2019 ABCs Descriptions

Here at HQ, we're thrilled to announce four compelling focus areas and locations for the 2019 ABCs:

Integration, Access, and the Experience of New Americans

June 2 - 7 | Atlanta, GA
Hosted in partnership with Emory University

For the last 25 years, Clarkston, a small city outside of Atlanta, has flourished as a national hub for refugee resettlement. With the arrival of more than 40,000 refugees, diverse communities have become integral to the region’s sense of identity. Recent changes in national policy has reduced federal support for people forced to flee their homes due to conflict and/or persecution. Consequently, in 2018, the total number of people resettled in Atlanta was only a third when compared to prior years. Despite the precipitous decline, organizations have continued to support and mobilize refugees, while arriving New Americans navigate the complicated processes surrounding citizenship, community participation, and addressing their immediate needs. ABCs participants will work with organizations in Atlanta that assist New American populations in regaining a sense of place while advocating for compassionate communities locally, nationally, and globally.

Atlanta Travel Information
Check-in will be from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm on Sunday, June 2nd at Emory University and the first session begins promptly at 1 pm. The training ends at 12:30 pm on Friday, June 7th. We’re thrilled to be returning to Emory and will be calling Raoul Hall home for the week.

If you’re planning on flying, we recommend using Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. There are also Amtrak and Greyhound stations a 20 – 30 minute drive from campus.

Friendly, perhaps unsolicited advice: your flight should arrive in Atlanta before 11 am on Sunday, June 2nd. For return flights, if you’re timely and subscribe to the “arrive-2 hours-prior-to-my-flight recommendation,” then those flights should depart from Atlanta no earlier than 3:30 pm on Friday, June 7th

After years of service, the Break Away shuttle has been officially (and formally) retired. We’re still committed to helping participants find practical travel arrangements – including connecting participants to carpool opportunities with others from the conference. As always, we look forward to extending warm handshakes and friendly smiles when you arrive on campus.

The ABCs registration fee includes housing, food, conference materials, and on-site transportation during the conference. Given our packed schedule, there will not be opportunities for individual exploration or sightseeing during the conference. If you’d like to extend your stay to explore all Atlanta has to offer, you’ll need to make your own arrangements.

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Collaborative Approaches to Greening a Growing City

June 23 - 28 | Grand Rapids, MI
Hosted in partnership with Grand Valley State University

As the fastest growing city in Michigan, Grand Rapids stands as a national leader in eco-friendly development. With a history of urban sprawl that centered industrial and profit-focused business takeover of green space - local leaders have implemented efforts to reclaim and prioritize the natural environment. A coalition of institutions and organizations are working together to create vibrant public spaces focused on the health and quality of a community. From sustaining the Grand River, a treasured icon of the city that intersects downtown, to building schools, a major public transit station, and an art museum that are all LEED certified - this west Michigan city has worked to use natural resources to bolster connections between the environment and its residents. At this ABCs, we’ll explore the multiple facets of urban greening - including preserving parks, creating accessible community spaces, and encouraging citizen involvement in sustainable development.

The Grand Rapids ABCs will also feature a three-day Staff Track. Staff who work with break programs have the opportunity to attend the full ABCs and switch into the Staff Track for the last three days, or to just come for the final three days, depending on program needs.

Grand Rapids Travel Information

Check-in will be from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm on Sunday, June 23rd at Grand Valley State University and the first session begins promptly at 1 pm. The training ends at 12:30 pm on Friday, June 28th.

A budding city in its own right, Grand Rapids is home to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. If you’re willing to get creative with travel, Detroit and Chicago are larger airports with connections to Grand Rapids via Amtrak or Greyhound, which are a 20 minute drive from campus.

If you’re flying into Grand Rapids, some friendly – perhaps unsolicited – advice: your flight should arrive in Grand Rapids before 11 am on Sunday, June 23rd. For return flights, if you’re timely and subscribe to the “arrive-2 hours-prior-to-my-flight recommendation,” then those flights should depart no earlier than 3:30 pm on Friday, June 28th

After years of service, the Break Away shuttle has been officially (and formally) retired. We’re still committed to helping participants find practical travel arrangements – including connecting participants to carpool opportunities with others from the conference. As always, we look forward to extending warm handshakes and friendly smiles when you arrive on campus.

The ABCs registration fee includes housing, food, conference materials, and on-site transportation during the conference. Given our packed schedule, there will not be opportunities for individual exploration or sightseeing during the conference. If you’d like to extend your stay to explore all Grand Rapids has to offer, you’ll need to make your own arrangements.

