and take time off from school, some, like the participants in the Alternative Service Break Program, see it as an opportunity to help others.

The Alternative Service Break coordinators plan to change the sign up process for spring ASB trips — for the first time ever, spring ASB participants can choose their own destinations.

“It seems that the way we’re doing it thus far hasn’t necessarily been the most efficient,” said Courtney Stoker, one of three ASB coordinators. “They know themselves a lot better than we could ever know them on an application. It just takes away the possibility of putting someone on the wrong trip for them and it adds an element of speed and efficiency that we have been kind of lacking.”

Stoker said the new selection process would be on a first-come, first-served basis. The earliest opportunity to sign up for a trip will be 8 p.m.  Feb. 2 in the Vandal Ballroom of the SUB.

She said participants would have the chance to talk to trip leaders and reserve a spot on one of the trips with a $50 deposit and a state-issued ID.

Jessica Darney, another ASB coordinator, said she encourages people to sign up for a trip on Feb. 2 if they are excited about a certain location or issue.

“That’s mostly for if you know what service you want to do and you see that service, like ‘Oh, I want to work Habitat for Humanity,’ then you can go to that table instead of going somewhere and working with children. It’s kind of more tailored to what you want in your service,” Darney said.

Darney said she thinks the program has outgrown the old application process and is ready for a drastic change.

The current application process requires all three coordinators to go through the applications and decide where each person should be placed. Stoker said the decision process was challenging because of the limited number of spots available for each trip. She said they had to turn away about half of the applicants for the winter trip because there weren’t enough spots.

“You see like a really awesome application and you can see a perfect trip for this person to go on, but if that trip’s already full and you already have so many other people there, it’s really difficult,” Stoker said.

Stoker said this will still be an issue in spring, when there will be only about 72 positions available on a total of nine trips.

She said the new process could also raise a new challenge since people may be inclined to sign up for a trip with people they already know. Stoker said this could lead to a less valuable experience. As the current application process attempts to diversify each group.

“In the past, we always tried to get a group of strangers together for an ASB trip — it kind of adds to group dynamic and we all think it’s really important to have an even playing field when everyone gets together,” Stoker said. “That’s one of the issues that we see possibly running into, but we’re hoping that we can find some ways around that. Maybe even just asking people ‘Don’t sign up with your friends. Honestly just pick a trip that’s good for you, and not just because your friends are doing it.'”

ASB Coordinator Brady Fuller said he became an ASB coordinator after going on an ASB trip himself. He said he thinks starting with a team of strangers is a very important part of the trip.

“We do want to focus on just service, but then there’s the learning aspect, and a huge part of the learning aspect is working with new people,” he said. “So we hope that people go in with that mindset that when they work with new people in a new place doing service they can grow as an individual, rather than being around the same people that they’re always around.”

Stoker said her favorite part of ASB trips is the variety of projects. She said while there is usually a general idea of the work and of what can happen, each trip is unique. She also emphasized the importance of the learning aspect of a service-learning project.

“Maybe on a service trip you get a community partner that doesn’t have a lot for you to do and you don’t feel like you got a lot done, but you can still have a lot of growth on the learning side, rather than just on the service side,” Stoker said. “So highlighting both sides of that kind of helps people to get more out of it and have more value in the trips.”

Daphne Jackson can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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