Canton Service Trip: Best Spring Break Ever!

Maureen Schick, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

On the recent spring break 20 NDA students embarked on the annual service trip to Canton, Mississippi. There they worked with an organization called MadCAAP, who organized work projects for their group to accomplish.

The group of 20 split into two different work teams, one going to a house working on reconstruction and the other group going to MadCAAP’s community garden. The five guys on the trip, along with Campus Minister Dan Krieg,l would wake early in the morning and make the group their lunches for the day. Depending on the amount of work completed, they normally finished work on their projects around 4 p.m..

During their experience, they encountered a few challenges they had to work around.  At the house, junior Nick Robinson and senior John Lehman were in charge of putting new support beams under the house. To try to find a way to get a jack not to go straight through the rotting support beams was one of the challenges that kept resurfacing as the day went on. Lehman also ended up falling through the ceiling at one point.

Andrea Ball and Veronica Letter also had a challenging job of installing new windows, which required them to hammer many nails through a sheet of metal into the wood. Lehman recalls that he remembered hearing them cheer when they put up one window and thinking “what’s the big deal.”

However, when all five guys offered to help and not one of them could get the nail in, Lehman said, “It was not only embarrassing, but it was very cool to see the determination that these ladies had to finish the job they were assigned.”

When the Canton participants returned, they had nothing but countless memories and stories to share about their time in Mississippi. Lehman explained that the trip to Canton was an experience that he will personally never forget.

“The rush of emotion that I encountered on the second night down there is something that I could never put the words together to explain,” he said. As the week went on, he said, everyone on the trip became really close.

Many of the participants also enjoyed seeing the reactions of the ones they helped during their time there. The people at MadCAAP were so happy they came down to help, and it made them realize that even the smallest amount of service has a major impact.

The people in the city around them impressed them as being genuine and helpful. Junior Andrea Ball explained that “there was a policeman that saw us working in the garden and asked if he could help us. He had never volunteered there before; he just saw us and wanted to help too.”

She said there were countless other individuals just like that man as well. “They are the examples of not only true service, but true happiness.”

The service trip opened many of the participants’ eyes to extreme poverty and what can be done to end it. However, Ball explained that service was not all this trip was about. “I realized how self-centered I was. I was only aware of what was happening in my life, not the millions of people that live in extreme poverty.”

That lesson was brought back to Green Bay by the Canton participants to be shared with the NDA community.

“Overall,” Ball said, “people just need to go. It is not glamorous or relaxing, but it honestly brought me more joy and happiness than any other spring break trip so far. The memories you make and the people you meet change you.”