Alternative Break in New Orleans: Q&A With Morgan Somerville

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A decade’s worth of group-leader secrets, from FEMA trailers and red gravy to self-care and the future of alternative breaks.

Kurt Jostes: So first off, please explain the background story on how you first got into leading alternative breaks.

Morgan Somerville: I’m currently the Director of Student Engagement at Stevenson University outside of Baltimore. I have been coming to New Orleans to help rebuild for 11 years now. It started… a friend of mine that I lived with had an extra spot on a church trip to Chalmette and said, “would you like to come with me?” And I said, “yeah, let me ask my boss if I can get off.” It was two weeks away, someone dropped off, so it was like really random by chance that I could go, and my boss said I could go.

I left and flew down here with the Church of the Brethren. They had an early presence here in New Orleans and also in other disaster areas around the country and also around world.

We stayed in a FEMA trailer in Arabi and worked with a few different people, and at one point during the week I was introduced to the very-very- “baby” St. Bernard Project and was really impressed by them and thought they were doing good things. And after a week here realized just how much need there still was. It was March of 2008, two and a half years after Katrina and I was shocked by what I saw. At that point we were only working in Chalmette and I remember seeing the huge piles of debris in everyone’s front yards, getting picked up.

The reason I found out about going to Rocky and Carlo’s for the first time was the bulldozer guys. I was like, well you guys are locals, where should we go eat? And they’re like, “Oh yeah, go to Rocky and Carlo’s and get the veal parm with red gravy.” And I am not Italian, so I didn’t know what red gravy was, and I thought it was blood sauce. So much to my surprise, when we go and it’s marinara sauce!

Jostes: But it’s not marinara sauce, it’s red gravy!

Somerville: It’s red gravy, right! But I was like all day long: I’m going to go eat veal with blood sauce… hahaha!

It was incredible what I saw, as far as the amount of destruction still, and lack of progress. And not to put any blame on the homeowners, but it just wasn’t progressing. And so I bought in pretty early on to what St Bernard Project was trying to do, and talked to those folks and stayed in touch.

So I went back to campus and I attempted to quit my job, and my boss told me no, which I’m pretty sure my parents called him ahead of time and were like “don’t let Morgan quit her job.” I was crying like the entire plane ride home, cried the entire weekend, cried the entire trip into work. I was like, I just feel called to be there, like, that’s my calling. I need to be in Chalmette, Louisiana and rebuild homes. And I told my boss this and he’s like, “that’s not your calling, you need re-evaluate your calling.” And I was like, “you can’t tell me what my calling is,” (because I was a really mature professional) and my boss, he was like “no, this is not your calling. Go sit and think about yourself and come up with what your calling is.”

I’m pretty sure I stomped out of the office and went and sat in my office and pouted for awhile, and then part of me realized that when I was in college at JMU (James Madison University) I went on Alternative Break programs, and that kind of thing did not exist at Stevenson at the time. So once this light bulb went off in my brain, I ran back to my boss’ office and said, “Can I start an Alternative Break program and take students to go with me to New Orleans, because if I can’t go myself, lemme like ripple-effect this and bring other people with me.” And so my boss was like, “yeah, if that’s what you want to do in your free time, go for it!”

So, as an admissions counselor who had no business with student affairs or student activities or anything like that, I started talking about this idea, and conveniently and ironically and I think destined, two professors were also talking about wanting to have a class that was an original service-learning class at Stevenson where they would talk about project management and then help to work on a house… …and I think they meant in Baltimore. So thankfully there was this other woman, who I refer to as the godmother of Mission I’m Home, Chris Noya, who knew I was talking about wanting to go to Louisiana, and knew Art and Romus were talking about wanting to do this class, and she thought “well the three of them need to get together.”

So we got together after a faculty/staff meeting in August… So, I know Art and Romus… I don’t remember this, but I apparently half-cry-laughed the entire conversation and pleaded with them to help me to do this, and they were like, “whoa, this girl has a lot of energy and a lot of emotion, and we should probably not say no to her because we don’t want to see what would happen.”

And so that was in August, and then that first year we were here in March and we stayed in a church in Metairie… we didn’t know where else… I don’t know why, I guess SBP must’ve told us about this church, because I don’t know how else we would’ve found it. We didn’t know about you all yet, sorry. I don’t know if you were… I guess you guys were up and running… in 2009?

Jostes: We were rolling.

