ASB2009 in Tennessee

During Alternative Spring Break 2009, SMU students will be volunteering in Appalachia, Tennessee, with the Once Upon a Time Wilderness Adventures mission. They’ll spend the week doing a variety of service learning projects, including trail maintenance, gardening and work with a Cherokee community.

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Highlights of our Tennessee adventure

100_1016-400.jpgAn update from Kat, senior advertising major and site leader:

See a slideshow of our time in Tennessee.

Si-yo!

Already back?

So, I was sitting in my dorm on Sunday night and was wishing with all I had that I was back in TN. I’m missing those beautiful landscapes!

I had such a great time working with the community, the other colleges, and our group! (We worked with three other college groups: Cazenovia College in NY, Longwood University in VA, and University of Tampa in FL.)

I cannot begin to describe the impact this trip had on me! It was really wonderful to not only see the effort all the students put into our week, but the relationships that were building throughout the week were incredible.

I highly encourage any student to go on an Alternative Spring Break trip at least ONCE during their time here at SMU. Some people shy away from community service, but it truly is so much more than that! I am definitely one who was born with a servant’s heart and I love to serve others, but that isn’t what this trip is all about.

Yes, our foundation is serving those in need, but you are taking a week to develop relationships, which is so important!

I wanted to recap a few highlights from the week …

Wednesday

We spent the morning working at a Cherokee woman’s house in the community. Our group uninstalled the gutter system on her house and spackled and painted a room in her home. She’s a single mom with three kids who needed a helping hand, and we were glad to be there for her!

Then in the early afternoon we helped another Cherokee lady in the community. She had leased her home for the last 7-8 years, and the family that lived there completely trashed her property. There is a ravine behind her home that was completely covered in trash. SMU students, along with the three other colleges, spent the afternoon picking up trash from the ravine. We were amazed how much trash we picked up!

Afterward we hiked in the Joyce Kilmer National Forest then drove The Dragon’s Tail back to TN (The Dragon’s Tail is an 11-mile stretch that has over 300 sharp turns in the road – in the mountains!)

Thursday

We went spelunking! We had such a great time, and we got REALLY messy! It was definitely a great adventure. We went spelunking in the Lost Sea with the students from Cazenovia College. It was a great way to get to know the students in our group and the students from Cazenovia!

Then we went to Cades Cove for the afternoon and explored the first settlement in the Smokies! It was beautiful!! And Tom treated us to dinner at Buddy’s BBQ (yum!).

Friday

We helped clean the camp site (Citigo) in the Cherokee National Forest! It was a bit chilly this morning, but it was absolutely beautiful!

And then the party starts … Friday night we went to Rocky Branch Community Center to rock out blue-grass style! It was GREAT music, and GREAT fun!! Even our own, Erika, got up on stage and sang for us! :)

Saturday

The dreaded ride home … I definitely didn’t want to leave TN yet! But I am eager to get things ready for the end of the semester. It dawned on me Sunday evening that I’M ABOUT TO GRADUATE!!! But as long as I get into the Temerlin Graduate Program I’ll be attending another ASB for two more years! :)

What did I take away from my trip to TN?

• Friends
• Memories
• Giving to others
• TONS of photos!

Si-yo until next time!

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