AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Class XVII
Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.- Mahatma Gandhi Thank you Class XVII for your Year of Service. Continue to carry the AmeriCorps commitment from this moment on. Thank you to AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Atlantic Region Staff for your continuous empowerment of members year after year. Thank you to the sponsors of 2011 without you service would be impossible. You are truly an inspiration, keep holding onto that passion for change. And a special thank you to Gary Brown who generously supports with his time and effort to print this yearbook; in association with C.S.P.C.C. (Research).
Team Photographs and Articles contributed by Class XVII Teams. Book produced, designed and edited by Laura Mack, Community Relations Support Team Leader 1
The AmeriCorps Pledge I will get things done for America to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done. 2
Table of Contents: Alumni Message
Class XVII Members
Sponsors of the Class XVII
Selected Highlights & Accomplishments
Class XVII Directory
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Images from Team Leader Training
Images from Team Leader Training
Images from Corps Institute Training
Images from Corps Institute Training
Images from Transitions
Images from Transitions
Class XVII Members
Team Leaders: Green Team Danielle Arroyo Moose 4
Ambrosia Barnette Raven 2
JJ Beggs Moose 6
Marlee Cea Buffalo 3
Julian Cesner Raven 7
Lia Daniels Buffalo Unit Support
Rachel Duffin Buffalo 6
Hunter Griendling Raven 5
Amelia Hansen Raven 4
Katrina Hill Buffalo 5
Allen Hunt Moose 2
Jamie Inarda Moose 3
Melissa Jabat Programs Support
Kevin Jones Raven 1
Caleb Kulfan Buffalo 4
Bradley Lehman Moose Unit Support
Laura Mack Community Relations Support
Chris Quirk Operations Support
Constantino Rago Buffalo 2
Megan Riley Buffalo 1
I will get things done for America 16
Getting Things Done Griffith Ryan-Roberts Raven 6
John Serbell Buffalo 7
Matt Slavics Moose 7
Leeann Sudol Raven 3
Raven Unit Support
Katie Veys Moose 1
Heather Waters Moose 5
to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. 17
Corps Members: Class Seventeen Andrew Allmendinger
Amanda Ambrass Moose 2
Eliza Bazilian Moose 1
Erick Benson Buffalo 6
Patrick Berning-Oâ€˜Neill Buffalo 7
Maria Biava Moose 2
Wiley Biro Raven 5
Nathan Bishop Buffalo 4
Christopher Blankenship Moose 2
Shea Boughton Moose 7
Naiemah Brown Moose 3
Maria Browning Raven 6
I will bring Americans together 18
Getting Things Done Ella Chalmers Raven 5
Jaâ€˜Lissa Chandler Moose 5
Tracy Choomack Buffalo 4
Brandon Clark Moose 7
Barry Clark, Jr. Buffalo 3
Daniel Clesowich Raven 4
Alyssa Cobb Moose 3
Michael Collins Moose 4
Hurley Combs Moose 1
Sara Conner Moose 6
Briana Courchesne-Owades Buffalo 2
Ciara Creasman Moose 7
Anthony Crowe Moose 5
Robert Cuff Buffalo 1
Carl Danielson Raven 7
George Davis Buffalo 6
Katherine Davis Moose 4
Zachary Dech Raven 7
Jared DeGraff Moose 4
Aja Devlin Raven 4
to strengthen our communities. 19
Corps Members: Class Seventeen Wesley Dexter Moose 2
Emily Donnel Buffalo 6
Hannah Easley Raven 4
Ashley Elsasser Buffalo 3
Alexandra Felt Moose 4
Katherine Figura Buffalo 5
Patrick Fitzgerald Moose 3
Joshua Foli Raven 7
Elizabeth Foster Raven 3
Bethany Fournier Moose 3
Tristan Fowler Raven 1
Eric Fox Raven 1
Melanie Fuqua Raven 3
Britteny Galla Moose 6
Brooke Gates Moose 2
Faced with apathy, 20
Getting Things Done William Gonsler Buffalo 6
Rebekah Gougeon Moose 1
Madeline Gribbon Raven 1
Owen Haller Raven 4
Mark Hartman Moose 3
Ryan Hatem Raven 1
Megan Hill Moose 3
Benton Holmes Buffalo 2
Dâ€˜angelo Hopkins Raven 6
Jennifer Hoyle Raven 2
Chelsea Hurst Buffalo 3
Joseph Ijams Buffalo 4
Michael Jacobson Moose 7
Robert Jarrett Raven 7
Courtney Johnson Moose 4
Latasha Johnson Raven 1
Logan Jones Raven 4
Lauryn Kaczor Buffalo 1
Richard Kappler Raven 2
Alyson Keefer Raven 2
I will take action. 21
Corps Members: Class Seventeen Ariel Keeton Raven 7
R.G. Evan Kerschner
Nicholas King Moose 3
Melissa Kleppinger Moose 2
Thomas Koester Moose 5
Michael Kostek Buffalo 1
Tenaya Lamon-Anderson Buffalo 3
Rachel Lantz Moose 6
Derwin Lee Buffalo 7
Ellen Leoni Raven 1
Paul Logan Raven 6
Devin Manning-Riley Buffalo 7
Colin May Raven 7
Harley McCarter Moose 6
Maria Medina Moose 7
Faced with conflict, 22
Getting Things Done Haley Meshnik Moose 2
Bradley Meyer Moose 7
John Miller Buffalo 4
Jacob Miller Moose 4
Courtney Miskell Raven 6
Angela Morabito Buffalo 2
Morgan Morris Raven 4
David Mueller Raven 4
Dania Munnigh Raven 6
Eileen Munsch Buffalo 1
Sophia Neil Raven 7
Adeliah Nero Raven 4
Kendrick Nicholas Buffalo 2
Cecilia Ochoa Raven 6
Dennis Oâ€˜Madigan Raven 5
Nolan Orme Moose 2
Evan Owen Moose 3
David Pergamit Moose 5
Roxann Phelan Moose 3
Ben Pritchard Raven 3
I will seek common ground. 23
Corps Members: Class Seventeen Andrew Proctor Buffalo 3
Josh Romero Raven 5
Samantha Saladino Buffalo 4
Aubrey Sedor Buffalo 1
Preston Sharpe Buffalo 7
Amanda Skalicky Buffalo 6
Patrick Skovira Buffalo 2
Kelsey Smith Raven 1
Stephanie Snyder Moose 1
Tiffany Solis Buffalo 3
Faced with adversity, 24
Getting Things Done Kathryn Squyres Raven 7
Darren Steptoe Raven 6
Bethany Stolz Moose 7
Lyndsey Sturkey Raven 6
Lisa Sullivan Moose 4
Analisa Sutherland Buffalo 4
Katherine Szymaszek Moose 5
Gillian Taylor Raven 7
Larissa Taylor Moose 1
Tiffany Taylor Buffalo 6
Marcus Thibault Raven 1
Jasmine Thomas Raven 3
Steffi Tornow Buffalo 7
Elisabeth Valdez Buffalo 5
Gregory Venturini Buffalo 3
Anthony Wadas Buffalo 3
Heather Webster Raven 4
Michael Wessely Moose 2
Kiera Westfall Raven 5
I will persevere. 25
Corps Members: Class Seventeen Aurora White
Brandon Wilfrom Moose 6
Dominique Wilson Buffalo 4
Nicole Wojcik Moose 7
Jillian Young Buffalo 7
Joshua Young Moose 6
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. 26
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Round 1 March-April 2011 Academy of Success
Groundwork Hudson Valley
Blue Water Baltimore
Habitat for Humanity Chesapeake
Camden Children‘s Garden
Habitat for Humanity DC
City Neighbors Charter School
