BG Alternative Breaks (bGAB)
Winter Break Sign-Ups
In order to reserve your spot, there is a non-refundable down payment of $50 that can be made by credit/debit card only in the CCCE Mon-Fri 8am-5pm. This amount is included in the total trip cost, which covers housing, transportation, food, and service fees for the trip.
2018 Winter Break Trips
In 2006, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and displaced hundreds of thousands of families. Thirteen years later, thousands of homes are still waiting to be rebuilt. Participants will assist in the long-term recovery efforts to bring families back to the New Orleans community.
Participants will join the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in their resettlement efforts to help refugees whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and regain control of their future.
2019 Spring Break Trips
For many low-income communities, good jobs and healthy food are in short supply. Participants will work with Heartland Alliance's Chicago Farmwork Program, which grows and distributes local produce to those who need it most, while supporting people overcoming barriers to employment.
Woodland Harvest Farm is a farmstead that focuses on growing and sustaining all of their own food and energy located in the Appalachian Mountains. Participants will connect with nature and explore how environmental stewardship strengthens communities.
Participants will work with Mid Atlantic Border Collie Rescue (MABCR), a haven for dogs that have been discarded, neglected, abandoned or stray. This non-profit organization cares for, trains and rehabilitates dogs with the goal of placing them into loving and caring homes.
Participants will assist Renewing Homes in their mission to accomplish, at no cost to the home-owners so that they can live in their own home with dignity in a safe, warn, dry and accessible environment.
So What is an Alternative Break?
An Alternative Break is an alternative to going to the beach or relaxing during academic breaks and instead, devoting your time to volunteering for a community partner. It is during this experience that participants will engage in meaningful reflection, service and education about the social issue in which their trip is focused. Participants will have the opportunity to learn and appreciate new cultural perspectives about the issue of focus based on the interactions with people in the communities we serve. Participants will also be able to connect with their peers on the trip to develop meaningful friendships. Ultimately, participants will be empowered to become active citizens in their community and beyond.
Tell Me More about bGAB
BG Alternative Breaks (bGAB) is a student-led program within the Center for Community and Civic Engagement that prepares groups of students to collaborate with communities experiencing social injustices by learning about, providing direct service for, and reflecting on a specific social issue during BGSU academic breaks. Trips currently go out during fall and spring breaks.
bGAB was founded in 2013 by Maddi Georgoff, a BGSU alumnus (2015). She attended a Break Away Citizenship School and forever committed to fulfilling the goals of the alternative break movement! Our first trip went out during fall break in 2013 to Detroit, Michigan. Maddi was integral to the process of recruiting students who wanted to impact communities during alternative breaks, and was successful in leading the organization for two years before her graduation. She created a thriving student-led alternative break program that has garnered institituion-wide notice and praise. Since 2013, bGAB has sent out 226 students on 18 trips and dedicated 6,100 hours of direct service to community partners.
Alternative breaks provide BGSU students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of their service and work with the community to create positive change and stimulate meaningful dialogues about the issues communities are facing.
bGAB also offers invaluable leadership opportunities. Executive Board positions and Site Leader positions are the next step in the quest to get more involved with this organization. Executive Board members and Site Leaders for 2017-2018 academic year have already been selected. Recruitment for 2018 Fall and Spring Break Site Leaders will begin in March 2018 in addition to recruitment for 2018-2019 Executive Board.
All members of the leadership team receive training, and in return are equipped with the skills to facilitate trainings, pre-trip meetings, and plan and implement service trips and other events related to organization.
Contact Info: If you have further questions please contact our executive board at firstname.lastname@example.org
Through direct service, education, and reflection, BG Alternative Breaks strives to address community identified needs while empowering students to become active global citizens.
bGAB envisions a world without injustice.
How are the Trips Run?
As a chapter member of Break Away, "a national organization that promotes the development of quality alternative break programs through training, assisting, and connecting campuses and communities," we model our trips after Break Away's foundational values. The building blocks of an alternative break are the Active Citizenship Continuum, the Triangle of Quality Community Service, and the 8 Components of a Quality Alternative Break. We educate our executive board, site leaders, and trip participants on these foundational values in order to serve as a stepping stone to a positive and intentional alternative break experience.
