Two Johnson State Students Chosen to Lead National Volunteer-Training Program at Grand Canyon

Kailie Gulino

Kaylie Hale

Two Johnson State College students have been selected as site leaders for a national "alternative break" leadership session this summer at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.


Kailie Gulino, a junior anthropology and sociology major from Farmington, Conn., and Kaylie Hale, a senior psychology and sociology major from Underhill, Vt., will lead a group of students at an Alternative Break Citizenship (ABC) school July 15-21. The session is one of four such programs sponsored by Break Away throughout the United States this summer.


Break Away is a national organization created in 1991 to support alternative break programs on U.S. college campuses. Rather than travel to traditional spring break locations, students perform community service projects tied to specific social issues. The ABC schools, originally called "boot camps," debuted in 1993 as a way to train students to lead alternative break programs and trips.


Hale and Gulino's session, titled "National Parks: Preservation by the People, for the People," will focus on preserving native vegetation and addressing invasive species in Grand Canyon National Park. Like other ABC schools, it will include workshops, community interaction, speaker panels and team-building activities in addition to service projects.


"We are proud and excited to have these two students representing our program at the national level," said Krista Swahn, JSC's director of student activities and community service. "They have been deeply involved in community service on campus and have multiple alternative break trips under their belt."


Swahn adds that she has selected Hale and Gulino to co-chair JSC's alternative break program starting next fall, working closely other student trip leaders to plan trips.


"I'm excited to be part of Break Away at the national level," Hale said. "I consider myself an alternative breaker for life. As you travel and participate in these programs, you learn the root cause of social issues and how you can change these issues. Then you begin to understand why it’s important to make the community your priority and make life choices around what’s good for the community."


Hale already has participated in six Break Away trips during college breaks while enrolled at Johnson State. In addition to leading the session in Arizona, she will join JSC alumni on their first organized Break Away trip, restoring trails on New York’s Bear Mountain June 21-23.


Gulino has participated in three Break Away trips during her time at JSC. In addition to the Grand Canyon experience — which will be her fourth — she is participating in a study-abroad program this summer in Nicaragua. She first traveled to Nicaragua with Break Away in February 2012.


"My experience with Break Away, especially traveling to Nicaragua and working on clean water solutions, has been life-changing," said Gulino, who is minoring in Spanish at JSC. "It was absolutely amazing just being given the opportunity to go to Nicaragua and see what other people live like on a daily basis and see how much we take for granted, even fresh water. It's really changed my perspective on a lot of things."


Johnson State College is a founding chapter school of Break Away. For more information about the program at JSC, contact Krista Swahn at or call 802-635-1478.