Mrs. Lori Spanbauer has wanted to take Marian students on a service trip since she was hugely impacted by a service trip she took to South Dakota three years ago. This June, with the help of a student, the Theology teacher did just that.
While chaperoning a Washburn Leadership Conference last February, Spanbauer and senior Maggie Reding got the ball rolling by discussing service trips. Reding mentioned her desire to go on a domestic U.S. service trip through Marian, and Spanbauer knew that it was time to put her plan into action.
“She had such a passion for it that I decided right then that God was nudging me, through Maggie, to organize a trip to Winnebago as soon as possible,” Spanbauer said.
This summer, Spanbauer, Reding, and five other Marian students embarked on their journey to Winnebago, which is about 45 miles north of Omaha.
Most of the comforts of home were left behind, such as cell phones and Diet Coke. The group kept themselves busy by doing service daily, praying and preparing the reservation site for their annual pow wow. Mrs. Susie Sullivan joined the girls and helped with service work on Wednesday. Junior Kirsten Meyer says her favorite part of the Winnebago trip was working at the service sites.
“[Senior] Claire Crockett and I painted a ramp that everyone in the pow wow enters through. It hadn’t been painted in five years and it was really cool to continue that tradition,” said Meyer.
Four seniors and two juniors began their journey to Winnebago as strangers, but came home with tight-knit bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.
France and Belgium
Nearly 40 students and several faculty embarked on a two-week journey to France and Belgium this June. They explored all of the must-see landmarks Europe has to offer from June 2nd to the 15th. “I loved the northern coast and the beautiful seascapes,” Mrs. Remmick said. The social studies teacher coordinated the trip with Mrs. Witzenburg, Mrs. Pick, and Mr. and Mrs. Bauer. Several parents chaperoned the vacation as well.
The vacation definitely required some adjustments. Here in the U.S. of A, one can chow down on a Big Mac while writing a 5 page essay, because what says freedom better than free WiFi at McDonald’s? Junior Melissa Geis recalls that the dynamic in Europe differs from America’s in many ways. Parisians don’t cool down their drinks with ice cubes, WiFi is harder to access, and perhaps the biggest culture shock of all: public restrooms aren’t free!
Another big difference? The concept of the way roads and traffic work. Senior Sophia Terwilliger recalls her favorite memory as the time Shayla Taute got hit by a car. One minute, Taute is minding her own business, and the next thing she knows she’s on the windshield of a Mercedes. “I was wondering why the car was getting closer and then it hit me. LITERALLY,” Taute said.
Europe may have been an adjustment, but it was nothing some confident, independent, thinking leaders from Marian couldn’t handle. Marian girls, keep your eyes peeled for announcements about upcoming summer trips. Mr. Bauer plans to take a group of students to Thailand and Cambodia this summer. Bon Voyage!
The Dominican Republic
Minimal showers, ethnic food, and whole lot of heart are what made the 2015 service trip to the Dominican Republic one to remember. Girls had to send in an application to be considered to go on the trip due to the limited space available for sleeping. Luckily, students don’t have to be taking a Spanish class to apply for the trip.
As for the application process, senior Avery Shepherd advises hopeful applicants to not sweat it. “Honestly, speak from your heart. Tell them your honest opinions and feelings on all the answers. Don’t say what you think they want you to hear,” Shepherd said.
Girls who went on the trip this summer spent their days working on a service project. “We painted the church of our campo [a rural farming village]. We also planted coffee plants in the back of the church. While in the city of Santiago, we visited an orphanage and a Batey, a Haitian refugee camp, and played with the kids there,” senior Emma McGill said.
Even with all of this hard work, the girls didn’t forget to have fun. They got to participate in a bizarre activity many Marian girls wouldn’t imagine: killing chickens. “Watching Ellie [Rommelfanger] and Macy [Thonen] each kill a chicken was really entertaining. That sounds really bad, but we were going to have chicken for dinner, and when our host asked us if anyone wanted to kill the chickens, Ellie and Macy volunteered. Their reactions/facial expressions were really funny,” McGill said.
Painting the church proved to be a rewarding experience for the girls. McGill was grateful for the experience. “It felt really good. On our last day, the campo gathered at the church to thank us, and it was an amazing feeling to see how appreciative they were of their newly painted church,” McGill said.