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For the past four years, Black Hills State University students have traveled around the country to volunteer their time and energy improving communities in need, from rebuilding houses in New Orleans to planting trees in Seattle. This year, the BHSU Office of Civic Engagement is planning a trip to the California Redwoods. The 21 students and their advisor will work with children at Camp Campbell, a YMCA camp near Boulder Creek, Calif.

Students from BHSU will be serving as cabin leaders for the camp’s Outdoor Science School, a science and nature education program for fifth and sixth grade students. The cabin leaders will supervise and mentor students throughout the week as they participate in educational hikes, outdoor labs, and other various activities. The student participants will learn about issues such as leadership, mentoring, and our natural world. The knowledge and practices learned will be brought back to South Dakota and used to improve and maintain our local community.

“As a former participant of this program, I know that this trip has the potential to be life-changing,” said Richard Raridon, the volunteer coordinator at BHSU and the group’s advisor. “Not only is this a great opportunity for the students to gain experiential education, but I think it will benefit the Spearfish community as well. This year, in addition to the trip, students will be required to participate in a local pre-trip and post-trip community service project.”

Fundraising efforts are now underway for the travel expenses, which present a significant cost to the students. The participants will pay for all expenses that are not otherwise funded.  If you are interested in supporting the Alternative Spring Break team, donations can be sent to the BHSU Office of Civic Engagement, 1200 University Street, Unit 9035, Spearfish, SD 57799.  All donations are tax deductible, and checks can be written to the BHSU Foundation.

For additional information, contact Richard Raridon at 642-6471 or RichardRaridon@BHSU.edu.