Trips are student-led by two site leaders that apply, are chosen by the bGAB executive board, and go through training on the important components of an alternative break, how to plan and implement the trip of their choice, and how to facilitate meaningful reflection. Components of each trip include 2-3 pre-trip meetings, an all-participant meeting, the trip itself, and post-trip reorientation service/advocacy opportunities and/or meetings. Site Leaders are the main contact for participants concerning anything related to the trip.
One trip advisor (a graduate student or staff/faculty) participates in the trip and helps troubleshoot issues that may come up if the site leaders are unsure of what to do. The trip advisor does not plan or implement the trip, but rather provides guidance and support to the site leaders.
Pre-trip meetings consist of learning about the foundational values of an alternative break, getting to know the community partner(s) for the trip, and becoming educated on the social issue for the trip. It is important for all trip participants to attend pre-trip meetings in order to get the most out of the trip experience.
Each trip typically has 2 site leaders, 1 trip advisor (usually a graduate student), and up to 11 participants. The size of the trips allows for the group to build community and create meaningful relationships with community partners.
How Would I Benefit From a bGAB Trip?
AB (Alternative Break) Trips grow every individual differently, however, there are some common benefits.
- Gain a Different Perspective: Immerse yourself in and learn about a new culture and experience different lifestyles - in return, many gain a new or different perspective on life.
- Impact Relevant Social Issues: Learn about current events through your trip's social issue and engage with communities directly affected.
- Meet New People: Meet new peers and you’ll often leave with a whole group of close friends since you share a common desire for service and social justice.
- Learn New Skills: Team building, communication, and problem solving are common skills learned on trips, but depending on your trip's focus, you will leave with relevant skills and knowledge to land your future dream job.
- Personal Growth: AB trips allow us to step outside of our comfort zone and reevaluate our life choices, goals, and general outlook on life.
Read Testimonials from Former bGAB Participants
- It was an amazing yet challenging experience and I’ve grown a lot
- Fantastic opportunity to grow, connect, and discover new things about yourself and the world
- It’s rewarding and enriching. You see the hard work you put in turn into a positive result/outcome. Plus, you make lasting friendships
- The mixture of a passionate community, beautiful environment, and important work created the best week of my life on the bGAB trip!
- bGAB is a life changing experience in which one learned more about the community, social issues, themselves, and fellow BGSU students. It is a “week on, not a week off,” of school.
- This trip is not only a service trip, it is about creating a sense of community not only with other BG students you wouldn’t necessarily come in contact with, but with the community partner. It also is a great way to learn about yourself, social issues, and providing meaningful service.
- The experiences you’ll have are amazing and it’s a great way to learn more about social justice issues and meet other awesome people
- This week was one of the best I’ve ever had – the trip was so rewarding, I learned a lot and had a ton of fun, and met an amazing group of people. This was way better than any other spring break trip.
- New analysis of service and working with all identities/experience within your circles
- I learned how to open my eyes to new experiences and not judge people right away
- Overcoming any uncomfortableness and opening myself up more within a group of people
- Knowledge and experience with invasive species and a new found passion for the intersectionality of social issues
- I feel more inclined to open up and share experiences with people even though we have different backgrounds
- A proclivity for trying new things and being adaptive
- Being less judgmental, being more grateful of the things I have
- I learned a lot about how to learn from multiple perspectives on an issue and that there is always more to learn!
- Seeing growth within myself, personality wise; making incredible friends; and I did something positive to help out people and the community
Frequently Asked Questions
Trips are sent during fall and spring breaks of the academic year.
In 2017-2018 there will be four trips during Fall Break (October 7th-10th) and various trips during Spring Break (March 3rd-10th).
There are two undergraduate students who are site leaders for the trips. All site leaders have been on a trip before and have gone through extensive training based on training materials available through the national organization, Break Away. There is also a graduate student, called a trip advisor, that goes on every trip for an extra measure of security for the trip, should the site leaders get 'stuck.'
