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What to expect at Big Laurel
Resources and Policies


Alternative break participants are immersed into an intentional lifestyle in which they join our community in loving service, participate in a zero-waste food challenge, learn about and use composting toilets, conserve energy, use harvested rain water for showers and washing, and assist in sustainable gardening techniques. Our unique location, the ridge of a mountain on a 450-acre forested land reserve, also presents endless opportunities for hiking, bonfires, and stargazing.

The alternative break trips focus on history, environment, education, culture, economy, health, and how those themes are related in the unique communities of Mingo County, WV. While groups will have opportunities for serving and helping with projects such as gardening or kids’ afterschool programming, getting the work done is not our only focus.

Participants who come willing to listen, learn, try new things, question what they know, and look for deeper meaning will get the most out of this experience.


It is our hope that students’ eyes may be opened not only to some of the injustices in this world and the systems in place that intend make and keep people poor, but also to the ways that communities and individuals are challenging those systems and building on successes. We strive to share our understanding of joys and challenges in Appalachia, and the ways students can bring these ideas and experiences back to their home communities.


Resources and Policies

All immersion trips and summer camps at Big Laurel are alcohol and drug free. Participants, mentors, and chaperones are not permitted to bring or use drugs or alcohol while participating in Big Laurel immersion trips or summer camps. 

All student immersion groups (spring and fall breaks) and all summer camp mentor groups (summer camp) receive the following documents prior to their arrival. These documents are intended to offer guidelines, expectations, and adequately prepare them for their time at Big Laurel. 

In addition, all summer camp mentors undergo an in-person, day-long training that includes the following policies.

All campers and parents/guardians receive the the following document:

This info will all be shared via email with trip leaders and participants upon reservation. 

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