Somerville: Your March game was off, then… somehow didn’t get to us, so there ya go. But we’re all here now, so it’s OK.

So we stayed at a church in Metairie and then we worked at St Bernard Project and we drove [down] that first year… We put everyone in a seatbelt, but they were like shoulder-to-shoulder with people they had never met, 19 students gave me $325 and trusted me… they did not know each other, I don’t know how I got the word out, but it happened.

We drove to Athens, TN, because I thought that sounded funny, and we stayed in a Holiday Inn, and I had them count off by fours, and then said, “OK, you four in a room, you four in a room and you four in a room.” So students who didn’t know each other slept in beds with one another because when I went on trips with my gal pals I didn’t mind sharing… I don’t know how I didn’t… why no one else helped me think this through… But they all did it… the boys did not… the boys slept one on the bed, one in the bathtub, and one on the floor. And so, then we got up the next morning, and I said, “OK whatever you can eat at the hotel free breakfast is your meal until we stop for lunch, so like, load up.”

Holiday Inn has those crazy cinnamon rolls, so the students ate like nine of them each. So we go and get to New Orleans… when we drove through and drove across Lake Pontchartrain, I remember being so pumped, and obviously crying because I’m a crier, because I knew how important this was and I knew the work that was so important and I knew my students were going to be impacted so tremendously. I had no idea how much, but I knew it was going to be big, so I was pumped.

The students were all exhausted and were sick of being in the vans with one another, but they were like, OK, Morgan is excited, so let’s get on with it.

“So yeah, I left secret money in his house.”

Somerville: Long story short, we had a great first week. They were still doing these “Paul Perez” dinners at that time. So there was a guy named Paul Perez I don’t know how I remember his name, but he used to host these community dinners, so on Wednesday night any volunteer in the area could come to his church and get dinner and have fellowship and talk to the folks who were there, and survivors of Katrina could talk, and it was just a really cool thing to be at the forefront… Liz McCartney (with SBP) was always at these dinners too, and so I hung out with Liz and that’s how I really got to know her.

It was a great week. The homeowner whose house I helped rebuild while I was here [my first trip] with my friend… he and I had stayed in touch and so his family had us over for a crawfish boil on Friday night. We had hung out throughout the week and had Mardi Gras beads for my students and he’d asked, “what are y’all doing on Friday for dinner?” And I was like, well, we actually haven’t actually like gotten that far yet, but it’s probably going to be hot dogs and mac n cheese.”

And he was like “No no no no no no, come to my house, we’ll do a crawfish boil for y’all.”

And I was like, “Ok, how much money would you like us to give you? Like I got 24 of us…”

And he was like, “No no no, y’all are volunteers!”

So we went to work, and then went over to the Diaz’ house and we are like filthy, because we are fresh off the jobsite, and I’ve never seen so much seafood in my entire life cuz their carport – they put in all these long tables and there were crabs and shrimp and like SOOO MUCH FOOD! And I was like, “Jerry, where did you get all this? Because like in Baltimore that would’ve been like thousands of dollars.” And I was like, “how… wha… how is this… oh my God like please let me give you money!”

He was like, “No, no, no, the shrimp came from my cousin, and the crabs came from my neighbor, everyone wanted to support you all.”

So it was a cool moment for my students to see what a community will do for others. It was an awesome night.

And I did end up leaving cash. We had cash on us, and I left it in places around his house because they wouldn’t take any money… because I felt bad. So, yeah, I left secret money in his house.

What was the question? Sorry…

Jostes: It was, “introduce yourself and explain how did you get into an alternative break program…” so I think we got there.

Somerville: I was concerned for a second.

Jostes: Since 2008 or so, what numbers are we talking about on what you’ve worked on?

Somerville: So we’ve had over 700 students, faculty and staff participate in 20-some trips… I really need to count. We’ve expanded from a Spring Break trip, and then my role on campus has shifted over the years. So when I was with the admissions office, when I was an admissions counselor I was traveling all the time for work. But now I’ve transitioned to where I’m on campus full-time, which allows me to have more interactions with students and also to plan more of these trips. So then we started planning a January trip, and then we started a May trip because… I think just because, why not? I think I wanted to do more… Oh, because our Spring Break trip hit 107 people and I was like, “I can never take that many students on one trip again, because that was insane,” like in a good way, but it was just logistically a nightmare.

