This past fall, I spent a semester in Colorado at HMI. An important part of HMI’s emphasis on outdoor education is teaching us the LNT principles and how to reduce our impact while hiking and living in the outdoors. During one of our 18 day backpacking trips, we volunteered with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI). CFI works to reduce the impact of human foot traffic on the Colorado Fourteeners by building trails and markers to these trails. For 3 days, we base camped with CFI and helped them build the trail up Mt. Huron. We worked together to carry boulders using a net and chop down dead trees. We also dug massive holes in the woods so that we could put the dirt from those holes onto the trail, to make the dirt more firmly packed and thus reduce the impact of runoff during storms. This experience was impactful, as I learned about the hard work it takes to maintain trails. Through downpours, wind, and thunder, we kept working to preserve this trail. This experience made me grateful to initiatives like CFI, for without their work, many trails wouldn’t exist.
Earlier, I volunteered to assist the physical education department. I got to interact with a class of first and fifth graders and help them organize their game of kickball. I also was able to help set up a dodgeball game for a third grade class. This was a really interesting experience because I got to spend time with lower schoolers and talk to them.
For service day, the tenth grade traveled to Westchester to volunteer for an organization called AFYA. We went to AFYA’s wear house and helped other volunteers sort medical materials that were to be sent to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief. We sorted materials that were deemed useless by the US medical standard (though they still would greatly benefit those in desperate need) and packaged them into ziplock bags. We also labeled these bags with the name and expiration dates of the materials they contained. This experience was made especially meaningful when AFYA’s coordinator reminded us that our hands would be the last ones touching the materials before they were to be used in hospitals to provide relief.