Spring Break is a much-needed break from rigorous college classrooms, hours of required reading, and ordinary daily activities. This week long break has become known as a time to travel to exotic places and "live it up." OCF's Real Break gives you an opportunity to really live it up and be a light to the world! For over a decade, OCF has organized trips all over the world, sending college-aged young adults to serve the needs of others.
Your Real Break experience will challenge you in many ways, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You will walk away with a life-transforming experience that will not only re-charge your batteries for school, but it will feed your soul and allow you to better understand your own vocation or calling in life.
One of the most important items that you will need to bring with you is a positive attitude. It will make or "break" your experience. It can be the biggest difference between a nice trip that helped a few people, and the trip of a lifetime that not only changed and improved the lives of others, but changed your life as well. It may be difficult to see now, but this experience really does have the potential to change your life. Let it do so! Open your heart to God and be open to all that He will show, teach and reveal to you.
Some other items you'll need to pack for this trip . . . patience! Some say it is a virtue, however, to succeed in serving God, it is a must. It is a fact that when people are trying to do God's work and grow in their spiritual lives, the evil one will do all he can to prevent it from happening. There may be times on your trip that may be frustrating and testing, but it is very necessary to be patient and remember that, as gold is purified when it is put through the fire, the human person is also purified when he patiently endures trials!
Another important item is prayer. Communication with our Lord is essential for any serious Christian seeking to grow closer to Him and experience His love. By taking the time to pray for your trip and continue in prayer during your trip, both alone and with your group, your heart will soften to see Christ in each person that you serve.
Please note that the following information may change from trip to trip, but is given so that you may better understand the ministry you are about to begin. Oh, another item to bring . . . flexibility!
Real Break Team
Each Real Break team is made up of a group of college-aged young adults and a priest leader. At times, an experienced layperson may assist in coordinating the Real Break team. The activities and projects are organized as a group and not individually, because Real Break is about sharing Christ's love and having fun as part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
Each day, you will gather with your teammates to "debrief" the day's events and come together in fellowship and communal prayer. The priest will lead the team in this sharing and will offer tools to assist you in your journey.
The cost of each Real Break trip will differ depending on location, modes of transportation, accommodations, activities, etc. Please make sure you read the Trip Packet for the specific Real Break you will be participating in.
For trips traveling outside of North America, the OCF Office will book your international flight (which is included in your trip cost). Real Break participants are responsible for booking their own domestic flight. The domestic flight is NOT included in the trip cost, but can be reimbursed later (see below for details). Information on booking times and dates can be found in your Trip Packet.
Please note the following:
- 1. The full trip cost must be received in the OCF office by January 30, 2012.
- 2. Baggage fees may apply, please check your domestic airline's baggage allowance. OCF will not cover baggage fees.
- 3. Please update domestic flight information through our online registration as soon as it scheduled AND email a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your domestic flight can be reimbursed if the RB participant fundraises more than the trip cost by the time he/she leaves for their trip. The OCF Office will then mail a check with the excess funds, up to the total cost of the domestic flight, to the participant. The check cannot exceed the cost of the domestic flight. Here is an example of the reimbursement process:
- 1. John Naser goes to Romania and books a flight for $250 to New York/JFK. He updates his domestic flight information through our online registration and emails the itinerary to email@example.com.
- 2. The trip cost for Romania is $1,600, but John raises $1,900 by the time he leaves (March 9).
- 3. The OCF Office mails a check for $250 to John Naser to cover the domestic flight. The remaining amount of $50 will be divided between a donation to the group being served in Romania and covering OCF Real Break operating costs.
Participants from Canada
Because the Canadian Government does not recognize the non-profit status of organizations in the United States, the processing of the donations for your trip will be different. In order to receive a tax-deductible donation, your donors will need to give the raised funds to your local Church, who in turn will write a check to OCF.
Cancellations must be received in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 30, 2012. At this time, participants will forfeit their $150 deposit. If a participant cancels after January 30, 2012, he/she may be responsible for the full cost of their international flight if the trip is not filled by other participants. OCF is not responsible for the cost of any domestic flights booked by the participant. OCF reserves the right to use the credit card on file for any incurred costs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Policies
Is there a minimum number of participants per trip?
Yes, the minimum number varies per trip. If the minimum number of participants is not reached by four weeks prior to the trip date of departure, OCF will cancel the trip.
Are passports required?
With the exception of RB Houston, a valid US passport is required to enter and depart our Real Break destinations, including Canada and Mexico.
What happens if I do not raise enough money to participate?
We ask that every participant who is fundraising give his or her best effort. You will need to fundraise the full trip cost in its entirety by January 30, 2012. Otherwise, you will not be able to participate and must forfeit your $150 deposit and may be responsible for the cost of an international flight. However, as you fundraise and encounter difficulty, please let us know, as we can help and guide you with advice, ideas and encouragement.
Tobacco and Alcohol Policies
On all of our Real Break trips, we are guests and examples as Orthodox Christians and Americas. Respectfully, we ask that that all Real Break participants refrain from all forms of tobacco usage. Also, please refrain from buying tobacco products when shopping. If, because of habitual use you feel you may be unable to stop for the week, please inform your trip leader.
Additionally, we ask that all Real Break participants refrain from possession and consumption of alcohol, including purchasing it upon reentry into the country. Possession of alcohol (and Cuban cigars) can jeopardize the groups' processing through US Customs and risk stiff fines.
In case of an emergency during the Real Break trip, the North American Office will be receiving phone calls 24 hours per day at 800.919.1OCF (1623).
Download 2012 Real Break Participant Information (PDF Format)