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Ketchikan Reflections: Bearcat of the Week Witham recommends service trip participation

By Samantha Hilyer

“Get involved and do [service trips] while you can,” advised Jaime Witham, senior history major.

Witham participated in both the 2018 fall service trip to New Jersey and the most recent 2019 service trip to Ketchikan, Alaska, the latter of which took place over the recent 2019 spring break.

Ketchikan Alaska is south of Juno with a population of around 8, 272 people and a small Catholic community. The church that hosted the Saint Vincent service team was one of the very few Catholic churches in the area. Acts of service were recommended by the parishioners through the church.

Usually, the Alaska trip takes place in the summer. This year, the trip took place during spring break instead.

According to Witham, this change led to a slightly less labor-intensive experience while simultaneously allowing for more group bonding and adventures.

However, Witham and the other Saint Vincent students still completed many acts of service and kindness within the Ketchikan community. These acts included landscaping for the rectory, clearing ice away from driveways, visiting the elderly and playing a scavenger hunt game in which random acts of kindness, such as carrying someone’s groceries, were carried out.

“The camaraderie was great. That was probably my favorite part about the whole [experience],” Witham said. “[…] We were doing some really hard work sometimes and the group made it so much fun. We all had a good attitude about it."

Witham stated that the experience was incredibly rewarding, and that she wished she had been more involved with service trips and other general aspects of the Saint Vincent community sooner in her college career.

“I [am] a senior and I had always wanted to do a [service trip], but I was shy and I never did,” she stated.

Witham is involved in the History Club on campus and the history honors society. She will be graduating in May of 2019 and is looking to attend graduate school in museum studies, or museology.

Witham said that one of the reasons she was interested in the Alaska service trip was their recreational activities.

“I love hiking, I love backpacking and being outside […],” Witham said. “I want to work at a museum that has that kind of aspect, like a park ranger."

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