Habitat for Humanity New Castle County
Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach
Habitat for Humanity New Orleans
Irvine Nature Center
Delaware District 1 Little League
Kayam Farm at Pearlstone
Delaware State Parks
Maryland Veterans Administration
Delaware State Parks – Disaster Mitigation NVR
New Castle County Special Services
Elk Neck State Forest
Raccoon Creek State Park
FIRST Chesapeake Regional
Rebuilding Together Baltimore
The Nature Conservancy of Vermont
Girl Scouts of Central Maryland
Trail Blazer Camps
Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay
U.S Fish and Wildlife
Greater DC Cares
United Saints Recovery Project
Round 2 April-June 2011 Academy of Success
Alabama Service Commission
National Park Service
All Hands Disaster Response – Project Alabama
New Castle County Special Services
American Red Cross - Mississippi
New York Services Department of Environmental Conservations – Albany
Bay Area Food Bank Camden Children‘s Garden
New York Services Department of Environmental Conservations – Long Island City
Capital Area Food Book
Catskills Animal Sanctuary
Spaulding Fire/ Emergency Management Agency
City Neighbors Charter School
Stone Soup Leadership
City of Buffalo
Temporary Emergency Services
City of Springfield Federal Emergency Management Agency - Alabama
The Marion Institute The Nature Conservancy of Vermont
Girl Scouts of Central Maryland
Town of Port Deposit
Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay
Trail Blazer Camps
Greater DC Cares
U.S Fish and Wildlife
Greene County Emergency Management Agency
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Groundwork Hudson Valley
Vermont Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster
Groundwork Somerville Hope for Kids
Wakeman Boys and Girls Club
Lackawanna Heritage Valley
Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
Maryland Veterans Administration
YMCA Camp Letts 31
Round 3 July-August 2011 Alabama Service Commission
National Veterans Wheelchair Games
All Hands Disaster Response – Project Alabama
New Castle County Parks
Baltimore City Swim Club
New Castle County Parks
Camden Children‘s Garden
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Emergency Services Unit
Camp Brown Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington DC Catskill Animal Sanctuary
New York Services Department of Environmental Conservations – Albany NorthBay Adventure
Raccoon Creek State Park
City Neighbors Charter School
City of Buffalo
Town of Port Deposit
Delaware State Parks
Town of Sanford
Franklin Watershed Committee Greene County Emergency Management Agency Groundwork Hudson Valley Mary Johnson Children Center Summer Program Maryland Veterans Administration
U.S Fish and Wildlife Valley Forge National Historical Park Vermont Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster Walker County Coalition for the Homeless
Massachusetts Audubon Society
Round 4 September-November 2011 Academy of Success
All Hands Disaster Response – Project Catskills
New York Services Department of Environmental Conservations – Long Island City
American Red Cross – New Jersey
New York Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
American Red Cross – North Dakota Blue Water Baltimore
Camp Hope for Kids
Raccoon Creek State Park
City of Bangor
Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve Federal Emergency Management Agency – Burlington/Stockbridge Federal Emergency Management Agency – Springfield
Rhode Island Disaster Response Rhode Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster The Loading Dock The Marion Institute
Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay
Greater DC Cares
Town of Bristol
Habitat for Humanity Allegheny
U.S Fish and Wildlife
Habitat for Humanity Greater Portland
Volunteer New Hampshire
Habitat for Humanity New Castle County
Walker County Coalition for the Homeless
Habitat for Humanity Seven Rivers Jackson/DeKalb County Long Term Recovery Group
Wells National Estuarine Research YMCA Camp Letts
Kayam Farm at Pearlstone 33
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Buffalo Unit Unit Leader Sharon Kellogg
Buffalo One: Round 1
Buffalo 1 worked for FIRST and City Neighbors for our first round. For the first week of our round we worked for the FIRST Robotics competition and we learned how smart the youth of America is. After the robots we went to work in Baltimore to work for City Neighbors Charter schools. We spent five weeks demoing the top floors of this charter school so that City Neighbors can expand and give the children of Baltimore more options when picking where they want to go to school. Buffalo 1 grew as a team on this round, experiencing one wild ride together and will continue to grow and learn from each other in the 3 rounds to come. We can sum up Round 1 with these simple words: Live, Learn, Laugh.
Amongst the majestic woods and the Potomac River; Hot days we spent sweating come night time we‘d shiver; Calm and peaceful we were to be from the city delivered; A busy day was never more fulfilling; A feeling of wonder lifted our hearts though the ceiling; As we walked through D.C. to see historical buildings; Our jaws dropped at Great Falls as we hiked to go plant; To see water and trees with a power unknown to man; And be part of a movement that many people can‘t; We traveled the Parkway, removed the invasive; Grabbed our shovels and reintroduced the natives; Redwing black birds, cardinals, and copperhead snakes;
But farewell Virginia we hope your beauty only grows ; For we were chosen to go where the mighty wind blows; We arrived in Alabama, the land of the crimson tide; With intentions to help and a passionate pride; Amongst people who had lost and those that found; That to help and love each other makes our world go round; We felt a love more powerful than what ripped those trees from the ground;
To find folks from all around helping it was simply profound; We may not be there to finish and weren‘t there at the start of it; But it‘s an ongoing process and we‘re proud to be part of it; We are young in this life…here to help others And to discover the heart of it.
