STUDENTS REFLECT ON SSP TRIPS
California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, Ireland, Mexico and the Netherlands. These places don’t have much in common, except for the fact that Northwestern students and staff all traveled there over spring break.
Students traveled domestically and internationally to meet new people in different communities, repair houses, play with kids, visit prisons, shovel snow and more as part of SSP’s More than 200 students, faculty and staff traveled over break and came back with new stories and experiences (and some sunburns.)
Rockport, Texas was one domestic site visited over break, and was one of two Texas locations. Two resident directors, Lindsay Hubbell of Fern-Smith Hall and Michael Simmelink of Hospers Hall were the faculty leaders on the Rockport trip. The group’s work mostly focused on working on houses, in the areas of destroying, fixing and building; the group also met people in the community whose houses they were working on.
“We demoed stuff. We built stuff. We demoed stuff. We built stuff” Simmelink said. “We got pulled over by the cops. We got some sun. We built relationships that will continue to grow moving forward. We loved those in Refugio County. We loved each other.”
Senior Sam Callahan led the trip to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The group stayed in a hostel, housing guests from all over the world and interacted with the guests to develop relationships and share their faith. Callahan also traveled to Amsterdam last spring break and decided to go back this year to lead the trip.
He enjoyed making his team uncomfortable by giving them each a personal challenge to step out in their faith.
“I got to watch each member of the team grow in huge ways, and it all came from their willingness to step up to the plate and take on the challenges that were put in front of them,” Callahan said.
One international trip had a slight hiccup two weeks before the team was scheduled to leave. A team of 13 was planning to travel to Haiti, but the trip was called off due to heightened political tension and danger. The Haiti team decided to merge with the team traveling to Mexico to create a mega-group.
Group members described how first it was hard and stressful to change plans two weeks before leaving, but the trip ended up working out.
The team had the opportunity to work on so many more projects in Mexico to help the community, and the kids in the area had a lot more people to play with. The living quarters were extremely cramped, and team members had to figure out how to split a big group up into daily projects, but they also got to develop so many more relationships. Many group members reflected on their trip on the last night spent in Mexico and realized they wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on all the experiences and people met down there.