Values of the Program
Grinnell College Alternative Break (GCAB) places a primary emphasis on several key values.
First, while GCAB does send trips all over the nation, each trip's focus should be on the service, not the location in which the service is performed. In addition, this service should be direct and hands on, as opposed to indirect and abstract. In other words, building a home is direct service; stapling documents in an office is not. For a variety of factors, including the length of trips and the work available, direct service offers the most valuable service experience to participants.
Second, GCAB values communal living. Service is not a solitary activity, and GCAB participants should be active in the creation of a community amongst themselves in order to perform the best service possible. In addition, whenever possible, GCAB participants should live in the communities in which they work, or in communities similar to the ones in which they are working. Unless GCAB participants fully experience the existence of th e communities that they serve, the experience is incomplete.
Third, GCAB values simplicity. While GCAB does have many resources at its disposal, its participants will gain most from its trips if they reduce their focus on material goods and instead focus on the service, their community, and themselves. Focusing on material goods only distracts participants from the main tasks of their trips, namely service and learning. Therefore, GCAB asks its participants to limit their expenditures during the trips, and asks trip leaders when planning trips to keep the trips as simple as possible in terms of meals, housing, etc.
Fourth, GCAB asks that its trips be substance-free. The use of alcohol goes against many of the principles of GCAB and is not conductive to the main task of GCAB trips, n amely service.
Finally, GCAB service trips are substance free.