Alternative Spring Break Trip 2022

Written by Melissa LaNeve, Director of Campus Ministry

Flashback to spring break in March 2020, and you’ll find Campus Ministry on our usual Alternative Spring Break Service Trip in Bel Air, Maryland. Reports were just starting to surface about the novel coronavirus hitting the US. Yet, our group of eleven made it successfully through the week only to make it back home, unable to return to Anna Maria’s campus until Fall 2020.

Flashforward to today and we can reflect on our “Alternative Break Alternative” service program last year with its success in its own right, but being all the more grateful for our first “regular” AB Trip this past spring break since 2020. While our enthusiastic group of seven, including myself, stayed a little closer to home by driving the short distance to Springfield, MA, we nonetheless found ourselves back on the familiar work site of a Habitat for Humanity affiliate. After everything that has occurred these last two years, in many ways it felt even more impactful to be serving our own local community rather than travelling a great distance elsewhere.

Our group included Liam Egan ‘22 (Student Leader), Opal Powers ‘22 (Student Leader), Emma Candelli ‘25, Tania Kalampouka ‘25, Peter Walsh ‘22, and Seth Ward ‘25. A unique mix of only seniors and freshmen, three of whom had been on service trips before and three of whom had not. Regardless, the whole team took on the brisk New England weather (snow included) and gave each project, task, and interaction their all. From moving supplies across town, recycling cans, framing walls, stacking insulation, siding a house, to everything in between, these six students knew each assignment had a significant purpose for the small team of employees at Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity.

As our team mission statement, composed at one of our pre-departure meetings, reads, “[we] will be working with Habitat for Humanity through our fidelity, compassion, and cooperation to humbly serve our neighbors”. Living in a time when many people are still finding their way back into the “normalcy” of certain pre-covid activities, I was proud to be witness to this group of students who were determined to give their first or last spring break to someone who needed their free time more than they did.

While there will always be bumps along the road of life, this group showed me, especially during our reflection time each night, that doing the hard thing, having the hard conversation, and bringing extra love into those hard situations is always worth it. I thank God for the opportunity to facilitate an opportunity like this but even more so for the chance to be witness to the unique ways He’s moving in each of these students’ lives. Now that we’ve returned home in a sense to our regular service trips, I’m excited for the students’ enthusiasm for serving those most in need to continue to grow with each new year!