Once Upon a Time Breakaway

Quartz Arrowhead

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice." ~ Cherokee Proverb
Nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest in East Tennessee is a wilderness retreat called...
Once Upon ~ a ~ Time Wilderness Adventures - HOMEBreakaway
A magical place where Cherokee
Once made their home
Where eagles nest
And bear still roam

Once Upon a Time Breakaway Once Upon a Time Breakaway Once Upon a Time Breakaway Once Upon a Time Breakaway Once Upon a Time Breakaway Once Upon a Time Breakaway Once Upon a Time Breakaway
Respect….take only what you need….the earth is Our Mother….the Fish Game….we do not have a word in our language for goodbye. These are some of the many things you will learn from the Cherokee people.

Smoky Mountains - click to enlarge
The Great Smoky Mountains
Hard work….get dirt on your hands….challenge yourself to do things you've never done before….rescue trees….clean up creeks….repair a trail….plant trees….build something….make and can blackberry jam….split firewood….plant a garden. These are some of the many things you will experience volunteering at Once Upon A Time, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Sequoyah Museum.

Play….make new friends….learn about different cultures….plunge into a cold mountain creek….swap tall tales around the bonfire….learn to "give and take" with your group members….walk through the woods at night….sing the Native American Morning Song each morning to greet the new day. These are some of the things you will do with your fellow Breakaway adventurers.

Once Upon A Time is an approved host site for Breakaway, a national nonprofit organization linking college students with communities to perform service projects addressing a variety of social, cultural, and environmental needs. We were named 2007 Host Site of the Year and were one of five finalists for 2010 Host Site of the Year.
Rafting the Ocoee River - click to enlarge
We have been working with Breakaway groups since 1996. For more information about Breakaway, visit their website at www.alternativebreaks.org.

Our mission focuses on the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, the environment, and rural Appalachia. We cooperate with several area agencies and communities: the Snowbird Cherokee community in Robbinsville, NC, Cherokee National Forest, Sequoyah Museum, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A unique aspect of our program is that we offer a variety of service projects during the week. A typical week involves one day in the Snowbird Cherokee community, one day in either Cherokee National Forest or Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and one day homesteading at Once Upon A Time or volunteering at Sequoyah Museum.

Rafting the Ocoee River - click to enlarge
We are located on 40 acres in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, about 30 minutes southeast of Maryville, Tennessee. There are no streetlights or traffic lights here. Maybe your cell phone will work and maybe it won't. But we do have spectacular mountain vistas, abundant wildlife, and good old Appalachian mountain hospitality.

2018 News and Notes
We are blessed to have been able to host alternative break groups again in 2018. We scaled back to one school per week and with the help of our grandchildren and program assistants Wanda DeWaard and Britney Brightwell, a great time was had by all. We added a new site location for Fall breaks in 2018. We will host groups in a cabin at 4,000 ft. on Roan Mountain in Tennessee. Agencies we will work with may include Roan Mountain State Park, Cherokee National Forest, Hampton Creek State Natural Area, and Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club which maintains the Appalachian Trail. There will be a change in the program for 2019. We are reducing our fee to deduct food cost and groups will be responsible for planning and preparing their own meals in their cabin. We thoroughly enjoy working with these young people and the agencies definitely want and need our continued help, so we will keep on keepin’ on.

Video: Ohio State students build hiking trail in Snowbird Cherokee community.

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