ASB04 (trevor annis)INTERNET
(Source: Trevor Annis) Participants in the 2013 Alternative Spring Break volunteer their efforts for children.

As spring semester begins, students in the Center for Community Engaged Learning are already planning for this year’s spring vacation with the annual Alternative Spring Break.

The weeklong service trip is aimed to help students interact with service communities across the country. Hosted March 10-15 of this year, alternative spring breakers will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to help the area’s impoverished.

Service vice president Trevor Annis said he believes the opportunity is good for any student interested in serving others. “(It) will be an excellent opportunity for students who are new to service and want to get their service-feet wet,” Annis said. “Because of this, I think it is excellent for everyone, both the service rookie and veteran alike!”

To qualify, each of the 30 student participants must turn in completed applications by Jan. 22. They are then interviewed by a panel from the CCEL. The trip costs a total of $400, in addition to money for dinners and any personal expenses students may want.

General service director Madison Lemelle has participated in the past and said she would go again in a heartbeat. “Not only will you be participating in a variety of service opportunities . . . but you will make lifelong friendships with the other participants on this trip,” she said. “Some of my very best friends are people that I met on ASB.”

Participants will work with local food and homeless shelters sponsored by nonprofit and government organizations.

Alternative Spring Break chair Heather Gray said she believes the trip’s focus on poverty in Las Vegas  will help students gain a better perspective on the impoverished in the Ogden area.

“It’s a city that has lots of glitz and glamour, and a lot of people don’t see there’s a lot of poverty there as well,” said Gray, who added that participants she knows have referred to the trip as a life-changing experience.

“We’re very intentional in the way we structure the trip to gear student returning trip participants to opportunities that can serve the populations that they served in Alternative Spring Break, but here at home,” said Mike Moon, assistant director for the CCEL.

Annis emphasized that, while Alternative Spring Break is a service trip, students aren’t giving up vacation time to go.

“Alternative Spring Break is basically a vacation,” said Annis, who added that the trip has been specifically organized to allow for free time for participants to make sure they balance out the amount of work done with leisure activities.

The price includes accommodations at the Paradise Estate in Las Vegas, tickets to see the world-famous Blue Man Group, several meals, and travel to and from the venue.

“Alternative Spring Break is a wonderful experience that will provide a great leadership opportunity, a chance to meet and make new friends, and a wonderful location,” Annis said. “Who wouldn’t want to spend a week in Vegas, and all for only $400? Having attended the ASB trip twice now, I wouldn’t choose to spend my spring break any other way.”

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