Activities may include serving in a meal program for the homeless, working on a Habitat for Humanity construction project, helping with a summer program for local refugee children, or performing environmental service work. Most OA groups stay together in a community center or church “camping inside” in the area where they are volunteering.
Tradewinds at Upstate Cerebral Palsy is a residential community and education center in Rome, NY (20 minutes from Hamilton) that creates an enriching environment for individuals with behavioral or developmental disabilities. On the Best Buddies trip, we will have the opportunity to engage with Tradewinds residents, joining them in day-to-day activities and building relationships. UCP is a special place for our group and there are opportunities to return to visit and further build on the connections made during the trip. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore Rome and Utica, meet with other OA trips in the area, and sample a local Italian restaurant. Camping indoors at a local church.
Upstate New York is home to many farms that aim to provide fresh, healthy food to their communities. On this trip we have the opportunity to lighten the load for the farmers who work so hard to practice sustainable and earth-healthy techniques as well as learn about organic farming. This year, the trip will tour two farms in the surrounding area and visit Tom's Natural Foods in Clinton, which sources products from many local farms and bakers. We'll then travel north to volunteer at Maris Farms, which works to provide vegetables and flowers to local veterans and their families. We'll then visit and work at Cross Island Farm, which provides economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable foods to Thousand Island residents. We'll also experience their "Edible Forest" and learn about permaculture. This trip will have a chance to sample local foods and enjoy camping at two beautiful state parks.
Home to around 14,000 refugees from all over the world, Utica gained its reputation as the 'town that loves refugees.' Hamilton's close proximity to Utica allows us to actively volunteer in the local refugee community. Our activities include tutoring at BOCES, visiting the Bosnian Islamic Association and attending a naturalization ceremony. Indoor camping takes place in an area community center or church.
Service Smorgasbord is an OA trip that has something for everyone. The trip runs out of Utica, and includes doing direct service in the city. The trip also ventures out of Utica for more service at local farms, assisted living facilities, and last year we went to Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Overall the trip exposes new first years to all the different kinds of service that Hamilton facilitates, and the many options and experiences that are accessible to them in the surrounding community.
Students will perform environmental service work in the beautiful Tupper Lake area in the Adirondacks while learning about its history and visiting one of the Great Camps. Tasks may include trail-building, landscaping, outdoor clean-up, painting, and the like. Short, low-level hikes will be included. This trip will camp outdoors at the "base camp" with 5 Adirondack Adventure trips, which will be a great opportunity to meet other new students and enjoy the outdoors.
Trip participants will work with Utica youth (elementary to middle school) who are part of the area's large refugee community, creating day-camp type activities (crafts, music, sports) on one of the days at an area church, and then accompanying the kids to the church’s beautiful retreat center on the second day. There will also be an opportunity to visit the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and participate in a conversation class with adult refugees from Myanmar, Somalia, and other parts of the world. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
The Cornhill neighborhood in nearby Utica, NY is home to several human service agencies: Hope House, a free meal program for the homeless and hungry; Emmaus House, a shelter for women and their children; and others. Participants will do volunteer projects at several of these agencies and also take some time to explore Utica, home to a large and diverse refugee population. Participants will "camp" indoors at a historic church and will have an opportunity to gather with other OA groups and enjoy a dinner out at one of Utica's many diverse restaurants.