Buffalo One: Round 2
All call home this place where we thrusted our rakes ;
Buffalo One: Round 3
Buffalo 1 is here to get things done for America! No offering to give homeowners massages Always impose on homeowners at meal times No clipping nails at work Brush your teeth before or after work, not during No farting in front of the sponsor, if you canâ€˜t hold it please excuse yourself Limit bathroom breaks to 10 minutes No peeing next to the tent Proper uniform includes sleeves Last one to the dumpster has to drive home
This page is dedicated to Jabroni, you will never be replaced
We came to Maine for our final round, We were in awe with what we found, Two stove tops, two ovens, a sink, a fridge, and a table, To make extravagant dinners, we were finally able, Mike thought we were going up to Alaska, He brought his long johns, his parka, and then got sent on disaster, Megan loves lobster, don‘t ask why, I don‘t know, Just get your lobster, and send it back to Idaho, Maine‘s not that cold let‘s keep it real, Lauryn went to work, she didn‘t complain, But she still thinks that Burlington is cooler than Maine, Rob studied the calendar as if there were something to learn, And got excited just to see the leaves turn, Andrew wore a bandana and has beautiful hair, He got excited about the little things when no one else cared, Eileen enjoyed the nice town and climbed the rock wall, And has recovered well from her unfortunate fall, Justin was quiet, always on his new phone, It was a smart one, it kept us updated and made us feel less alone, The whole team performed well making storm windows for folks, We smiled and laughed a lot we were all full of jokes, Habitat was a great project; we‘ve had so much fun, It‘s weird to think of the year passed and all the things that we‘ve done, We‘ve come a long way, had good and bad days, With so much learned along the way it‘s time to go our own ways, Goodbye, Tuscaloosa to Maine and everywhere in between, I‘ll forever know what it means to be part of a team, Thank you AmeriCorps, now I‘m a big duck, So long, farewell, goodbye, and good luck!
Buffalo One: Round 4
Aubrey is cool, she knew the deal,
Buffalo Two: Round 1
On our first spike, we had the pleasure of learning several new tasks. Our first week in New Jersey was spent at beautiful Trail Blazers camp working to make sure the grounds and buildings were ready come summer time. We successfully moved and reorganized a library of over 4,000 books, cleared out camp spaces, cleared trails, put up signs, cleaned out rooms, did demolition on buildings, and other general cleanup work. The beginning of our second week we worked at our home base camp Vacamas doing similar projects, we built picnic benches out of two by fours, painted bathrooms and hallways in main buildings, and tore up and cleaned the gymnasium floor. Towards the end of the week our sponsoring organization had an emergency situation where the staff walked out from one of their after school programs in Newark, NJ and we were called upon to help staff the program. For the next three weeks our days were long and usually very hectic. Every day we had work crew from 9-12 doing some more camp work such as building more benches, invasive species removal, digging a ditch, splitting wood and garbage clean up. Then weâ€˜d have a break from 12:00-1:30 to get ready for our afternoon adventures at McKinley School where the after school program was held. It took us an hour to get there every day and once we got there we worked from 2:30-6 with the kids. We were all split up between grades. We also helped to run activities. There was a new challenge each day and they kept us on our toes. This project taught us all a lot about ourselves and our limits and has brought us much closer together as a team.
Buffalo Two: Round 2
We started out close to home, working with the VA Hospital in Perry Point, MD. In our first week and a half we succeeded in becoming very skilled painters, tackling long hallways of crazy colors such as Oyster Shell and Teal Zeal. A week into the project one of our teammates, Brie, was called to be on Thunder 1, the first disaster composite team. We were only slightly jealous as we patiently waited for our own call down. About a week later we got our wish. We received the news in our van after work by Chappy telling us to make sure we ate all the food in our fridge. Needless to say B2 was beyond excited at the prospect of getting to go help where we were most needed. We had a wonderful journey down to ‗Bama. We arrived to our new digs, a campground/ archaeological park in Moundville, AL about 35 minutes away from our worksite in Tuscaloosa. The girls were in one tent and the boys were in another and we had a pretty awesome kitchen setup, complete with mini-fridges and tiny propane stoves. Our first day in Tuscaloosa we took a tour where we saw overwhelming devastation that left us heartbroken. After viewing the destruction with our own eyes it left the team even more motivated to make a difference, and that‘s just what we did starting our first day of work. Our sponsor was a non-profit organization called TES (Temporary Emergency Services) that specializes in trying to help with the financial needs of the community as a whole, whether that means paying for utility bills or handing out food. When the tornado hit they immediately converted to a disaster supply station and set up a warehouse. Very eager to make a change we went to work turning mountains of donations into a manageable distribution center. In addition to physical labor we each got a change to have one on one interaction with storm victims. No matter how hard our days got they could always be improved by finding someone who lost everything just one thing to make them smile. Along the way we gave a few more teammates away to other teams or composites. Christine took a journey to NOLA and Aaron and Patrick got a chance to do more disaster work chain sawing in Tennessee. Looking at the work we have done thus far and how we have grown as a team, Buffalo 2 couldn‘t have had a better round and we hope to continue to help with disaster relief in any way we can in the future.
Buffalo Two: Round 3
Strangely enough we had a bit of dejavu coming into round 3. Buffalo 2 got the chance to pick up right where we had left off before; we got right back to it with our old friends Teal Zeal and King‘s Robe painting the hallways of building 24H. We got the opportunity to meet many veterans on the floor we were painting ( some of them even tried to steal our jobs), we were lucky enough to hear a joke a day and remind a few people a week that B2 had nothing to do with the color selection. We were also lucky enough to have Dan, and awesome former Marine overhear us talking about a PT session early in our first week and volunteer to run a few for us. But it wasn‘t always painting at the VA, our last two weeks were spent working at the greenhouse (perhaps taking some basil and rosemary when nobody was looking), bowling with some veterans, conducting interviews for the library of congress, building a fire pit along with some veterans, and just getting a chance to talk to them and hear their remarkable stories. Buffalo 2 got the chance flee the point at the beginning of the round to CHEP in Washington, D.C. where we did…..even more painting! The housing we were able to paint there was for Veterans looking to transition from rehabilitation to a normal lifestyle. We were all happy to help and some of us even got to see D.C. for the first time. Around mid-round Buffalo 2 got to head to Baltimore County to work with VEX again. This was especially exciting, since we had also worked with them for our mini-spike before first round. We were in charge of resetting the playing fields, setting up and taking down the event and queuing anxious kids from Jr. High. Though it was a good round, B2 was unfortunately forced to separate for some of the time. Benton did not decide to grace us with his presence until the second week. Angela ran off to an island at some point. Brie was swept away to NOLA for a week. Andi, Tomoyo, and Kendrick were on composite teams for three weeks in Alabama (shout outs to Hot Mess 1 and 2!) and Pat was off playing hot shot Fire TL for Phoenix 3. We just kept rolling with the punches and continued to grow even closer as a team!
