Mar 22 2010

Alternative Spring Break | A great start in Klamath Falls

On the early morning of our first Saturday, March 20th, off for spring break myself and a group of students loaded two large vans and headed to Eugene to meet up with who would be our traveling partners for the rest of our alternative spring break. For those who don’t really know what an alternative spring break is I shall explain: as students we have chosen to take our spring break and spend it giving back. The OSU Community Service Center and University of Oregon’s Service Learning Center have teamed up this year to do a joint alternative spring break in which our focus is on rural Oregon poverty issues. SDC13073
We took off on our journey towards Klamath Falls and on our way took a detour to go see Crater Lake. The park was filled with snow still but the sun was shining making for a gorgeous scenery. Some students had never seen Crater Lake before so it was a first for many, including one who hadn’t seen snow before either! After our long day of traveling we arrived in Klamath Falls, Oregon and were greeted by Craig Schuhmann with the Integral Youth Services (IYS). The IYS was generous enough to allow us to set up camp in one of their educational buildings for the past three days.

After a evening of learning about what IYS does for the Klamath Falls communities youth we spent Sunday painting their youth center. The youth center sees around 70 to 80 children in and out of their doors on a daily basis. This center serves as an after-school program that offers a safe environment for educational activities, volunteer opportunities, and FDA sponsored food programs. Children who use the center joined in on our all day painting project. After we were all finished we had painted the entire inside of the center and had managed to get half of the outside finished after the rain disappeared. IYS

It was very rewarding to see how much our help meant to IYS and the little impact we could make just by volunteering a single day.

Today we were lucky enough to visit with the Klamath Tribes. Our day begin with a visit to The Klamath Tribe Administration building were we learned all about the land, history, and who the Klamath Tribes are. Now I could write a whole never-ending blog on the amazing history and culture these tribes have but I will save that for another post. During the day we were treated very graciously as guests. We had the opportunity to visit their Wellness Center and speak with the tribes physicians on many different issues facing the tribes. The Klamath Tribe also owns and operates a casino, Kla-Mo-Ya, where they were kind enough to treat us to a buffet lunch and explain to us how important the casino was to their economic stability.

From the casino we continued to the fish hatchery. The hatchery has been trying to fix the endangered population issues regarding the Upper Klamath’s sucker fish for years and has now added a water lab and is hoping in the near future to more strongly help the salmon population issues in the area as well.
On our way back to Klamath Falls we were fortunate to explore their sacred land that they have called home for thousands and thousands of years.
The past three days have been more than anyone could have expected and we are thrilled for the rest of our adventures to come. Our early morning departure tomorrow will put us in Lakeview early afternoon where we get the chance to explore and learn more about issues the small community has been facing.


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One Response to “Alternative Spring Break | A great start in Klamath Falls”

  1.   Markon 10 Jul 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I’ve been to this place recently and I absolutely loved it, it was mind blowing

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