But there’s a catch: we only get one shower during the trip, and only pack a sheet, towel, rain jacket, one t-shirt, and one pair of shorts for the whole sweaty, hot week. As a seventh grader, this limited packing list daunted me. But now with two trips under my belt, I love the empathy and authenticity that leaving behind these material comforts invites. Along with stepping out of my material comfort zone, the outreach-focused nature of the trip has challenged and fundamentally changed me each year. Putting a name and face to statistics of drug abuse, poverty, homelessness, hunger, and human trafficking has changed the way I interact with the world.
A typical day on Senior High starts at about 6am when we wake up on the floor of a school gym, church sanctuary, or Salvation Army Center. Our morning routine is delightfully simple- no pajamas to change out of and no bed to make. One team of ten youth prepares breakfast, and we all pack bagged peanut butter sandwiches into our backpacks for lunch on the go. From there, we have a quick time of worship and devotions before splitting into our teams and heading off to our projects.