Buffalo Two: Round 4
Buffalo 2 spent their last round in Vermont State Parks building fences and bridges and rejoicing in each other‘s company, the end. Or at least, that was what they so foolishly allowed themselves to dream of when Papa` first delivered the news of our dream round. And then, it happened. Irene came and swept everything away, including the state of Vermont. During our project review we were informed that not only were the parks flooded but that we couldn‘t even get there if we wanted to, there were closed roads and washed out bridges all over the place. We were perplexed, where would we go? But then news came that we‘d be going to New York to work at the American Red Cross headquarters in White Plains, NY. So we packed our bags for a few weeks, assured that we would be returning after a few weeks to pick up our cold weather clothes and perhaps actually make it up to Vermont. We got to White Plains and walked in to the fanciest hotel we had ever stayed at in Yonkers, NY. Comfy beds, amazing breakfast, civilization! We should have known it wouldn‘t last long. We worked at the ever-hectic Red Cross Shelter about 5 days before it was announced that we would be heading up to Binghamton, NY to run a shelter at Binghamton University. But there was bad news, we were asked to leave two members of our team behind to continue work at headquarters. The decision was made, King Bentonius and Princess Angela were to be left behind. After abrupt and almost tearful goodbyes the remainder of the team left that evening and started work immediately at the shelter. All of them worked straight through the night, and though there are rumors of people falling asleep on the job, they refuse to acknowledge them (photographic evidence be damned). The next 3 weeks were a blur with half the team working 8am-8pm and the others working 8pm-8am. Those working the night shift promptly lost track of dates and time and general and somehow managed to make it through the twilight zone every single night. But all insane things must come to an end and after the shelter finally closed down the team moved on to Upstate New York to Greene and Schoharie counties. Alas! Together again they rejoiced, until they learned the news that not only would they be on separate worksites, they would only get to live together but a few days. ‖Team Greene‖ ran a volunteer reception site in Prattsville, NY and ―Dilophosaurus 1‖ ran a donations warehouse in Schoharie County complete with scary dead birds and gimpy live ones. They dubbed it Jurassic Park and proceeded to have a grand old time there.
Buffalo Three: Round 1
Buffalo 3 had an unforgettable first round. To start off our spike, we headed to Hartly, DE to work for the Delaware District 1 Little League. Our mission was to renovate numerous little league fields throughout the Dover area before their spring seasons began. Throughout the weeks our team had a physical training session with one of the baseball teams, and played an intramural slow pitch softball game. After four weeks of painting, constructing, clearing and renovating little league fields our group had a culminate celebration with our sponsor at a Duckpin Bowling Alley. Our team was the first NCCC group to work with the little league and could not have asked for a better, more motivating sponsor, Miss Sally. We grew an appreciation for all the hard workers that put in all their volunteer time into the success of the little leagues. As for the second part of round one, our team drove to Baltimore, MD and started work with Rebuilding Together Baltimore (RTB). Our team was properly and warmly welcomed to the organization. RTB works with numerous homes throughout the Baltimore area to help renovate homes to low-income homeowners in need. Our mission was to help Rebuilding Together Baltimore prepare for their annual Rebuilding Day, held on April 30th. Our team went house to house inspecting, clearing, priming, and preparing them for the large amount of work to be done. During the process our team got a chance to get to know the homeowners and made many friendships. Our team put in a 14-hour day during the annual Rebuilding Day. Our group did numerous tasks including: overseeing community beautification groups, running errands for the house captains, landscaping, and construction during the day. With our help, RTB was able to renovate 24 houses and bring together 800 volunteers. Sadly, after three weeks of hard work, our team had to leave. Following a reflective brunch with our head sponsor, Bonnie, and after a feast fit for kings, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Perry Point. Our team had a great experience with RTB. Our goals were set from the beginning, and we felt our impact there was apparent and meaningful. We look forward to working with them again in the future.
Buffalo Three: Round 2
Round 2 was an adventure. From gaining a new team mate to journeying to 2 different corners of the country, getting lost and having fun, and constantly moving from one housing arrangement to the next, there was never a dull moment in this round. Our first project brought us all the way up to Vermont to work with the Nature Conservancy. There we worked to restore the natural habitat by planting native trees and removing invasive species. Though the work was often monotonous, we were never bored. As we spent days planting trees or removing weeds, our sponsors taught us about the environment that we worked in, and we learned of native edible plants (yum!) and how to deal with ticks (fun!). We got to hike through the woods on our off-time and even had a fun team builder out there (ask Marlee). Our project was cut short however, as we were called down to Griffin, Georgia to work on tornado relief. In Georgia, we helped with the Spaulding County Fire Department to go out and talk with members of the community and find those who still needed and wanted help, and then to go back and help them remove debris and demolish ruined buildings on their properties. While there, our housing situation was a bit confused initially, but after the initial confusion we were found a more permanent housing solution with a local church. It was not long before our team made it through most of the Fire Departmentâ€˜s work orders, and then we were called to disaster once again. Our team made our way down to Alabama to work with FEMA and Helping Hands and Connecting Cullman. Here we worked with FEMA to get an inventory of all the donated goods in the state, and worked with Helping Hands and Connect Cullman to work on tornado relief for the communities of Birmingham and Cullman respectively. We started off camping in Moundville with so many more NCCC teams who were also called down to Alabama, and then later moved to the Benedictine Sisters Convent to live closer to our work in Birmingham. Later we moved once again to the Hanceville Recreation Center to live closer to our work in Cullman. While on this project, Marlee was called away to lead a composite team in Tennessee (because she is the only TL cool enough to run a chainsaw) and Ashley went with her, and our Buffalo Unit STL Lia Daniels flew in to take her spot. From there we continued to do cleanup work for the people affected by tornadoes and got to work with wonderful volunteers from Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana.
Buffalo Three: Round 3
Round 3 was anything but ordinary. Taking a break from the usual back-breaking work and constant moving around, for the first time B3 got to stay in one place for the whole round (except for Barry and Tony, who left for composite in Alabama), and we got to exercise our brains instead of our massive, massive muscles. For this round, the team went to Torrington, CT to work with the Torrington Area Health District Medical Reserve Corps (TAHD MRC) to help with the MRC‘s disaster preparedness programs. The team stayed in Norfolk where we lived in a three story Victorian-style home in a beautiful neighborhood, just a block from our sponsor‘s house. The team started off working at the MRC‘s office helping to take inventory of MRC equipment and emergency supplies and to create maps of disaster routes to emergency shelters. Eventually, we got to implement a new barcoding system to help our sponsor keep track of the supplies we took inventory of, which aided them to more effectively respond to Hurricane Irene by helping them to locate the supplies that they needed. The team also got to administer a public health survey on iPads! We farmed at two different WWOOfing farms while in CT, and were happily invited back and learned a great deal of information pertaining to self sustainability, organic farming, and the WWOOFing culture. In summation our WWOOfing experience was priceless and most memorable of all ISPs.
As Buffalo 3 packed for their last round, they couldn‘t help but wonder how their last round as ―B3!B3!B3!‖ would be working for Krislund Camp in Madisonburg, PA. Before heading to the camp, the team worked at the Takoma Park Music Festival in Takoma Park, MD to help set up and help run it. The team enjoyed the live music, atmosphere and people they met while working. It was a great start to the last round of their AmeriCorps year! Once the team arrived to Krislund Camp, they could not help but feel spoiled with their large farm house, beautiful view of the mountains, secluded setting, and genuine staff. The team was put to work and utilized all their skills, new and old, doing everything from painting cabin doors to creating a ramp out of posts. The team cleaned up the landscaping of an amphitheater, built staircases and chopped wood as well. Skills such as welding, sanding, and table sawing were quickly learned and utilized at the camp.
