“We are very excited about Russia and Cambodia,” said Owen Sallee, SPRINT adviser and coordinator for Global and Urban Involvement. “We have been to Russia before, a couple years ago — we just didn’t have a team last year. Cambodia is brand new, and that is going to be an exciting opportunity to work with some of our adult programs working to building communities.”
Other options include Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Rwanda, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.
“SPRINT, to me, is a really awesome program at our school that does a really thorough job of sending students on impactful international service trips,” senior Hayley McNeil said.
McNeil was a part of this past summer’s Rwanda team and said that the trip was an experience that changed her life.
Senior Bryan Hildebrandt, the SPRINT student coordinator, opened the event with a brief history and purpose statement of SPRINT. SPRINT stands for Seattle Pacific Reachout International. It sends a team of students on trips to several different countries over the summer to connect students to leaders in the communities they serve in. They gathered on Sunday to hear from each group about what they experienced over their summer trips.
“There were two pieces [of the event]. One is to help in the debriefing process of the teams who have been out. So each of them met together and put together their video. When you have to think through the stories you have to tell, that helps people process. But also, it’s a good way to share the story and invite the next generation of people to participate,” Sallee said.
There were seven different teams that went on mission trips in Indonesia, Brazil, Rwanda, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and Guatemala. Each team ranged from three to five members, and lengths of the trips varied from two to six weeks in a country. T
hey all told stories about how their SPRINT trip made an impact on their lives.
The teams served in the other countries alongside local leaders in the communities. Some teams worked in schools with elementary-age children, while others worked with churches and rebuilding projects.
Each team showed videos of the things they saw, the people they met and the moments that touched them.
“It seemed like a great opportunity to serve in another country,” senior Andrea Sonk said.
Sonk was a part of the Dominican Republic team, which was a more medically oriented trip.
The 2013 SPRINT team members encourage students to join a team and serve in 2014.
“I think it’s a really good experience for anyone to go on. No matter where you are in your faith or your life,” McNeil said, “going on a SPRINT trip will change your life.”