Over fall break a group of eight students headed north to help build affordable housing in North Haven, an island off the coast of Rockland, Maine. The trip was led by Krista Bahm '11 and was the first part of a series of Weekend Service Trips coordinated through the McKeen Center for the Common Good.

The McKeen Center runs a myriad of programs throughout the year that aim to connect Bowdoin students with the larger communities in Maine. This island service trip was an opportunity for students to learn about life in North Haven while helping the local community.

Students camped at the North Haven Community School for the duration of the weekend. The principal of the school, Barney Hallowell, was integral in organizing the weekend adventure.

The school was recently rebuilt with private funds, and the member Elise Selinger '10 described it as, "a beautiful building," that only houses 58 students.

While on the island, the group helped to scrape paint off of an affordable housing site, and also helped clean up the Waterman's Community Center, which houses a nursery school, as well as a movie theatre.

Selinger said she "really wanted to get off campus and explore Maine but wanted to experience Maine communities and meet Mainers rather than hike or camp."

For another student, Taylor Cochran '13, the trip was a return journey. Taylor spent her pre-orientation trip in North Haven, but this time felt that "we were able to contribute to the overall success of the local economy," while simultaneously breaking "class barriers."

Integration into the community allowed students to really get a feel for "life on the island," Cochran said.

In their free time, the group hiked out to the island's "knob," or lookout point, and roasted marshmallows on the beach, basking in the last days of fall's warm weather. Selinger said she hoped the service trips will continue, and that the exposure to different parts of the state is priceless.

As a parting gift the group left a variety of origami shapes in the entrance to the school, including North Haven's mascot, a hawk, and flowers. Both Bahm and her fellow service helpers felt that the trip was a success, and she said that she is hopeful that the rest of the program will follow suit.

Bahm plans to lead several other weekend trips this year. The next service outing will be to Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their parents, in November, followed by several other trips in the spring.