We also follow SBP, so over the last ten years, we’ve been to New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, Baton Rouge after the flooding there, Houston and then a lot of trips to New Orleans.

A Stevenson University Mission I'm Home team in New Orleans

Morgan (back row, second from left) with a Stevenson crew working with SBP.


Jostes: What’s your favorite part about going on Alternative Spring Break trips?

Somerville: I chose to work with college students for a reason… I do believe that they are the future of our country – not just college students but this age group. I can help impact them to see folks in different situations and from different backgrounds, to give them the knowledge and to empower them that they can make a difference.

The difference they make in one week… this week for example we’re doing siding. We approached a house on Monday morning that had no siding, and we are going to leave a house that’s completely sided. That’s awesome. They can see that physical change and know that they themselves, their hands did that. So I think just the impact these trips have on students is hard to [fully] quantify…

From the educator’s standpoint – and I can speak to this based on having colleagues from a variety of roles on campus serving as chaperones on these trips – you get to interact with students in a way that you will not interact with them in any other capacity. You really get to know the students in a much deeper way and I think it helps commit you to your overall job. These trips give faculty a remind of what the work is that they do, because depending on what your role is, you might not interface with students as much as others. I’ve had really great success with having some of the behind-the-scenes folks come on these trips as chaperones, because they then can know, “these are our Stevenson students, I am part of this!”

And you also get to influence students. When I recruit other chaperones, I say, “why I really need you is to drive the van (the students can’t drive the vans, per school policy), but there’s so much more than just driving the van. You have opportunities to help students think through things deeper; you can impart your wisdom on them. They teach me so much, and not just dance moves and slang and language, but they inspire me on a daily basis, and it’s just amazing to be part of it.


Jostes: As a student, what are some of the reasons to go on Alternative Spring Break?

Somerville: Anytime people give you life advice, they always say “step outside your comfort zone.” Like the success, the magic, whatever the meme is you’re looking at, it’s always talks about stepping outside your comfort zone and these trips are absolutely that. No matter where the destination is or the work that you’re doing, it’s most likely not what you’re normally used to. I think anytime you can step outside your comfort zone you’re going to grow, going to learn, going to change, and for the better.

You also typically meet people you don’t normally interact with on campus. We have best friends who have blossomed on these trips among people who would’ve never ever met before based on majors, their class year, where they lived on campus. They would’ve never met each other, and now they’re best friends. We’ve had weddings, we’ve had multiple Mission I’m Home weddings. Romus is an officiant, so he does them, so we’re like a full-service alternative break program. Not that I can really guarantee a marriage or best friend, but you’re going to meet people you wouldn’t have necessarily met.

It’s also a really great thing to put on your resume. It’s not something I normally talk about when I’m recruiting, but I’ve had so many students say that having that on their resume helped them stand out for a job, or it came up in a job interview. “Wait a minute, you chose to do a week of service vs. going to Cozumel or Cancun or wherever,” so it does make you stand out and adds value.

You also come back with some really cool skills! I look at walls completely differently now because I now know what went into hanging that drywall, and I like to check for seams. Stevenson is constantly building things (on campus) and so I always walk through and they’re like, “Oh God, here comes Morgan…” cuz I’m like, “can I come play with you?” and they’re like “No you can not! Go back… you’re in a suit! Go back to your office!” So no matter what you are doing, you’re going to pick up new skills and life lessons along the way.

Whatever you have to pay to go on one of these trips, you will get back tenfold and it will serve you in ways… Kathy [Wendling] says it well – you came down here for a reason, and the reason you came here may not be the same reason that you think it is, but you will figure out what that reason is eventually.

I got chills when she said that…like, “oh man, she is so spot on.!” It was early in the week and I could tell that a lot of students were like, “yeah, whatever lady, like let’s get the rice and beans going,” and I was like, “oh, y’all don’t even know, but because I’ve done this so many times… you have no idea, but she was spot on when she said that.”

“Pack a heavy dose of patience and flexibility because no matter how much you plan something, it’s not going to go according to plan.”

Jostes: What have you learned or experienced in your time of service in New Orleans that you’ve cherished?

Somerville: Personally and what I’ve also seen in students is that you’re stronger than you think you are. And I mean that physically, emotionally, mentally… you’re capable of more than you think you are. I know for myself that I didn’t know anything about siding before coming down and now I feel like I can like side anything that needed to be sided.

