An alternative spring break: cadets take leadership to New York
Spring break doesn’t usually conjure an image of students cleaning trash from flower beds, shoveling topsoil or planting cherry trees in a New York City park, but that’s exactly how seven Citadel cadets spent their break last week. The trip, which was modeled after the nationwide Alternative Spring Break Program, a service-learning initiative that places college students in volunteer activities, gave cadets an opportunity to make a difference while putting their leadership skills to practical use.
Cadets Ryan Adams, Anthony Garcia, Russ Isham, Noah Koubenec, Robert Palmer, Marttin Periola and John Weddington along with Kimi Parkhill, a S.C. campus compact for AmeriCorp at The Citadel, participated in the alternative spring break.
Before the trip, Adams, Koubenec and Periola were trained in team building exercises and dynamics through in a service learning training exercise sponsored by the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics. The training, which lasted three days, took place on Johns Island and was led by Community Service leaders from the College of Charleston.
The three team leaders organized the volunteer initiative with the New York Parks Service, recruited classmates to participate and made the travel arrangements. The volunteer expedition is the prototype for future cadet excursions.
“We plan on taking everything we have learned from this trip to facilitate later volunteer activities,” said Periola. “We hope that what we succeeded in doing this year will bring in more cadets in the years to come.”
Seward Park, which is located in a neighborhood on the Lower East Side of New York City, was originally built more than 100 years ago through the efforts of the Outdoor Recreation League to promote organized games in public playgrounds as an alternative to play in city streets. Thanks to the work of seven Citadel cadets the park will continue to be a hotspot for neighborhood children.