International Studies Photo Gallery
The Springfield College YMCA Office and the YMCA Club recently sponsored an international studies trip to San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico, Jan.9-17 to study the complex immigration issues. The group, led by YMCA Office Director Harry Rock, AmeriCorps volunteer Natalie Brown, and student co-leaders Julian McKinley and Caroline Paine, included eight additional students. The group flew into San Diego and stayed at the YMCA Camp Surf in Imperial Beach, Calif. During that time they met with the U.S. Border Control, the San Diego Minutemen, the Border Angels, American Friends Service Committee, and a law office supporting immigration cases. They also met with the bi-lateral coalition on human trafficking. The group crossed the border and spent three days at the Casa YMCA in Tijuana touring and studying the border issue from the Mexican side. The Casa YMCA provides free provisional shelter to youth aged eleven to seventeen from various parts of Mexico and Central America. These young people have either been detained in their efforts to cross the border or have been separated from their parents during their attempted crossing effort and are deported back to Mexico. The YMCA provides shelter, food, and counseling to the children in an effort to safely reconnect them with their families. The students met with two Tijuana migrant homes, one to support women with children, and the other for men. The group conducted service projects for both YMCAs, including painting the inside of the Casa YMCA and removing invasive plants for the Camp Surf YMCA.
The purpose of the program is to provide a leadership opportunity for students to experience the YMCA at work in an international setting answering social issues. The 2010 experience will be a heritage trip to London, England to study the roots of the YMCA and how it got started in 1844 as a response to the industrial revolution. For more information on attending, contact Harry Rock, director of the YMCA Relations Office at 748-3914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.