The Alternative Break Citizenship Schools (ABCS) are designed to assist leaders in building an understanding of the components needed to start or strengthen a quality alternative break program on their campus. What started out in 1992 as “Break Away Boot Camps,” have become the ABCS: weeklong intensive training sessions that combine workshops, discussions, service, reflection, and speakers within an actual alternative break experience. An experiential model, the ABCS teach participants by modeling the components necessary for a quality alternative break.

The goals of the ABCS are to:

  • encourage the development of quality alternative break programs that include the Eight Components: strong direct service, orientation, education, training, reflection, reorientation, diversity & social justice, and full engagement.
  • prepare ABCS participants to train their program's leadership teams, site leaders, and participants.

The Future of Alternative Breaks (2021)

With travel restrictions, budget cuts, and programming going virtual, COVID-19 has forced us to rethink how we do alternative breaks. As we rebuild, we have a unique opportunity to re-envision the fundamentals, better align our practices with our values, and shape the future of alternative breaks. This year’s virtual ABCS will provide an opportunity to get introspective exploring the “why” of alternative breaks, how oppressive systems play out in our programs, and the role of service learning in social justice movements. We’ll be placing a special emphasis on incorporating alternatives to direct service, like mutual aid and advocacy, and developing asset-based practices. 

More past ABCS

2020 ABCS 2019 ABCS 2018 ABCS 2017 ABCS 2016 ABCS