Grand Rapids Transit Support

Respecting and Restoring Ecosystems in our National Lands

July 20 - 26 | Grand Canyon National Park
Hosted in partnership with the National Park Service

The mission of the National Park Service is centered on the preservation of natural and cultural resources for the “enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” Humans have a complicated relationship with the natural world - symbiotic and nurturing or one-sided and consumptive. In celebration of Grand Canyon National Park’s centennial, we’re reminded of the critical commitment to caring for and honoring our national lands. Through the investigation of ecosystems, we will consider the path forward in preserving and stewarding one of the most iconic national parks for the next 100 years. At this ABCs, as part of a long-standing partnership with the National Park Service, we’ll join efforts with park staff to address the impact of trash and visitor traffic on the health of our nation’s parks.

Grand Canyon Travel & Shuttle Information
Participants should plan to fly in and out of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Grand Canyon registration fees include door-to-door shuttle service to and from the airport. What does that mean? We will provide a conference charter bus to and from Grand Canyon National Park for all participants – that’s right, both ways! The shuttle will depart the airport at 2 pm (sharp!) on Saturday, July 20th. At the conclusion of the conference, the return shuttle will arrive at the airport by 4 pm on Friday, July 26th.

Friendly, perhaps unsolicited advice: your flight should arrive in Phoenix before 1 pm on Saturday, July 20th to catch the shuttle. For return flights, if you’re timely and subscribe to the “arrive-2 hours-prior-to-my-flight recommendation,” then those flights should depart from Phoenix no earlier than 6 pm on Friday, July 26th. If you book travel outside of these times, you will have to secure your own transportation into Grand Canyon National Park.

The ABCs registration fee includes housing, food, conference materials, and on-site transportation during the conference. If participants would like to extend the length of their stay to explore the park, they must make their own arrangements.

Housing and workshops will both be housed at the beautiful Horace M. Albright Training Center, just a couple of miles away from the South Rim of the Canyon.

Access and Inclusion in Education Reform

August 4 - 9 | Memphis, TN
Hosted in partnership with Serve901 and the University of Memphis

In 2011, the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative birthed Tennessee’s statewide efforts to reform schools with lower performance rates. Years later, the results have been mixed. Leaders in Memphis are working to scale back major turnaround efforts from outside influences and recenter the voices of local residents and families. By centering access and inclusion in schools, justice-based education reform recognizes the challenges posed by external influences on families' lives such as racial or economic segregation and access to basic needs, like housing and food. This ABCs we’re partnering with schools, teachers, and students to expand our own understanding of how to build welcoming classroom environments, equip children to manage life in and outside of school, and ensure inclusion of all identities within our education systems.

Memphis Travel Information

Check-in will be from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm on Sunday, August 4th at Living Hope Vollintine Evergreen (815 N McLean Blvd) and the first session begins promptly at 1:00 pm. The training ends at 12:30 pm on Friday, August 9th. We’ll be sharing living space at St. George’s Bunkhouse, in the basement of Living Hope. Potential participants should note that the space is only accessible by stair usage (no elevator access) – if you have questions about the space, reach out to Meghan.

For those of you joining us at the Memphis ABCs, we recommend flying into the Memphis International Airport. If you’re looking for a larger airport, Nashville is the nearest city with connections to Memphis via Greyhound with a station that is about 15 minutes from our site.

If you’re flying into Memphis, some friendly – perhaps unsolicited – advice: your flight should arrive before 11 am on Sunday, August 4th. For return flights, if you’re timely and subscribe to the “arrive-2 hours-prior-to-my-flight recommendation,” then those flights should depart no earlier than 3:30 pm on Friday, August 9th.

After years of service, the Break Away shuttle has been officially (and formally) retired. We’re still committed to helping participants find practical travel arrangements – including connecting participants to carpool opportunities with others from the conference. As always, we look forward to extending warm handshakes and friendly smiles when you arrive on campus.

The ABCs registration fee includes housing, food, conference materials, and on-site transportation during the conference. Given our packed schedule, there will not be opportunities for individual exploration or sightseeing during the conference. If you’d like to extend your stay to explore all Memphis has to offer, you’ll need to make your own arrangements.

Memphis Transit Support

Break Away strives to offer training that responds to the needs and talents of its participants. Every effort is made to ensure housing and meeting rooms at the ABCs have all-gender bathrooms and are ADA compliant. Additionally, training sessions are designed to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles and abilities and all service projects can be arranged to accommodate individual needs. Everyone is encouraged to include information on the registration form that will help us create a space for you to participate fully. If you have specific questions about accessibility or available accommodations at the ABCs, please contact Meghan Foley.