You also learn that you’re capable of more than you think you are. That’s not to say that people come on these trips for seeking this out, but it’s something that inevitably happens, especially on a rebuilding trip. When you’re doing eight or six hours of it each day, that’s pretty huge no matter what your role is coming into it.

I would also say you really get to see a different side of a community. Not that my journey is the same as for everybody, but I did not know the Bourbon Street side of New Orleans until like five years into my relationship with the city. I’d never come as a true tourist before, and when I came for a friends’ bachelorette party, and I suggested we volunteer for a half day and everyone did not agree with that plan, but I tried… I felt very uncomfortable being here as a tourist, because I felt I knew the community on a different level and had a different appreciation and level of respect for the culture and the community, which is so much more than the shenanigans on Bourbon Street. I felt very weird being here that weekend because I just felt I was doing such a superficial version of New Orleans. I was like, “no, the people are so great and we’re not having conversations with people randomly in a Wal-Mart… a neighbor didn’t stop by and ask how we’re doing and where we’re from,” ya know?

Jostes: This week I had a really deep conversation two days ago at Restaurant Depot about Olive Salad. Which ones to get, which ones not to get, how you can tell when it has real olive oil in it.

Somerville: I will say this is an ongoing lesson: finding the balance between working hard and getting the job or task done, vs. allowing the moments of conversation and growth on that level.

For example, myself and this one student really wanted to finish this one side of the house, so the two of us were just like, up and down a ladder, up and down a ladder, cutting siding, doing our thing, and I noticed that two of our site supers were talking to a few of our students, and they were talking for kind of a long time. So my first reaction was like, “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING? GET ON YOUR SIDE OF THE HOUSE AND WORK!” But I didn’t say that, obviously, because I just would not say that, things like that.

And then later, that came up in our reflection for the day when we asked what was one of our highlights. Someone said, “I didn’t feel like I got as much accomplished, but we had a really great conversation about the environmental impacts of rebuilding a community and how that has played out here in New Orleans.”

So, I can’t be mad at my students for not doing 20 minutes more of siding when they had this really cool conversation talking about some pressing issues. They were learning more about the history of New Orleans and Katrina’s impact, and they were learning more about AmeriCorps.

Finding that fine line – it’s something I’m working on. Heck, I talk to neighbors all the time – sometimes I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t done any work this morning!” That was why! It’s important, though, especially in an area recovering from a disaster. People need that sometimes, they want to talk!

Stevenson University volunteers in front of a home they're helping restore with SBP in New Orleans.
Jostes: What are some tips you can give to group leaders of alternative breaks?

Somerville: It’s important to have a plan… you should have a focal point of what your end-goal mission opportunity can be. From there, you stack it up. Who are your people involved, both from a staff-faculty level (if you need that, depending on what your school situation is), what students you want, do you have student leaders? I think that’s a key part… we did not necessarily have that when we started, since no one had ever done this before (at Stevenson)… we were just kind of figuring it out… over the years we developed leaders. Other schools give credit to students who serve in this capacity and that’s really cool if you can navigate that system.

I would think it’s important to identify who your partners are – where you’re staying, where you’re working, where you’re eating, if that’s not included. What you’re driving, your transportation, and then your student leaders are one of those key logistics. Develop a hierarchy of who’s helping out because as a leader you can’t be everywhere at the same time. You can have a team of leaders who make a decision on something and then spread it out that way. Also, just having extra eyes and ears on the job site to make sure things are going OK, or at the bunks, since as a leader I’m not hanging in the same room as the students, so I might miss things that are happening.

So identifying your key partners is huge and when you find really good partners it’s awesome because you just hit repeat on where you’re working, where you’re staying…

Jostes: What would an ideal partner look like?

So, it’s actually how I describe both Camp Restore and SBP. It’s consistency. I know what I expect is going to happen is what you all deliver, so there’s a comfort level for me of knowing that we’re going to have work every single day, there’s going to be materials, there’s going to be supervision and protocols in place. It’s all over SBP’s website that safety is a huge part of who they are.

For me, someone who’s taking students on a jobsite, I want to know it’s safe, and then with you all [at Camp Restore] I know that the spaces are going to be clean. I know the food is going to be delicious. We’re kind of spoiled rotten here, to be honest with you, because we’ve gone other places…

Jostes: We can dial it back if you need us to…

Somerville: No, no, no, no, no…. we’ve fired the kitchen crew elsewhere before… but really all of my partners have always been great so I haven’t had to really evaluate… but Break a Difference has some good resources and listservs, so you can email, “hey, does anybody have a good partner in xyz…” Or then you also can call and ask for references.

