Photo courtesy of Raymond Link ’20 | The Brophy Peru Immersion Trip of 2018 visits Machu Picchu before service in Cuzco, Peru.
By Cooper Parson ’20
Last year, a new policy was put into place with what you can count for hours for your Brophy service projects. The change of policy resulted in immersion trips not counting for any of your hours in service projects.
The goal of this is to make immersion trips about the experience and not the hours. Toward the end of the last school year, Mr. Will Rutt ’08 held a meeting announcing that the policy on immersion trips had changed for this reason. However, I think by doing this, they take away an experience from someone and punish students who go on the trips.
Let me explain: some students do go on these trips because they know it will knock out a lot of their hours. I think this isn’t the right reason to apply, and so I partially agree that this new policy does deter people from doing this.
At the same time, sometimes after going on the trips, these kids who just went for hours come back with something more. They come back with a different view of these trips.
Now, these kinds of students might never go on a trip because there isn’t any sort of push for them to. I see the hours as a way of getting kids who might not have gone otherwise to go on these trips.
The whole point of immersion trips is stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing something new. Sometimes people need a little encouragement to get out of their comfort zone. The service hours helped with this.
By taking the hours away, you also get rid of this extra push that might get a student to apply.
This also punishes students who go on these trips and do hard work and give away their time to help others. What is wrong with using the hours from an immersion trip.
If you went, did the work and experienced something new, you deserve to be able to use that toward a project that has the same goal. I would argue that you gain a greater understanding of the world and are more impacted by immersion trips than you are by the projects.
When on a immersion trip, you get swept up in what is going on around you. The trip has an impact on you, and everyone can get something meaningful from it.
However, when you do one of the service projects, it is easy to lose sight of the goal and do meaningless work. When you maybe only go to volunteer once each week, it becomes hard to really connect with the work.
So, immersion trips give you the chance to change and grow. They offer something that the normal yearly projects don’t. But, they can no longer contribute toward your hours. To me, this policy doesn’t make sense. It takes away the chance of growth from some and punishes others.