Land managers, volunteer coordinators, trail and park organizations…we want to send you hardworking and dedicated college students to help build, maintain, and restore your trails, through American Hiking Society’s Alternative Break Program. As students head back to their respective colleges and universities in the upcoming months, many of them will begin planning their winter, spring, and summer break trips for 2016! Many students will choose to spend their break giving back on an Alternative Break- stewardship trips for college students that emphasize giving back to charitable organizations.
Our alternative breaks are similar to our Volunteer Vacations in that they are trail building and maintenance projects organized by American Hiking Society and hosted by land managers and nonprofit partner groups across the country. Trips are 1-week, generally running Sunday – Saturday. Most students are new to trail work and many have never camped before. Because of this, most of our trips involve day hiking less than 5 miles per day (no backpacking) and most provide indoor accommodations. Most students are active and up for a challenge, but given their inexperience, projects should be rated moderate and supervision should be provided on the trail.
Most alternative breaks will occur during the college spring break period (late February to mid-April), but some groups will be interested in winter/summer break.
As hosts, we ask that you provide tools and safety gear, camping/lodging accommodations, group cooking supplies, and supervision for the volunteers on the trail. These trips will also require communication between you, AHS and the leader of the student group in advance of the trip. AHS will handle all the marketing related to your trip and most communications with the students leading up to the trip. Please review the Alternative Break Host Guide 2016 so you can better understand the roles and responsibilities of our hosts.
More than 130 students participated in the 2015 Alternative Break Program with American Hiking. Increasing that number will both support your trail maintenance efforts and will develop and train a younger generation to become stewards of America’s public lands. Alternative Break crews are very enthusiastic and can be great assets to help with your trail maintenance needs before the busy summer months begin.
To request an alternative break crew for 2016, please fill out 2016 Alternative Break Crew Request online. (You will need to complete the form in one session and cannot save your work mid-way through. Please see the form’s questions here, AB Crew Request Form Questions, and prepare answers prior to filling out the online form.) In September we will market these trips to our network of college/university outdoor recreation and service groups. Registration is open to groups only, so individual students cannot sign up for these trips. As interest arises, I will contact you if I need further details or to confirm a school’s interest.
The due date for Alternative Break requests is August 28, 2015.
Please note that submitting this form does not guarantee that you will have an alternative break crew for the coming year. This application is ONLY for Alternative Break. I will begin to accept crew requests for the regular 2016 Volunteer Vacations schedule in August.
If you need further information about requesting an Alternative Break crew, please contact
Libby Wile at LWile@americahiking.org or call 800-972-8608 ext. 704.