A group of Conestoga students used their winter study break to support a construction project in Guatemala. The trip was part of the leadership development programming offered by Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI), the college’s student association, to provide students with an opportunity to volunteer abroad and experience a new culture.
A group of Conestoga student volunteers used their winter study break to build an after-school care facility in Antigua, Guatemala.
Bethany Clark, a student in the Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) - International Business Management degree program, was one of 13 students to travel to Antigua, Guatemala to work on the construction of an after-school care facility for 150 children. The facility will also allow single mothers to earn an income from the chicken coop on site.
It was Clark’s first volunteer trip and her first time working on a construction project. She signed up to volunteer as she has always enjoyed travel and thought the trip would provide a tie-in to her program studies.
“I think just knowing that we were making such an impact on the kids and the mothers’ lives was the most rewarding part of the trip,” said Clark. “On our last day of the project the women running the facility came out and thanked us -- that really meant a lot and you could see how grateful they were. I would definitely recommend the trip to all students if they have the opportunity. It’s a great way to get involved in the school and meet new people. Plus, it’s such an eye-opening experience which I think all students should have the chance to do.”
For the first time, CSI’s board of directors expanded the global service leadership offerings this year by adding a second trip within Canada. From April 28 to May 6, during the intersession between the winter and spring semesters, another 12 students will travel to Banff National Park where they will participate in wildlife tracking and wildlife fence checking.
“The staff at Banff National Park will help us learn about current conservation challenges, Canada’s conservation strategies and park operations,” explained Nicole Amorim, CSI leadership development coordinator. “We will also explore Banff by participating in various excursions and tours throughout the week. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to see more of our beautiful country, protect Canada’s wildlife, develop leadership skills, and volunteer as part of a team.”
Amorim said students helped finance their trips through a number of fundraising activities they organized.
CSI leadership development programs help students learn specific strategies to advance their leadership skills within the college and in the community. Other leadership activities hosted by CSI include life skills workshops, an annual leadership conference, and a leadership ambassador program.