It’s important to either talk to other schools who’ve worked with that community partner, or you can reach out to them and ask if they’ve worked with anyone from your area before.

Pack a heavy dose of patience and flexibility because no matter how much you plan something, it’s not going to go according to plan. So, I actually don’t do an agenda at all. In my head, I have a loose idea of what we’re going to do, like a schedule, but then I don’t have an official agenda, which drives some of my students nuts. They’re like, “Nononono, we would like to know what we’re doing,” and I’m like, “Just trust me it’s going to be fine.” That doesn’t work for everybody…

Jostes: That’s partially because you’re able to rely on the trust that you’ve already built up.

Somerville: Correct. So now when students really press me on it, I have like,

Saturday: Travel Day. And Walmart.
Sunday: Tourism Day
Monday – Friday: Work + Cultural Surprises
Saturday: Travel Day

So there’s a basic understanding of what we’re doing, but I don’t ever get overly-specific – and this doesn’t work for everybody – but if you can allow for some breathing room in there, that’s when all the magic happens. Like yesterday we didn’t know we were going to go to a groundbreaking for SBP’s new veteran housing, but we did and that’s cool, and then we didn’t go back to work after that. OK, so then I took the students to the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum, and they were there for a long time and then we sat in the grass in the front yard and they all cried about racism in America and how they wanted to do things to make the world a better place. And then we went and got ice cream at Creole Creamery. Was that on my agenda? Not officially. Did I know we were going to do all those things? Yes. Just be flexible and also just pack a lot of deep breaths because sometimes students will say and do things where you’re like, “oh my goodness, did they just do that? Did they just say that?” And it’s OK.

I feel like self-care is a very big term right now, in general in our world, but I think it’s important to know what your self-care needs are and figure out how to make that happen. I got in my bunk bed at 8:15 last night because I just needed a little more Morgan-time. I read a book that was here in your library (that’s a really hilarious collection of books you have right now.) It’s a lot of Bibles, and some Bible study books, and then the Anne of Green Gables Collection, and then some romance novels. So I blew through my book so I needed another one, so I was like, “Perfect! I know Camp Restore has books because I’ve always seen them…” I should have read the Bible… perhaps that’s what… so now I’m reading a romantic suspense novel. The romance has not happened 150 pages in. I’m not sure when it’s going to happen.

Jostes: Maybe that’s the suspense part.

Somerville: Not that you need to read romance novels on these trips,

Jostes: Did it help your Morgan time?

Somerville: It helped my Morgan time! I’m trying to finish it so I can leave it here.

Jostes: We could probably learn a lot by analyzing our camp library… is it all the books people finished while they were here, or is it books that they wanted to share? Or is it books they left behind because they didn’t want to finish them? Seriously though, we should have, somewhere in there, at least 10, maybe 15 books that are either New Orleans-based, or are general deep-dive books about different American or New Orleanian themes.

Somerville: You could have a whole Katrina section. My office is like all Katrina books.

Jostes: So bookshelf update is on the list.

Somerville: So figure out what your me-time is. When I was younger, I didn’t need it. Now, after crossing the 30 bridge, I need a little time. I think I’m 29 plus shipping and handling.

So leave room for the magic… or, if we’re going to keep it local, keep it New Orleans, wait for some Lagniappe to happen. They do, and if you over-plan… this is why I don’t make five-year plans, because then I might miss something because I’d be too hyper-focused on something.

Jostes: What are things that you shouldn’t sweat when you’re going on Alternative Break?

Somerville: I would definitely say the agenda thing… yes, you should have a plan, but it’s ok not to plan every single second of the day. Leave room for the naps and the magic and the good stuff. My personality doesn’t align with me needing to hyper-plan. That comes naturally to me, but I know that other people feel like that in order to make it the best-trip ever, you have to have every little thing planned. Not necessary at all.

Also, don’t stress too much if your group isn’t like BFFs right away. That kind of stuff does take a little time, certainly. Plan some ice-breakers, some group activities and things like that. I was shocked by someone who thought that was going to happen by like Tuesday. Sometimes it’s Friday afternoon when you finally notice “wow, we made a family – this is awesome!”

Jostes: I like the East Coast accent that finally…

Somerville: Yeah, thank you!…that just came out in the open and I’m like, “that’s my mother talking.”

