Grand Canyon Service Learning

Name: Lucy Daugherty

Type of Project: Service Learning and Community Service


  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

As a group, we embarked on this journey to step outside of our comfort zones and to help people along the way.  We started at Palatki Heritage Site, which is an archeological site that inhabits cliff dwellings and ancient pictographs.  We worked with the volunteers there to preserve the area in order to keep the history rich in culture.  We worked on their trails keeping them walkable and in good shape in order to keep people from veering off trails.  We also volunteered at Yavapai food council where we packed weekend food bags for kids who might not have the opportunity to eat over the weekend while they are at home.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

This trip helped me grow in a number of different ways.  First of all, the service that we did was so appreciated by the people we were helping, making it so worth it.  The volunteers who lived at the Heritage Site could not thank us enough for the three or four days that we were there to help them.  Our help allowed them to focus on other parts of the heritage site and allowed them more time to give tours to people who were interested in learning more about the way the Native Americans lived back then.  At Yavapai Food Council, one lady started crying because she was so moved that our group was interested in helping out because she once lived in a home where food was hard to come by.  Seeing people’s reactions to our volunteer work made me realize how important it is to help people whenever you can.  It may not mean so much to you, but it will mean a great deal to the people you are helping.

This trip made me realize that life is not all about yourself, it is about helping people whenever you can.  It is about giving back where and when you can.  It is about meeting new people and learning from their experiences or just learning from their outlook on life.  Life is about stepping out of your comfort zones in order to gain more experience, which is exactly what I did.


  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

As I previously mentioned, one of the most inspiring and worthwhile parts of the trip was the reaction to our service.  I did not expect them to be so heart warmed by our service, but that just shows that not enough people volunteer to help them out.  This really stuck with me and has encouraged me to volunteer whenever I can.  The world needs more people who will sacrifice their time to better another organization or community.

One of the hardest parts of that trip was hiking six miles out of the Grand Canyon starting at two o’clock in the morning.  This was actually the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and it clearly showed.  I was the slowest in my group, so our group leaders encouraged me to go in the front because we are only as fast as our slowest member.  This made me believe in the power of teamwork and encouragement.  Everyone in my group was encouraging each other, not getting mad when people asked for breaks, and all in all were the reason that I was able to make it to the top of that gruesome hike.  I will never forget their support and the rejoice we had at the end, they made me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Lastly, what affected me the most was one girl in my group who was so similar to me that we connected from the start.  She realized from something I had said in the big group that I had anxiety, just like her.  She pulled me aside and we had gotten to talking about it on a deep, personal level.  She is two years younger than me but inspires me to this day.  I am incredibly grateful that I met her, as she has taught me so much about life, compassion and the importance of service and kindness.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.


Transformation and change is valuable in my life because I am the type of person that is just content with the same old, same old.  I am terrified of planes, I do not like to be in a group of people that I do not know, and I do not like to travel away from home.  All three of those things were included in my week-long trip through Buck-I-SERV, and I am so grateful they were.  I learned so much and met so many people along the way that made it all worthwhile.  As always, I was more shy towards the beginning.  However, towards the middle and end of the week, I was having a really good time and making friends with everyone on the trip.

I am confident that this trip will help me in my future because it allowed me to branch out, make new friends, and be put out of my comfort zone.  I was displaced from comfort so much during that trip. But, I came out on top.  I made it out alive, and I had a great time.  Without that experience, I may have had a negative outlook on social interactions forever.  I am happy that I did this because it gives me a positive future to look forward to knowing I can handle these situations. 

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