A group of more than 30 students and staff members from Bradley’s Campus Outreach went to Panama City Beach (PCB) during spring break for four days.
The purpose of the trip was to share our faith and talk with other students. During the day, it was very relaxed and easygoing. If the weather permitted, most people from the group went out on the beach, either laying out or playing beach volleyball. We stayed at a hotel on the western part of PCB, right on the beach.
After getting dinner and coming back to the hotel for some praise and worship, people split up into groups and went out to talk with people.
I spent my nights talking with people outside the clubs, sharing my faith and getting to know other students.
It was such an awesome experience meeting people from all over the country: Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee and even my hometown of Milwaukee!
The group left on Wednesday morning and made the 17 hour trek back to Peoria.
It was bittersweet to leave, knowing we most likely won’t see some of these people again after building relationships.
I was most surprised at how close I became with the other Bradley students I came down with. Being stuck in a van for that long can really bring people close together by playing games and talking; it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.
– David Jorgenson, Freshman sports communication and political science major
During Spring Break, 43 Bradley students participated on the Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF) trip. Over nine days, we visited five states and did service projects at each site.
Our first service project Saturday morning was in Springfield, Mo., where we did landscaping work at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store site.
Later that day, we traveled on to Stillwater, Okla. While in Stillwater, our group split up to do various projects at the Payne County Home for Youth Services. The home is a place for youths who, for a variety of reasons, cannot live with their families any longer, but have not been placed in foster homes. We painted, reorganized their craft supplies, and cleaned their pantry.
The next day we were in Amarillo, TX, where we stayed and volunteered the Boys and Girls Club. After leaving Amarillo, we headed to Albuquerque, N.M. In Albuquerque, half of our group volunteered at Casa Esperanza and the other half volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. Projects at both sites consisted of kitchen cleaning, washing and reorganizing toys in the play-room, yard work and carpet cleaning.
Our next project was in Monticello, UT, where we worked to create mountain biking trials to help bring in tourism to the city, in order to better support the local economy.
Our last volunteer stop was in Salt Lake City, UT, where we met with several other STLF groups from different schools. We all worked together to pick up trash along the highways. While in Salt Lake City, we had the opportunity to be tourists for the afternoon, and were given the choice of going to shop and sight see in downtown Salt Lake and tour the Mormon Temple, or to visit Antelope Island State Park and hike and swim around the actual Salt Lake.
While STLF sells itself as an opportunity for students to have fun while serving different communities, it is much more than just service. The biggest thing I have walked away with after this trip is personal growth and the close relationships I have made with others. It’s impossible to describe the deep connections I have made with 42 “strangers” after just nine days, but one must try it to believe it! STLF is definitely an experience of a lifetime!
– Audrey Long, Senior psychology major, and Hayley Dryoel, Senior nursing major
Habitat for Humanity
Bradley University Habitat for Humanity traveled to Houston, TX, for the week of spring break. This trip has been offered to Bradley students for about five years now and has become more and more successful every year.
For the first two days of volunteering, we deconstructed a $1.3 million house that had been donated to be scrapped for its various parts, wiring and piping. This way, valuable and reusable materials are kept out of landfills and sold for a profit which is then used to provide housing for the less fortunate.
The third and fourth day of volunteering entailed working in a neighborhood of all Habitat for Humanity builds for families who go through the rigorous applications for a house. There we worked with professionals, volunteers and the future homeowners themselves to roof, side, paint, landscape and virtually all other aspects of building a home.
On the last day, we volunteered at the Re-Store, similar to the one that is just down Main Street from campus. There we helped organize a multitude of household items all the way from doors and doorknobs to full kitchen cabinetry and appliances. These are either directly donated or taken from the donated houses such as the one we worked on at the beginning of the week.
After the volunteering was over, we were able to experience many of Houston’s various attractions and restaurants, as well as making it out to Galveston Beach!
The ability to give back and also have a fun time on my spring break is what keeps me coming back to these types of trips. It also brings you close to people you may have never met had you not put yourself out there like this.
– Landon Pillsbury, Senior health science major
FOCUS Mission Trip
During spring break, I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a mission trip to Lima, Peru with a few members of Bradley’s chapter of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).
While in Lima I was able to tour the city, meet many of the people and help build a home for a woman who had just recently lost hers.
Even though I was only there for a week, I fell so much in love with everything about Lima from its culture to its people. The trip strengthened my love for Christ even more than I could have ever imagined and changed my life in uncountable ways.
I am so blessed to have had this opportunity and I encourage everyone to attend a mission trip, because it is truly a rewarding and eye opening experience. I miss everyone from Lima and everyone who attended the trip with me terribly, and I hope to someday, in the near future, travel back to visit and do more mission work.
– Maddie Conley, Sophomore social work major