MATT DEL BUSTO | STAFF REPORTER
The YMCA service trip is set to leave for Jamaica on Friday, March 4. The group will go to Mandeville, Jamaica where they will stay at a local camp.
Luke Gallion, senior chemistry major and trip attendee, has been on the trip with the YMCA twice and spent six weeks in Jamaica last summer.
“I really enjoy going over there,” he said. “I completely unplug, so I don’t have to worry about schoolwork or any of the stresses that are going on in my life over here. It’s also a great way to meet friends who are service-oriented and just really care about the global community.”
Amanda Moore is the advisor for the Butler YMCA. She said while in Jamaica, they work at the Hanbury Home for Children, which is an orphanage run by Salvation Army. She said there is time for the students to play with the kids, make arts and crafts, play sports and just talk to them and hear a little bit about their lives and the conditions in which they live.
Gallion said his most memorable experience involves the Hanbury Home.
“There was one particular child at the orphanage Hanbury Home that I bonded with throughout the week and on the last day that we [were] there…he and I were hanging out and I was giving him a piggyback ride and they said, ‘ok, it’s time to go,’” he said. “He [is] still on my back and I [am] walking over to the bus and I can feel him crying on my back and it was kind of at that instant that I realized what an impact I had had.”
Caysi Johnson is a sophomore strategic communications major and the vice president for the intercollegiate YMCA. She said she got bit by the service bug after doing a fall alternative break trip. This spring break, she will going on the alternative spring break trip to Jamaica for the first time.
“I’m really excited to meet the kids because that’s a big part of the trip,” she said. “I’ve heard such great things…so I’m really excited to meet them. I’ve never been out of the country, so I’m really excited to be out of the country too.”
The group will build a playground with an organization called Youth with a Mission. Every night during the trip, the students will have reflections and time together at the camp. She said there is no cell reception where the camp is located.
“They have to be comfortable with silence and engaging each other and having actual conversations,” Moore said. “They can just disconnect from the world.”