Just when we were getting friendlier with some of the clients, we were deployed to Horsham, PA to work with FEMA again and help out flood victims from Hurricane Irene occurred two months prior to our arrival. The Philadelphia area work was similar to what we did in Athens but in a much more urban setting. Working with flood victims was definitely a different experience than our team‘s previous tornado relief work down South, but still definitely an eye-opening experience. To finish off the final AmeriCorps round, Buffalo 3 returned to Krislund Camp in Madisonburg, PA to finish off their project list and spend time reflecting on their time as the legendary Buffalo 3!
Buffalo Three: Round 4
Three weeks into the relaxed, fun-filled round, Marlee told us we‘ve been assigned to work with FEMA in Athens, PA. While staying at a firehouse, our team spent a week mucking, gutting, and cleaning out many FEMA clients‘ homes. There were many stories told about the flooding that occurred a month before B3 had arrived. Even though it had been a month, there were still many basement belongings that had not been touched by the homeowners. Some houses received up to 8-feet high water on their first floor.
Buffalo Four: Round 1
We spent the majority of our round at the Irvine Nature Center in Owens Mills, MD. The area is considered to be part of the Baltimore metropolis and that proximity allowed us to return to Perry Point almost every weekend. As soon as we arrived, The Irvine staff held nothing back in assessing the skill set of Buffalo Four and almost immediately we began our jobs as professional landscapers, with no room for discrepancy. However, it quickly became evident that the rigorous and sometimes challenging tasks of the sponsors were necessary to support the Nature Centerâ€˜s variety of educational programs, and our hearts wouldnâ€˜t allow us to let children down. With an ineffable mood that anticipates the potential joy of working with preschool children and the relentless horror of moving logs, the Buffalo Four team bravely ventures into the unknown every day at 8am EST. Suddenly, a plethora of questions will arise in any given Corps Member: Will I have to lift something heavy today? Of course. Do I know how to install roofing or mix concrete? Give it 20 minutes tops. When will our sponsor Wally come back to the woods to give us a new task? Only time will tell. It is by finding the answers to these nefarious questions that Buffalo Four builds character and challenges what it means to serve and the personal fortitude that brought us to the NCCC in the first place. Planting trees in the freezing rain, navigating through challenging networks of thorns, and sharing sleeping arrangements with an assortment of insects and reptiles are just a few of the tribulations Buffalo Four endured. Fortunately for us, the screeching and sticky benefactors of our work are never too far away, those preschool children are a constant reminder and motivational tool. The topic will now abruptly shift to the FIRST Robotics Competition for High School students in Washington, D.C. The general theme of the event was crowd control. Just walk around and act like you know something so that the high school-ers fall in line. We handled it with ease, and we had a lot of time to soak up the very foreign atmosphere and enjoy three delicious catered meals a day.
Then the six remaining members packed up our stuff and headed for Tuscaloosa, AL. We also added Billy G. from Buffalo 6. Moundville is a small township but very sacred one. Our sponsoring organization was TES, which stands for Temporary Emergency Services. We were assigned to work in a warehouse full of donated goods in nearby Northport, AL. The atmosphere of the warehouse was hectic, with shipments being brought in and out nonstop, and the confusing nature of working with hundreds of different volunteers every day, with only a few familiar faces to guide us through our tasks. Eventually we got a groove going, and we were even assigned to different departments of the warehouse. Tracy managed the Toiletries section, Analisa managed the food section, I was manager of diapers, Leanne was manager of clothes, Nate became the chief grill master and prepared volunteer meals, and Billy drove shipments back and forth with a Budget moving truck. Kevante Reese is not included in this setup because he hurt himself with a palette jack and got deported to the 15th street location in Tuscaloosa where Buffalo 2 and Moose 3 were working.
Buffalo Four: Round 2
Buffalo Force, had a serene and unencumbered work environment at the beginning of 2nd round. We were working at the YMCA‘s Camp Letts, the official YMCA camp of Metropolitan D.C. We had a feast waiting for us at the end of each day, eloquently prepared by the cafeteria cook, Betsy. She will forever be in our hearts. One of the staff members gave us access to a relaxation kingdom Kevante and Joe affectionately dubbed ―the man cave.‖ There was a flat screen TV, two couches, Wi-Fi access, a mini fridge and microwave, and an entire ROCK BAND game setup. A few of us were distraught when some of our team members, John Miller and Kevin Slowe, got pulled from our lush setup to go work in the South on composite disaster teams. It was a shame to see them go, but the man cave and home cooked meals eased the pain quickly.
Buffalo Four: Round 3
Fresh off of disaster in Alabama for two months of round 2, Buffalo 4was ready for their next challenge as round 3 approached. We were of course a little skeptical of eating strictly vegetarian as many of us lived and died for a juicy piece of meat. However, we all decided to travel to New York with an open mind and an open stomach for the changes we would have to make. Upon arrival to CAS, we were surprised with how much land they had and of course their unconditional love for animals. Kathy, Director of CAS was one of the friendliest, caring sponsors we had ever encountered. With her warm hugs and the occasional kiss on the cheek, we felt wanted and appreciated from the moment we stepped foot on the property. We resided in an old farmhouse on the property that was shared with some of the employees on the sanctuary. The kitchen was fantastic and full of supplies and utensils which we were encouraged to take advantage of. All members seemed to have a favorite animal on the farm. Whether it was Abby the blind horse or Amelia, the joyous pig, we all felt a certain connection to one of these formally neglected animals. We had a vast array of projects to do while we were there. We did some lawn maintenance, which included removal of invasive species that the animals were not too fond of eating. In addition we painted, built, and placed the siding on which will become the new educational center on the property. Also, we had the pleasure of painting their newly built barn, which will give CAS the opportunity to board more animals and store their hay without worries of rain ruining it. It was hard work, but we had the opportunity from the director of the kids program—Betsy—to assist in their ―Compassion Trail‖. This activity we shared in the experience of helping kids through the farm, learning about the animals of the farm and the conditions many of them live in when they‘re seen as only food for us humans. Days off were spent exploring the unique area of Saugerties, New York. Twenty minutes away was the town of Woodstock. It was a fun, hippie, small town that was full of vibrant art and interesting shops and people. Located in the Catskills Mountains, we also ventured to do hiking and swimming along the creeks in the mountain and along the Hudson River. A few of us even took the train into New York City for a fun and cultural weekend in the Jamaican section of Brooklyn.
As the ancient folk proverb says, the night is always darkest before the dawn. So begins the scandalous final chapter of the Buffalo Force, where strength and valor are challenged every day against subarctic temperatures, intense isolation, internal rivalries, and the pain of confronting your own mortality.