Community service projects during trips depend on the needs of the community partner organization. Common projects include cleaning, organizing, and data input. Other trips have demolished buildings, helped rebuild housing, removed invasive plants, cooked and served meals, made products for the community partner to sell, and interacted with individuals that use services at a community organization. We do our best to meet the specific needs of community partners, and sometimes that means doing behind the scenes work so full time staff members are able to do more meaningful work on the front end. It is important to realize that even though you may not be doing the exciting work, you are making a difference!
Service projects usually take place all day (9am-5pm), and then there may be free time and/or time for site seeing in the evening hours. Reflection, a critical component of an alternative break, takes place in the evening as well. Typically, because of community partner organization schedules, there may be one full day available for site seeing (usually Sunday) in the area.
Yes, trip fees are determined by length of the trip and costs associated with travel, lodging and meals. Therefore, trip fees change from trip to trip. Our fall break trips in 2017 cost $190, which included transportation, lodging, and meals for 4 days. Fees for the 2018 spring break trips will be $200, which include transportation, lodging and meals for 7 days. We expect future trips to have similar price points.
Please do not let the trip fee deter you from applying for a BG Alternative Break trip. We believe in the power of fundraising, and we will be implementing fundraising goals to help reduce the cost of the trip for all participants.
Sign-ups are on a "first-come-first-serve" basis. You can sign up and secure your spot by stopping by the Center for Community and Civic Engagement in Univeristy Hall 100 and submitting your non-refundable $50 deposit.
Sign-Ups for Fall Break 2017 are open starting August 21st
Sign-Ups for Spring Break 2018 open November 6th
Trips are not planned on the destination, but rather on the social justice issue that the bGAB leadership team chooses to focus on. We strive to build meaningful and long lasting partnerships with community partners and therefore go back to many places to which we have traveled to in the past, but we are also on the lookout to build relationships with new community partners.
Please see more detailed information about past and future trips below.
Help alleviate food insecurity in our region via work with Food Gatherers, and Growing Hope in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan. Food Gatherers mission is to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in the Ann Arbor Community, they operate to serve and provide food to those in need. Growing Hope seeks to empower people to be healthy, create healthy economies, and healthy places in the Ypsilanti community.
Restoring and protecting wetlands in the historic watershed of the Little River, a major tributary of the Wabash River, and engaging with educational opportunities that encourage good stewardship of wetlands and other natural ecosystems.
Working with the Fowler Center, a camp for children, teens, and adults with special physical, cognitive and psychological impairments. The Center works to create a supportive and inclusive environment for their campers that enhances their personal growth and independence.
Participants will be working with three separate community partners including Cass Community Social Services, Auntie Na’s House, and FOCUS: Hope. Throughout the trip participants will learn what it means to put “unity” back in “community” by gaining insight into the story, culture, and people of Detroit.
Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm is a rustic permaculture farmstead that focuses on growing and sustaining all of their own food and energy. The farm offers teaching and learning experiences to honor the earth and create community. Located within the Appalachian Mountains, this farm is completely off the grid and hopes to help participants "connect with nature and grow into stronger community members, ultimately strengthening our communities to live abundantly." This trip will focus on learning ways to better interact with the Earth through more sustainable practices while also learning about community building and environmental stewardship.
The national conversation about refugees as of late has largely been fearful and dehumanizing. A number of travel bans have sought to close the U.S. to refugees entirely, claiming that they bring terrorism. In reality, refugees are fleeing conflict and persecution and are surviving against incredible odds. On this trip, we will join the International Rescue committee in their resettlement efforts in Richmond, VA, to resettle, employ, integrate, and educate refugees. Participants will work with refugees firsthand, learning their stories and helping them succeed in America.
“Mountains. Foothills. Rivers. Farms. For Nature and People. Forever.” This motto is what the Carolina Mountain Land and Pacolet Area Conservancies in Hendersonville, North Carolina revolve around. Conserving Carolina was made by these two organizations to help conserve the lands and natural resources of the Carolina Mountains. This trip will serve to aid the cause by engaging in service which includes: habitat restoration work, trail work, and a concentrated effort in improving the upkeep of the area.