By Samantha Gillis
Staff reporter

Departing at 4:30 p.m, Jan. 5, and landing at 10:30 p.m. in San Diego’s Lindberg Field Airport, is how the leadership team will commence their annual team trip. Each year one person from the third year leadership plans a service learning trip for the entire team. This year the team wanted to do a nature trip. Kathryn Gomez, communication junior got to work.

Thirty seven plane tickets, well 38 plane tickets later Gomez stumbled upon her first blunder. “I ordered an extra plane ticket,” she said. But that problem will have to wait. “If we can’t find someone to go, the ticket will just have to be paid for from the budget at the end of the year,” Gomez said.

Luckily, Gomez said, “Everything is done.”  Which is good since the trip is in a month.

Once the team gets there they will be staying at a church in La Mesa which is a suburb of San Diego. “The church operates off of donations and we will be staying in the gymnasium with sleeping bags,” Gomez said.

The team will be volunteering at La Mesa Mission Trails Regional Park, for several days. “Taggart Wall (philosophy & religious studies junior,) helped me find the service learning project,” she said.

Beyond the work aspect Gomez has coordinated some entertaining events. “It’s difficult because we are on a budget so I had to find a lot of free activities,” she said. Whale watching, hiking, a bonfire and being on the beach doesn’t sound too shabby to Lyndsie Oathout, biology senior. “I am excited just to see the beauty of California,” she said. Oathout has never ventured into the “golden state” before.

“I can’t wait to see Hollywood,” Oathout said. The seven leadership seniors will arrive in Los Angeles two days earlier than the rest of the crew. It’s been a tradition for several years for the seniors to have an extended trip, so they can spend extra time together on their last trip. After the two days the seniors will take a train to San Diego to meet up with their team.

There are a few must brings for the members. A good pair of walking shoes and outdoor clothes is what Gomez suggests.

“I can’t leave without my camera. That wouldn’t be good if I forgot it,” Oathout said.

Kaley Rodriguez, elementary education freshman on the other hand has some concerns of her own. “Being lost or separated from the group,” said Rodriguez.

But Oathout assures there has not been anyone completely lost from the group in past years. “Nothing major ever happens just a few kinks along the way,” she said.

Although some kinks are expected with such a large group Oathout thinks the team can handle it. “We travel well. Mostly because when we have a problem we just find a way to fix it, and we always have each other’s backs,” she said.

Gomez is just hoping it all goes smoothly. “To be honest I just want it to be done,” she said.

The team will soar back to Wichita Jan. 10 just in time for classes to start.

Samantha Gillis is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at