As if our emotional and moral fortitude wasnâ€˜t breached enough, our brains underwent a radical paradigm shift when the job description went from refurbishing delightfully complacent city parks to confronting a gloomy and unnerving reminder of our own fate as organic matter. I am speaking of course of working in a cemetery. Our days were spent carefully adjusting feeble granite reminders of lives consumed and cashed throughout the fabric of time. Incessant video game playing and trips to the mall were the only activities that could occasionally subvert the onslaught of nihilistic musings and depersonalization that pounded at the fragile membranes of our psyche. Although the entity known as Buffalo Four will be dissolved by the time you read these memoirs, never underestimate the sacrifices they made in pursuit of national service.
Buffalo Four: Round 4
The nights began to get cold in Bangor, Maine around October. The days got shorter too, and waking hours were eventually accompanied with a frosty chill that seemed to permeate your bones and destroy whatever stamina and morale you were trying to keep secure from the clutches of this relentlessly savage world. It also became apparent that the trail work we were doing was not intellectually challenging, so it was only a matter of time before our fallible minds craved release and uncharacteristically circulated notions of animosity and beastly temperament. Sometimes the only glimmer of hope came from the rewards of elementary school soccer coaching, a position that five members of the Buffalo Force came to regularly participate. It was almost as if their smiling, precocious faces were enough to make it alright, provided that on occasion they werenâ€˜t throwing soccer balls at your head or crying hysterically.
Buffalo Five: Round 1
We were stationed in Ol‘ Perry Point, MD for our first spike. We worked at multiple parks in the area including Elk Neck State Forest, Elk Neck State Park, Susquehanna State Park, and Fair Hill Natural Resource Agency. We helped out our sponsors with a variety of tasks including tree planting, tree sheltering, trail clearing, camp ground maintenance, log splitting, clearing trees for a clean air monitor, picking up shotgun shells, cleaning storage facilities, painting bath houses, cleaning ranger‘s vehicles, cleaning out ditches, leaf blowing, and raking. Though at times monotonous, we were able to see the day to day activities that park and forest rangers do for their jobs. Our main task was tree planting and we were able to plant thousands of trees during our six week spike. Hopefully, the trees we planted will help Maryland‘s State Parks reclaim forests that have been previously used as farmland. The trees we planted will help with the air and water quality in the Chesapeake Region. For fun this spike, we frequently went to the YMCA. There were also a few excursions to the neighboring city of Baltimore. Steve was able to bike around Perry Point and Will was able to go fishing after work. We also had the chance to stay in cabins in Elk Neck State Park for one work week during our spike. Though many lay awake shivering the first night, a shipment of extra sleeping bags ensured warmth for the rest of the week and we all had a great time. During this spike we gained a variety of new skills and farmers‘ tans.
We did take a one week hiatus working with KaBOOM! for one of their playground builds. It happened to be their 2,000 build, and Michelle Obama was coming to celebrate the occasion. Each member of Buffalo 5 was able work with the first lady on a piece of playground equipment. It was a really great experience and made the two hour morning commute worth it. Over all we had an excellent second round spike and will take many memories from the experience. 53
Buffalo Five: Round 2
Buffalo 5 had a variety of different experiences this spike, and met some interesting characters along the way. We got a taste of Ranger Pat‘s occasionally off-color humor, heard Allie‘s convincing wild eagle call, made friends with a band of dancing raccoons, battled greenbriar, were hosts to an innumerous amount of ticks, faced our fears of giant arachnids, gorged on Girl Scout cookies, saw ―The Gravely‖ in all its glory, compared the two rival ice cream hot spots in the Trailblazers vicinity (Dairy Bar is superior to DQ), had an X-TRME Harry Potter read-off, drove a lifeguard home, all shared a bathroom for 6 weeks, got in with the Chef at Camp Trailblazers (always a good move) and made both domestic and international friends! From building tipis and rustic bike racks with Sponsor Steve and sidekick Shelly, to constructing a playground with the First Lady, Buffalo 5 accomplished many things this round. We lost a few members to go on disaster, then we gained them back. Later we received an additional person, who though physically handicapped, was able to overcome his disability with his willpower and brute strength. Finally at the end of the round, we lost another member, this time permanently. Trailblazers was super fun, especially when the staff started to arrive. The lovely and talented Chef Julia, titillated our taste buds with her take on camp favorites like Mac and Cheese and Chili.
Buffalo Five had an awesome round 3. We initially were expecting to go to Massachusetts to work with the National Audubon Society, but at the last minute our project was changed and we headed down to Alabama for tornado disaster relief! We had a great time working with All Hands in Alabama. We loved having Melissa as our TL. She is so sweet and nice and we will always have a special place in our hearts for her. We had some good times with the All Hands crew as well. We developed a special fondness for the All Hands chain saw TL Joe- Better than safe, and just became fully immersed in the craziness of All Hands. We stayed at a Baptist Church outside of Birmingham, and hung out with the caretaker Reggie and his gal pal Cookie. We also thoroughly broke in THE TRUCK… In addition we enjoyed tons of good food and company at the Flying J. Birmingham was good… we were chillin on a dirt road….Then we went to Jasper. And stayed in a cabin. And worked in a smelly abandoned old folks home. Then we went home.
Buffalo Five: Round 3
After Alabama we returned to the point and sprigged for the DNR. Good times. The girls were participating in a cleanse, chugging down $12 bottles of maple syrup. After regrouping at the point we traveled to the mystical land of Vermont! We were welcomed with bread, apples and cheese, and quickly made our old store front into a cozy home. Vermont is beautiful, and it was a good two weeks. We spent the weekend at Isaac‘s house in New Hampshire, and got to see his dank set up. His house is dank, his mom is dank, his family is dank. It was a holiday in New Hampshire…and we were in vacation mode. We packed our things and left Vermont, completing our third round. Looking back it was everything we could have hoped for… disaster, excitement, country music, superior gas stations, love, pool parties, being better than safe, finger puppets, pokemon, games of thrones, starvation, gluttony (thanks for the extra lunch vouchers Porter Hospital ;-)), vivaciousness to the OV, heart bursts, A.A.O. and getting lucky throughout it all!
Our next destination was Maine! Finally we headed up North to Maine- the way things should be. We worked at the Wellâ€˜s Nature Reserve and stayed in Alheim Commons with a bunch of girls, who worked at the nature reserve, and a young man named Steve. Our project sponsor, Charles was a spry, older man with pumpkin orange hair. He and his co-pilot, Mark, showed us the ropes as well as some inspirational Susan Boyle videos. We muled around, and aided in the plight of the New England Cottontail. One afternoon, when most of the team was on vacation, we found out we had to leave our nice home in Maine and go to Broome County, NY, for disaster relief. We packed our things, said our good byes, and hit the road. This time we went West. The flooding was bad and affected many people, so Buffalo 5 was ready to help in any way they could.
