WHAT WILL I LEARN?
Designed as a service and leadership learning experience, Service TREK gives you the opportunity to enhance self-awareness and further develop your understanding of service, leadership, social justice, and civic-mindedness. Working as an integral member of a group, you will develop important skills, including teamwork, leadership, and communication.
You will also meet and talk with the people who benefit from your service so that you understand the context in which your service occurs. Group journals, local trips, and evening discussions around the dinner table or under the stars give TREKKIES a chance to process their experiences. You will also learn about what it means to become part of the UVM community.
WHAT TRIPS ARE AVAILABLE?
Better Burlington explores and serves a variety of community service agencies in the Burlington, Vermont area. Past projects have included help with food distribution and storage, gardening, and building beautification at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the UVM Campus Kitchen, ReSource, the Nature Conservatory, the Invervale, CEDO, and other agencies.
TREKKIES who work with the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) will do projects such as bridge construction, trail maintenance, or clearing a new section of the Catamount Trail, a 300-mile, cross-country ski trail that spans the state of Vermont. Students should have at least some outdoor experience in hiking and have a basic level of fitness. A usual day on the trail includes hiking 1-2 miles into the woods with gear for the day. Students will also be camping at a local state park.
The Catamount Trail Association (CTA) was incorporated in 1984 and is a member-supported, non-profit organization with the purpose of building, maintaining and protecting the Catamount Trail as a public resource, and furthering cross-country skiing in the state. The trail now starts in Readsboro on the Massachusetts border, winds its way through the heart of the Green Mountains, and ends in North Troy on the Canadian border.
Along the way, it offers a unique opportunity to ski or snowshoe in Vermont’s backwoods during the winter. TREKKIES will camp in the natural beauty of the Green Mountains where they will learn about the valuable natural resources and environmental concerns of Vermont’s wilderness.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat TREKKIES will help build a home for a family with Burlington’s local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, the Green Mountain chapter. Habitat for Humanity is an international organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing from the world and building decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action. TREKKIES will work as a team with other students, community members, and a family to help construct a Habitat for Humanity house as well as provide assistance in the Habitat ReStore. Training will be provided, and an on-site construction manager will supervise the volunteers. Prior construction experience is not necessary.
This crew of 8 TREKKIES and 2 experienced student leaders will explore the Vermont animal rescue world by working with organizations that work directly in animal welfare. In the past, the group has worked with organizations that rescue domestic animals, rescue and release wild birds, connect animals therapeutically to people in need, and give greyhound dogs a second life in comfort. This trip is for animal lovers and will take TREKKIES to a variety of really cool animal-focused organizations around Vermont.
TREKKIES will live and work at a Vermont State Park for a week, working side by side with rangers and conservation crew staff, to help maintain the public facilities, trails, and other projects in the park. The State Park trip allows TREKKIES to learn about the value of public land, valuable natural resources, and environmental concerns and access to Vermont's wilderness. Like the Catamount Crew new students should have at least some outdoor experience in hiking and have a basic level of fitness. A usual day on at the state park could include hiking 1-2 miles into the woods with gear for the day. Students will also be camping at the state park.
FARM & FOOD SECURITY
TREKKIES will work with a variety of agencies throughout Central Vermont dedicated to promoting food security and feeding folks in need. This trip explores all aspects of the "food safety net" including work at feeding and food distribution sites, and at farms gleaning produce to serve folks in need. Past service sites have included the Vermont Food Bank and Salvation Farms.
WHAT’S A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SERVICE TREK LIKE?
- Early breakfast (by 8 a.m.) and departure for the service site.
- Full work day with a lunch break for relaxation and re-energizing.
- Depending on the day and site, TREKKIES will be joined by other volunteers not affiliated with the TREK program.
- Evenings include preparing dinner together, reflecting on the day, exploring Vermont and hanging out.
- Evening activities help you get to know one another, learn about the local community, and understand the impact of your service on your host agency.
WHY SHOULD I GO ON SERVICE TREK?
- Great opportunity to meet fellow new first-year students.
- Chance to learn about ways to get involved at UVM.
- Amazing environment (Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, Central Vermont and Burlington).
- Get settled in your new home before the chaos of Opening Weekend.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
- Good attitude about meeting new people.
- Willingness to try new things.
- Gear/equipment that will be defined once you are accepted on TREK (i.e., sleeping bag, water bottle, etc.).
- NO prior wilderness or outdoor experience is necessary.