10 Reasons To Go On An Alternative Spring Break

Unless you’ve been living under a conch shell, you know that outdoor advocacy and protecting our public lands has been slightly more top-of-mind than usual. All politics aside, we all want our lands to stay pristine for future generations to enjoy.

And since there’s no magical trail fairy to take care of the land, that’s where you come in, young, vibrant, enthusiastic, energetic college kids.

American Hiking Society has Alternative Breaks—volunteer trail stewardship projects in America’s parks and forests designed specifically for college student groups. Part volunteer work project, part kick-back outdoor vacation. What that means is that you can gather up some of your best buddies, choose a destination, and spend a week working, hiking, exploring, relaxing, and giving back to the outdoors community.

“But Menasha, I don’t want to work my entire vacation! I want to relax!”

Don’t fear—these aren’t your backyard-trail-maintenance sort of trips, either. You can still lie on the beach at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, climb the sandstone cliffs at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Illinois, or hike the Appalachian Trail at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in Virginia. Check out all the options here.

If you’re still not quite sold, here are 10 very solid, very valid reasons why you should do an Alternative Break.

1. Instagram called and they want their genuine feed back. Less staged relaxation, more action. Less sand, more dirt. Less shots, more shovels.

2. It’s hip to be involved in a cause bigger than yourself. It’s cool to give back. It’s rad to be radical about the type of vacation you choose.

3. You know what gets likes both online and in real life? Trail work. You know what earns you all the pizza and s’mores you can stomach? Trail work. You know what earns you brownie points with Mother Nature? Trail work.

4. You won’t have to worry about fitting in workouts during your break—every day will get your blood pumping!

5. You will impress that guy or girl in your Accounting 101 class with your philanthropic heart.

6. You will feel accomplished knowing your week of work will result in years of enjoyment for others.

7. Two words—Ben & Jerry’s. (Should you choose the Vermont trip).

8. American Hiking Society will be forever grateful, and may even share your photo to their massive social media following (Hello, stardom!).

9. Experience an amazing sense of accomplishment after building a bridge or restoring a neglected trail.

10. Make new friends and share laughter over a campfire.  Connect with the land. Experience nature first-hand. Spend your break doing something that makes a lasting difference.

For more information about Alternative Break, check out the American Hiking Society site or contact Libby Wile at LWile@AmericanHiking.org.

Tanya Twerdowsky
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