That’s something people freak out about… when you hear or think about an alternative break program, in the leadership, most folks have had some of these experiences themselves… so if you don’t see that among your group instantly, don’t worry. But if you’re really not seeing it after awhile, maybe you need to make some things happen.

Other things not to sweat… Weather.… Plan for all kinds of weather and hope that it’s 65 and sunny the entire time. We were here last year for an ice storm, and were literally here all day because the city shut down and that wasn’t something I planned on. You all obviously didn’t plan on it… that actually hit one year ago today.

Jostes: Well, happy one-year anniversary of the ice storm!

Somerville: And so that wasn’t part of my agenda at all, so you just have to roll with it and be ok with it.

Jostes: What do you see as the future of Alternative Breaks and Service Learning?

Somerville: Well, unfortunately I think there’s always going to be a need – service is always going to be needed. We’re always going to need to serve others. Which is both a cool thing and sad at the same time. We’re going to continue having natural disasters and we’re already not keeping up with them. I don’t think I’ve worked myself out of my job yet.

What I would really like to see is making things more accessible to everyone, and that’s something I struggle with. I hate that I have to charge money to students to do service. And so, I want there to be more opportunities for everyone to experience this because there’s so much value added.

The opportunity to travel 17 hours away from your home is huge… we just know how important seeing a different area and a different culture… how good that is for you. I would like to see universities, churches, figure out how to make this an opportunity that everyone has access to.

Stevenson University students cut siding on an SBP worksite.

I think this is going to continue. It’s funny you call it an Alternative Break program, because it’s an alternative to the norm. The norm is to go to Cozumel or Cancun and drink your face off…

In this day and age with the rise of overdoses, I’m hoping that we hit this tipping point where we realize that maybe this out-of-control partying is not exactly what we need any more. I would love to see maybe a 50-50 split between who does a wild break for Spring Break and who does a service trip. Maybe that’s influencing more classes to take on a role with this… so Stevenson defines service-learning as service within a classroom. And so [according to this definition] what we do here is not service-learning, we’re just doing strict service. But if I taught a class with it, and then they received credit as part of it, then that’s service-learning according to Stevenson. So I’m wondering if that’s the piece.

The rising cost of tuition… and on college campuses people are trying to get out in four years. I was a five-year plan student, but my college didn’t cost… over $50,000. That’s a whole ‘nother blog.

So, if there was a more of a push besides an altruistic spirit, or just wanting to do something different… it’s interesting because at Stevenson we don’t have a lot of students that go to Cozumel… that’s not who our student population is. Our students often just go home (on break), often to work… I really don’t know what they do there, but they’re really not going on these partying vacations like some other places… like I did at JMU.

Jostes: You know, the last three or four years now we’ve actually had a pretty decent JMU volunteer crowd.

Somerville: Awesome. They’re so great. Everything I did with Mission: I’m Home is based on my experiences with JMU. It’s interesting because my JMU experience was a typical Alternative Break program, where you went to an area based on a cause. MIH only does rebuilding work, so it’s a little different. But anyway, the whole concept of going somewhere for a week and serving others was definitely, I ripped it off of JMU.

[Pause]

I just had like a call and three text messages from my dad… ok everything’s fine.

“I was thinking, why do I relate to students so well? I think it’s because I have no shame, first of all, when it comes to dancing. Or really anything.”

Jostes: Anything else you feel like you want to add to all that? No pressure.

Somerville: The only thing I was thinking… I was thinking, why do I relate to students so well? I keep getting older, right, but they still keep liking me a whole lot. I think it’s because, I have no shame, first of all, when it comes to dancing, or really anything.

That’s not true, I have shame. But I have no shame when it comes to dancing. And I know a lot of different songs and genres of music. Music helps bond… I can do lots of kinds of music. Today on the way home we really busted out Living on a Prayer, Build Me Up Buttercup, some Cardi B song that talks about cardio (and that’s the only one I know)…

Jostes: I Like It?

Somerville: Yeah! And we also rocked out to some Toby Keith. And I could play along with all of those things. And so I think it’s important that perhaps chaperones or staff should make sure that they’re up… That’s another pro-tip: Have every student submit their hype song, and make a trip playlist of all of those songs. So even if you’re on different job sites and different vans, we all listen to the same music and it’s another way of bonding.

Jostes: Thank you very much for sharing!

Somerville: Thank you!

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