Local High Schoolers Participate in Global Youth Service Day with Mountain Alliance

Published Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 11:12 am

Every year, Mountain Alliance hosts a day of service around the Watauga County community. Mountain Alliance is a non-profit based out of Watauga High School that works to create leaders and community minded students through free service, adventure, community, and leadership-based programs after school and on the weekend. Mountain Alliance’s “Youth Service Day” – planned with help from Recreation Management students at Appalachian State University – is a part of Global Youth Service Day and is open to all high school aged youth in Watauga County. “It’s my favorite day of the year!” said Rachel Witmer, Program Director of Mountain Alliance. “I love getting a bunch of high school students out in the community and doing service.”

Students met at the high school at 9:00 am and were separated into groups that each traveled to a different location to work on a service project. Participants were able to indicate their top choices for the service sites listed prior to Youth Service Day, but their assigned site was kept a secret and revealed on the day of the event. Service sites included the Hospitality House, two river clean ups, preparation for the Boone in Blossom festival, trail work at Rocky Knob, and volunteering at a horse show that benefitted Horse Helpers of the High Country.

The day finished with an after party at Center 45 Climbing and Fitness where students were able to rock climb, get their faces painted, and engage in various other games and activities. Center 45 graciously donated the space, letting all Youth Service Day volunteers climb for free! Mountain Alliance student Julia Moretz – also known as “DJ Jazzy J” – acted as the DJ for the afternoon and food was provided by Come Back Shack, Local Lion, Hungry Howie’s, Pedalin’ Pig, and Stick Boy Bread Company.

By the end of the day, 32 high school students had completed 192 hours of service in Watauga County. “I think it’s awesome that a bunch of high school students got up on a Saturday morning to go do service,” said senior Brynne Wood. “Everyone was so positive – even when we were getting into a really cold river! Doing service is really rewarding. I love being able to say that I did something to help the community.” Mountain Alliance hopes to continue to grow the Youth Service Day program in the future so that even more service work can be done around the county. “I think it would be awesome to be able to get to the point of having hundreds of students showing up for Youth Service Day,” said Witmer. “It’s a great way of giving back to the amazing community that we live in and empowering students to go out and make a difference.”

For more information on Mountain Alliance, visit www.mountainalliance.org, email [email protected], or call (828) 263-1770.

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