Spring Break. What do those words bring to mind? Are you thinking of sand? Of sun, or fun times, and partying? That is likely what comes to many of our minds. Those very images in your mind are the reality of thousands of college students right now who are on spring break this week.
Not all students on spring break are enjoying the sand and sun though. Students from many universities are experiencing an Alternative Spring Break in connection with Break Away, a non-profit organization. The vision of Break Away is
a society of active citizens: people who value the community as a priority when making life decisions. As part of a quality Break Away experience, participants will become more educated and experienced in all sides of a social issue. Upon return, they will be empowered to make more informed decisions and take meaningful action that supports a greater good. They will become contributing members of society and will weigh in on issues that impact their communities.
This week a group of students from The University of Maryland came to Huntington for their spring break. The group will be volunteering at various organizations in the area. Wednesday was slated for helping The Wild Ramp. The group was split into three smaller groups to help in different areas. In the morning they were given a choice. Would you like to help at the store, an organic vegetable farm, or an animal farm? That was all the information they were given about what their day would entail. My farm was the animal farm among the choices.
There are always projects to work on at the farm, and we had several in mind. Unfortunately, the weather was not co-operating for some of the projects on that list. The project of the day became cleaning out the barn. Yes, it involved manure. It also involved removing a temporary fence and hiking the fence posts and fence up the hill. In other words, it was a lot of muscle intensive heavy labor. Those poor girls had no idea what they had signed up for.
But they pitched in and worked hard with no complaining, which is more than I can say for the farm kids who live here.
They did get a chance to enjoy the animals too. We visited all the animals. They held two day old chicks, and played with our new puppy. They asked questions about chickens, and were impressed with how big the pigs get. It was a good day, and their help was much appreciated.
Stephanie Appleton is a small farmer in the hills of West Virginia. Find more of her family’s adventures at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.