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.
Do you think the arts are vital to our communities? Would you enjoy helping arts organizations further their work? Many of our local arts organizations are understaffed and underfunded, and they need our energy and imagination! This trip will travel to a variety of visual and performing arts spaces (Players Theater of Utica, Sculpture Space, and others) to help them prepare for successful seasons and complete back-burner projects. Participants will get a chance to explore the nearby city of Utica, home to a large refugee population, multiple ethnic restaurants (we'll have a dinner out!), and a beautiful art museum. In addition, we will mingle with several other OA and XA trips, which will make for some great social gatherings throughout the week.
Best Buddies at Pathfinder
Pathfinder Village is a residential community in Edmeston, NY (45 minutes from Hamilton) that creates a enriching environment for individuals with Down syndrome. On the Best Buddies at Pathfinder Village trip, we had the opportunity to work, play, sing, and dance alongside Pathfinder's residents, joining in them in activities like outdoor carnival games, Zumba, making and riding Strider Bikes, a live concert, a beach-themed "coffee house" party, and much more. Pathfinder continues to be a special place for our group as all of us have gone back to visit and further build on the connections we have made since our trip.
Community Building in Cornhill
The Cornhill area of Utica is home to a large number of low-income children and adults, but thanks to the work of agencies such as Johnson Park Center, it’s now a thriving place of positive change with youth mentoring and tutoring programs, transitional housing for homeless families, job-training and placement for women, including ex-offenders. In Cornhill, we will be helping with various programs including helping the agency prepare for their annual “Say No to Drugs Party,” working in their food pantry, and general housing and neighborhood beautification projects. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
Upstate New York is home to many farms that aim to provide fresh, healthy food to their community. 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. In past years we have worked to restore Hamilton College's 1812 garden, which contains plants commonly utilized for medicinal practices in the 1800s, Down Dog Farm, a farm that provides community farm shares and focuses on improving a persons wellbeing (including yoga!), Maris Farms, which works to provide vegetables and flowers to veterans and their families, and Cross Island Farm, which works to create an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable farm, including an "Edible Forest". This trip visits the Adirondacks and the Thousand Islands and camps in state parks.
This construction-minded service experience is a chance to help build a house for a family looking to break into the often elusive world of home-ownership, or to renovate a home for a low-income family or individual. We could be putting up drywall, painting, landscaping, roofing...who can say? There may also be other small construction projects at different area non-profits. Indoor camping in an area community center or church.
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.
Serving the Environment
Students will perform environmental service work in the beautiful 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. Outdoor camping.
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.