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First Year Trip - Overview

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 4 years, 10 months ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / First Year Trip / Overview



First Year Trip

Overview  |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download

The First Year Trip is a key activity in the Bonner Scholar Program that many Bonner Leader Programs have begun to incorporate in their programs. Typically, the trip is a 4-7 day event that takes place in the second semester of freshmen year, in most cases during a break or at the end of the academic year. In compelling circumstances,  the trip can be postponed until sophomore year. While the trip may revolve around service, activities generally include meetings with community residents, agency representatives, and others who provide students with an educational context about the community. In addition, both the process of preparing for and participating in the trip can be an intense educational experience for students, providing them with an even greater opportunity to develop identity and unity as Bonners and servant leaders.


First Year Trip Overview - Before, During, and After 


  1. Find a destination with strong community partners in a region different from your campus. 
  2. Designate roles and responsibilities for Bonners who will help plan and implement the trip.
  3. Engage in trip preparation during Class Meetings — learning the history, language, prominent issues related to the culture of the destination.
  4. During the trip, engage in meaning activities — service projects, learning, reflection, cultural and team building activities. 
  5. After the trip, have students process what they have learned and share reflections with your Bonner team and even the entire campus.



Selecting a Place 

The First Year Trip should be designed to take the students as a cohort to participate in service in a geographic region outside their campus community. Campuses often try to find locations that are different than their own campus community context. For example, if a campus is in a rural location, the first year trip might take place in an urban location or vice versa. We strongly encourage campus staff to develop multi-year relationships with communities and organizations by returning to the same location year after year.  There are also many well-regarded service trip providers like Youth Service Opportunities Programs or the Timothy Project (See Campus Examples for names of additional service trip organizations). Developing relationships with these organizations can deepen First Year Trips through already established connections and relationships with people in the communities regularly served. 


Trip Activities 

The four- to seven-day trip should contain a mix of the following activities: 


Note: Bonner Scholar Program Funding for First Year Service Trips

Bonner Scholar Programs have access to funding for their first year trips. Campus Directors/Coordinators may apply to the Bonner Foundation for financial support of up to $250 per Bonner Scholar taking the trip and $250 for each of two people attending in a supervisory capacity. (see 4.4.9 for First-Year Service Trip allocation guidelines)