Breaking it down: RLC Trips offer time for reflection, service across the country

by Danielle WallingStaff Writer

While some students will be basking in the sun over spring break, others will be taking a different approach. Groups of 10 people will be heading to one of five destinations on service trips sponsored by the Religious Life Community.

According to Kasey Peters, chapel intern of service, the trips are an excellent way to spend a spring break.

“It gives students an opportunity to get as much out of spring break as possible,” Peters said.

These RLC trips will be taking place all over the country. One group will be going to a church camp in Tennessee while a theme trip focusing on civil rights will take place at the University of Alabama.

Another trip will head to Texas and Mexico to build houses, while another group will go to a monastery in Dubuque.

Finally, there will be a surprise trip as well. The surprise trip is a new idea this year and was actually requested by students.

“Students won’t know where they’re going until they leave,” Peters said. “They are only told what to bring.”

Some of the trips, like the Texas/Mexico trip, have been done in the past and have worked really well.

Most of the trips last the entire spring break and are designed to give students the opportunity to serve others, learn about current social issues, and give the opportunity to learn about citizenship and themselves.

Students are expected to do a variety of things. Along with the service they are all there to provide, there is also reflection time each day. Reverend Angela Gafford-Asmus, chaplain and director of Religious Life Community, believes that the reflection time is very valuable because it gives students a chance to talk about everything they have seen and experienced that day.

Senior Courtney Swanson has been on three RLC trips and will be going on another trip this spring break. She also believes the reflection time is very valuable to students.

“The reflection time is really cool,” Swanson said. “Students have to be able to talk about the things they have done and seen.”

Along with the service and reflection time, students are also given one day in the city they are in to experience the culture.

“If you’re going to give up a week to serve others on spring break, it is ok to take a break and have a little fun,” Gafford-Asmus said.

These trips are not new to the campus community. They have been going on for at least 10 years. However, the trips have been growing in popularity the last couple of years.

“People were here at 5 a.m. to sign up,” Gafford-Asmus said.

Overall, the trips provide students with an opportunity to do something for others and get to know the world around them.

Gafford-Asmus thinks it is important that there are several trip options so students can experience different parts of the country and different types of service.

According to Swanson, these trips are not just beneficial to students.

“The trips have changed who students are when they come back,” Swanson states. “This is beneficial to students and the Simpson College community.”