Buffalo Five: Round 4
For our fourth round, we permanently whittled our team down to five corps members, so our name Buffalo 5 rang true. Then Andrew Proctor joined our team and messed everything up. With our six member team, plus team leader Katrina, we began the round in D.C. We spent two weeks working for Greater D.C. Cares to help them prepare and implement a three days service project commemorating 9/11. We spent a lot of time in an old dirty room in an abandoned school. We also drove Uhauls all over the city.
Buffalo Six: Round 1 Round one was cool, we planted trees with local schools. Living with Buffalo 1 was a lot of fun! We were heartbroken when we lost a team mate but now were ready for a clean slate! We're B6 so BRING IT!!! And we're FLY LIKE A B6!!!
First off, we missed Felicia the whole round, as she injured her knee, had surgery, and worked at B15 while recovering through the round. The rest of us started off in the historical Valley Forge Park removing the untamed plant invasive species called mile-a-minute, while also encountering the very invasive rusty crayfish, KRIKEE... We were then pulled to disaster in Mobile, AL (pronounced in Forest Gumpâ€˜s voice) where the sand is as white as colonel sanders beard and the personalities are as polite as a concierge. We have been feeding people daily and changing lives hourly while shedding sweat minutely. The weather has been warm but we have been making hearts warmer. We love to help the people of the south, even if itâ€˜s just by stuffing their mouths. B6 forever, we love helping people through every endeavor!!
Buffalo Six: Round 2
Buffalo Six: Round 3
When asked what would be the best description for this round, Buffalo 6 came up with one word: variety. 4 sponsors, 6 housings, 7 project sites, 3 festivals, and a multitude of jobs, all within in the span of 1 six-week round. Buffalo 6 started this round working with Delaware State Parks. In fact, they worked with very nearly all the Delaware State Parks. The Awesome 8 started their adventures at Bellevue, where they worked tearing down everything from invasive plant life to tearing down a building, and then fixing up and painting another to balance out their karma. They then trekked on down to Delaware Seashore State Park and worked on their tans while playing with kids and becoming masters of ‗faking‘ (a very long, complicated way of winding a large amount of rope) at 2 days of festivals. Then, they chopped wood at Trap Pond for four days. B6 chopped probably close to 18 tons worth of wood. (Beastin‘ it, B6 style.) Back to Delaware Seashore for some time at the beach fixing some fencing, and they were off! This time to Fort Delaware where, for 3 days, they moved from painting at Killens Pond, to building a boardwalk at Lums Pond, to boating across the river to Fort DuPont to explore the fort and bring water, and then truckin‘ on over to clear out an old barracks building from the 1980‘s. Throw in a little grounds work for good measure and they‘re out! After a little reprieve at the Point, the Adventurous 8 returned to an old project of theirs. This time, they were here to stay. For the final 2 weeks of the round the team was scraping, spraying, scaffolding, and slathering white-wash onto Knox‘s Estate. Hectic? A little. Unbelievable? Not really. Action-packed? You bet your granny‘s walker! ―Fly or die!‖
Buffalo 6 had probably one of the best last rounds a team could ask for. For the first five weeks the team was back down in Alabama, this time in the town of Henagar. We went through all the different steps of building a house, from framing, to siding, dry walling, mudding, taping, underpinning, and roofing. You name it we did it all. Of course it wasn't on one complete house, it was on five different houses in various stages of completion.
Though it took a little bit of time to adapt to the new weather, Buffalo 6 quickly came to love the colorful mountainous region of Bristol. The team got to meet a lot of cool people since they were working for a variety of different organizations within the area (being sure to name-drop Laura Mack almost every person they met.) The colorful changing of the leaves and the seasons seemed an appropriate reflection of the colorful year that the team has had and the ushering in of the change to life after AmeriCorps.
Buffalo Six: Round 4
This was the longest solid amount of time that the Buffalo 6ers have stayed in one place, and there couldn't have been a better place to be than Sweet Home Alabama. We definitely learned the meaning of Southern hospitality while we were down there, from the sweet older ladies who fed us lunch and asked how we were doing, the volunteer groups from Ohio and South Carolina, the Granados's, Underwood's, Hatfield's, Brothers George and David, Tanya, Christy, Jason, Chuck, Roger, Andy, Phillip and Joni (who took us to a football game and camping!), and everyone who made us feel welcome and happy and who worked and joked with us and helped us see the full importance of what we do. Though it was a bittersweet moment to leave behind all these wonderful people, after one last visit to the beautiful Chattanooga, TN and a camping stint with a friend, Buffalo 6 went from South East, to North East in Bristol, VT.
Buffalo Seven: Round 1
For their first round, Buffalo 7 traveled to Yonkers, New York to work with Groundwork Hudson Valley. For most of the round, the team was removing invasive species along the Saw Mill River Parkway. There was much work to be done pulling vines and removing multi-flora rose. They also helped Groundworkâ€˜s office layout by building two walls in the office so that the staff could more effectively communicate and work. B7 also helped an elementary school build gardens, removed vines with high school students, and worked on the science barge. Buffalo 7 lived at Andrus-on-Hudson in Hastings, New York. Andrus is a senior retirement center and the team had the pleasure of eating dinner with the residents on a few occasions. The team did some work on the grounds there, as well as painting the walls of two stairwells. A great highlight for the team was getting to work with Bob and his science barge â€“ a floating, completely self-sustaining boat/garden. It floated on the Hudson River and was equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, wetlands, and a climate regulating green house. The team learned a lot about each other in these few weeks as well as meeting a lot of great locals including the mayor of Hastings and a school teacher running for mayor of Yonkers - who took the team out for a delicious Mexican dinner. Overall, the team had a wonderful experience in New York and began to look forward to the rest of their year and the many adventures that they were about to have!
Buffalo 7 spent second round working with two different organizations: the Marion Institute in Marion, MA, and GiftsToGive in New Bedford, MA. Half the team worked at the Marion Institute, an organization dedicated to incubating ideas and non-profits. The teamâ€˜s primary task was helping them organize the Connecting for Change conference, which is held every October in New Bedford, MA, but B7 also helped with several of their other projects, including Cambodian Living Arts, Green Jobs Green Energy Initiative, and the Biological Medicine Network. Working in an office all day every day was quite a change!
With three weeks to go in the round, B7 got the call for disaster. They were off to Springfield, MA, which had recently been hit with two tornadoes. While there, they were trained as sawyers, and spent the rest of the round chain sawing tornado debris for the City of Springfield (that is, when the chainsaws were working), and living in some sweet housingâ€”suite-style dormitories at Western New England University. It was a hectic two weeks, but B7 managed to get a lot done, and could now wield multiple chainsaws.
Buffalo Seven: Round 2
The other half of the team rotated between helping out around their housing, the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center in Wareham, and working at GiftsToGive in New Bedford, an organization that takes in donations of clothes, toys, etc., and distributes them to needy children and families through social service agencies. The team helped them sort through donations and fill orders, and also helped them move an entire warehouse full of sporting goods to another warehouse.
