January was a month full of service-intensive team retreats for all nine of our teams. Making dolls for patients at Primary Children’s Hospital, organizing education kids, and decorating valentine’s day boxes for children at Title I schools were only a few of the service projects our Service Year students participated in. Along with the local-service focus, these team retreats also encouraged a great amount of team bonding. Let’s see what our teams were up to!


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“The Cambodia team retreat was a success! We started off by writing and decorating 125 Valentine’s Day notes for children at Primary Children’s Hospital. We then played a get to know you bingo! We had our monthly meeting and played a couple more get to know you games, including a game of awkward twister, which helped us become a lot closer to our team (literally).
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In the morning after our delicious breakfast, we got to work on our service projects. We completed 50 education kits, 40 file folder learning games and and started cutting fabric for maturation pads. We will take all of this to Cambodia with us. Thanks to Shae Barber and her family for hosting us at their home!” – Brooke Burningham, Cambodia 2016 Alum Leader.


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“During the Guatemela team’s retreat, students made monster dolls for patients at Primary Children’s Hospital. Everyone showed their creativity with their monsters, and the group made 40 monsters! Additionally, everyone participated in getting-to-know-you activities, including several energetic rounds of tag, and the five committees began to prepare for their international projects. What a great weekend!” – Johanna De Gennaro, Guatemala 2016 Assistant Team Leader.

Check out this video from the January retreat made by Braydon Carter, a 2016 Service Year participant!

Thailand June

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“For our service project we put together hygiene and care kits for women and babies and donated those to the Road Home. We were able to donate 150 kits as ell as 5 cases of toilet paper, 2 cases of diapers, 1 case of baby formula, and 1 case of disposable razors.
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The Millcreek Rotary Club donated $350 to buy supplies, so they were a huge part in making the project as successful as it was. Also as a side project, we tied some fleece baby blankets to bring with us to Thailand.” – Hanna Larsen, Thailand June 2016 Assistant Team Leader

Thailand July

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“For Thailand July’s retreat we met up at our team leaders house and Friday night we played lots of get to know you games. We ate some delicious Thai food and met with our committees to start planning what we are going to do in country and figure out exactly what our jobs are.

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Saturday morning we ate some yummy crepes and then cut and tied blankets for the homeless shelter! We ended up making over 60 blankets! We had a lot of fun and it was great getting to know everyone a little bit better!” – Emilee Yates, Thailand July 2016 Assistant Team Leader

Madagascar June

“For the Madagascar June January retreat service project we tied fleece blankets for project Linus. Project Linus is a nation wide organization with different drop off points and representatives around the United States. Their mission is to provide comfort and warmth to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need of such a gift.

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The best part of this service project was being able to watch the team learn more about one another and get to become better friends. Sitting around tying blankets is the best way to get to know a stranger. There is so much time for talking. Everyone walked away from the retreat with a new friend and a better grasp of whom they were all going to spend two weeks in country with.
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While I had spoken with the Salt Lake county representative for Project Linus earlier, she was not expecting such a large supply of blankets. Her jaw was to the floor when myself and two others carried in armfuls of blankets. We donated 15 doubled sided fleece blankets total. While the task wasn’t too difficult, especially with such a large group, the joy it can bring to other people is so great. That is the best part of service. A small act of kindness can go so far.” – Jayden Moss, Madagascar June 2016 Assistant Team Leader

Madagascar July

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“Madagascar July had a great January Retreat! We spent the night at at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education (SLCSE) and had an absolute blast! We started the night by having our typical monthly meeting, then had a wonderful dinner and met with our committees. After that we played a few getting to know you games! After a couple hours of games we did the prep for our service project.
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We split up in to our committees and made over 150 sack lunches for the homeless. We made tune sandwiches for some bags, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for others. We also filled their lunch sack with chips, Oreos, cuties, and a water bottle. Then everyone on the team each wrote a couple of encouraging, nice, uplifting notes and we put one in each of the sack lunches to help brighten their day.
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After our service prep was over, we played more games! Some of us went to bed, others stayed up all night! Everyone had a great time. The next morning, we woke up bright and early, cleaned up, and had breakfast. Then everyone piled into cars and we went to deliver our sack lunches. It was amazing to see everyone that we could help, but noticing that we could have done even more. It was such an eye opening service project that helped everyone realize the need in our own community! We learned a lot, loved a lot, and started building our life long friendships!” Whitney Hinz, Madagascar July 2016 Assistant Team Leader


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“Our team’s retreat was amazing and our service project was very successful.  We collected boxes to make Valentine’s Day kits for every third grader at a local low economic elementary school.  Our goal was to collect 90 boxes, but we blew our goal out of the water with a grand total of 115.  The extra boxes will go to another class at the school.  We wrapped each box and put a piece of candy in it.  We also made several valentines/ notes for each kit, as well as collected countless stickers and other decorations for the kids to decorate with.” Haleigh Michel, Kenya 2016 Assistant Team Leader
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