Students dedicate their time towards Mizzou Alternative Breaks

Senior Tyler Parton said MAB allows for people to learn about vulnerability and make lifelong relationships.

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Mizzou Alternative Break Trips are quickly approaching. This volunteer opportunity, which is very popular among students, has its first in-state trip coming up in November. The program is focused on serving the Missouri community during their weekend trips that happen twice a year. More trips also occur over Thanksgiving, winter, spring and summer breaks and have traveled everywhere from Austin, Texas to Nicaragua.

These trips could not happen without the time and support of the student site leaders, who are students who have gone on Mizzou Alternative Breaks before as participants and wanted to continue their experience by working on the team as leaders.

Sophomore Taylor Bourland and senior Tyler Parton are two site leaders paired together for one of the spring break trips coming up in 2019. The two are eager for their trip to begin and cannot wait to meet the students that will be joining them.

This will be Bourland’s second MAB trip and Parton’s fourth. They both shared some of their favorite MAB memories as well as excitement for the future trip they are leading. Tyler talked about what made him interested in becoming a site leader in the first place.

“I hadn't done anything remotely as immersive and service-oriented as MAB before coming to college, so going on my first trip was honestly a life changing experience,” Parton said. “I was initially disappointed that I got placed on a Habitat trip since I didn't preference that, but obviously since I'm going on my third Habitat trip, it had a huge impact on me. The amount of memories and bonds I have from that trip are countless. So the experience is really what made me want to go on to be a site leader— being an integral planning member for the trip just adds another layer of experience that you won't get anywhere else.”

Bourland also believes her past experience is what made her interested in applying to be a site leader and talks about her favorite parts of her past trip.

“My favorite memory from the MAB trip is honestly just the people,” Bourland said. “It’s being able to talk to the people in your group because you spend so much time with the other participants whether it be in the car or while doing actual service and just getting to know them.”

As exciting as being a site leader is, Parton says that being in charge of everything can be nerve-wracking.

“The most difficult part of leading a trip is that you are responsible for a lot of moving parts— from budgets to service sites to 10 other college students, it's a lot to think about all at once,” Parton said. “That being said, I think that high-stress experiences like that teach you a lot about leadership and handling a lot of situations you'll face later in life.”

Bourland’s main concern with leading a trip is scheduling.

“I’m most nervous about things going as planned,” Bourland said. “A lot of times traveling with such a big group, you can plan and organize ahead of time. You won’t really know what’s going on until you’re really on the road. Things you don’t plan for can always happen.”

Both Parton and Bourland are excited to serve fellow peers at their MAB destination, and they hold Mizzou Alternative Breaks close to their hearts. Parton says it’s all about putting yourself out there and trying something new.

“Get out of your comfort zone,” Parton said. “Go on a trip that you aren't sure about. During the meetings, don't be afraid to put yourself out there in front of your other participants. In my opinion, vulnerability is basically one of the unspoken principles of MAB — the sooner you put yourself out there to the people around you, the sooner you're going to experience the magic of MAB and make these lifelong relationships.”

Edited by Siena DeBolt | sdebolt@themaneater.com

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