Buffalo Seven: Round 3
Buffalo 7 had split round for third round. They spent the first three weeks in Camden, NJ working at the Camden Children‘s Garden, tending and setting up community gardens throughout the city. The team was a little wary of living in a city with Camden‘s reputation, but it turned out to be a very rewarding place to serve. The sponsors were wonderful and had wonderfully dirty jokes, the people were nice, and the work was vitally important to the community. B7 even got the opportunity to attend the WXPN music festival for free, which was being held adjacent to the Children‘s Garden. B7 spent the second half of the round living on campus and working at NorthBay Adventure, an environmental education camp that serves all sixth grade students in the state of Maryland, and also functions as a rental facility for various groups. The team was generally doing maintenance tasks and landscaping around the camp, but they also had the opportunity to get trained to operate the high ropes course, and ran it for Operation Purple, a group for the children of military servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. NorthBay had great staff, and the team really enjoyed working with them. Third round wasdefinitely the round of great sponsors!
Round 4 for B7, to say the least, was quite an experience. The team definitely had their most nomadic round – averaging a different project every 9 days. The team was called from one disaster project to another working for seven different sponsors in five different states.
The team said a sad farewell to the DNERR folks and moved on to Rhode Island. Here the team worked with the United Way and Serve Rhode Island driving from house to house chain-sawing trees in people‘s yards. They lived in a cabin in the woods and oftentimes kicked it with the Mennonites, Brackton and Josh, a few cabins away. After a week and a half the team prepared to head to Wilmington, DE but they needed to take a detour to Monson, MA. Here the team lived in an abandoned insane asylum with Moose 7 (What up!?). Here the team was also driving house to house chain-sawing debris or wood chipping with their partners in crime M7. After 8 days in Monson, the team was now headed to Nichols, NY to provide flood relief while living in a vacant elementary school. After a few days of mucking and gutting the team ventured to Wareham, MA to live with Moose 3 and work with the Marion Institute. The two team‘s main focus was helping to run a conference called Connecting for Change. As their final days wound down, the team began to reflect on their 10 months of service, the experiences they had, the people they encountered, the things they learned, and the lifelong friendships they made. It has been truly been a year that Buffalo 7 will never forget. B7!!!!!!
Buffalo Seven: Round 4
The team spent the first week living at the point and working for Moveable Feast – a wonderful ISP for a lot of campus. That weekend they worked in D.C. with Buffalo 3 at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. The team had an absolute blast, danced a lot, sang some, and ate a lot of delicious food while helping make the weekend a great success. Everything was still on schedule as the team traveled to Dover, DE to work for the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. Here, the team was tasked with building a 1,000 ft. long boardwalk. In their first four days the team was able to knock out 330 feet before John told the team that he had gotten the ‗call‘.
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Moose Unit Unit Leader Jason Cangelosi
Moose One: Round 1
Moose 1 looooved their work at Camp Conowingo! Weeks of picking up sticks, days of painting, and other various projects dominated our time here. We bonded as a team and came up with many inside jokes―Horse is not going to care!‖ and ― 4 boxes a day!‖, but the best one was perhaps ―100 percent juice!‖. This came about during a late night argument with Jay, who claimed oranges were made of 100 percent juice and it was impossible to get a dry one! We spent many nights laughing so hard on the kitchen floor with our jokes! There was also our daily cheering on of the ―trophy house‖. Conowingo, MD is home to a house with a front porch FILLED with trophies! We all came up with our own back-stories about what the trophies were awarded for. Every day when we drove by the house, we cheered ―You‘re number 1, you‘re number 1!‖ We became beasts at kickball, dominating Moose Deuce on our team date at Susquehanna State Park. We will gladly challenge any team that thinks they can knock us off our high horse. We were very appreciative of our sponsor taking the time to let us know what impact we had made on the facility. Many of the projects we worked on freed him and his co -worker to work on more pressing technical issues throughout the camp. This brief meeting gave us the boost we needed to finish our project on a high note. Overall we had a great time at Camp Conowingo. It was the perfect site for us to come together and learn more about each other. Here is where Moose 1 became a real team!
Moose One: Round 2
We spent 4 weeks down in D.C. working for the Capitol Area Food Bank and their partner the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We planted thousands of vegetables, directly fed over one thousand people, educated kids about the importance of nutrition, and packed hundreds of boxes for after school programs around the region. It was fun… it was challenging… it was an experience none of us will forget. Unfortunately this is also where we lost one of our own. Jaquan…. We will miss you. Every time someone says ―Okay!‖ or ―Good Stuff!‖ our hearts sink. But we do love looking at our last picture with you… it‘s so retro 70‘s haha. That picture should be on the front cover of Get to the Point, if it wasn‘t for Rebekah‘s blue poncho!!! Gahhh. The FREE walking tour Katie set up was awesome!! That tour guide knew so many fun facts that we would have otherwise not known. Did you know quotes inside the Jefferson Memorial were censored to portray him in a better light? We didn‘t. And who could forget about the Falls Church First Presbyterian Church? Air-conditioned rooms, a full kitchen, a washer and dryer, and a bat. All within walking distance from the D.C. Metro! Movies in the conference room; ―Pit‖ in the girl‘s room, and walking to Starbucks for internet dominated our downtime. Cooking dinner was always enjoyable… especially with the Irish step dance music playing each and every night from 6pm to 9pm, Monday thru Friday. Amazing. Next up was our project in Saugerties, NY at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Our favorites were Amelia the pig, Babe the cow, Nadine the Pig, Dozer the Bull, and who could forget Russell and Rascal! We were a bit spoiled here; the staff would frequently give us milkshakes and popsicles during hot days. During our time at the sanctuary, they had their annual Sanctuary Shindig where tours and hayrides were given. Families can come to the farm and learn about vegan lifestyles and meet all of the animals. We enjoyed our time very much here and are very proud that we survived the time being vegetarian or vegan. .. even if Justin did cheat that one day…
Moose One: Round 3
We joined forces with Raven 2 and quickly became friends. We thought we needed to come up with a new name: MOTHER-MUCKERS 1.2!! or Ameri-Muckers if you‘re sensitive. Instead, we went to homes that were once flooded and cleaned out the basements that had become invested with MOLD!! Mold is not something to mess around with, when we first got to Burlington for our training, they showed us the scariest video you will ever see. It featured peoples legs, eyes, noses, etc being taken over by mold!! Many of the homeowners we helped were allergic to mold or had other health problems. Others were elderly and just could not do the work themselves. Our first two homes took us 2 full days, but we quickly caught on and by the end of our round we were knocking out a full home in a few hours! We were welcomed into people‘s homes and they tried to pay us off with pizza as much as they could. Some of us got a bit distracted at certain homes due to the family pets! BRUNO!!! We became quite a close family here and even had an ugly sweater party for our Christmas in July celebration! No one in this town was actually that surprised to see people walking down the street in Christmas sweaters… We had a homemade ice cream contest. We each made vanilla ice cream then added ingredients under 2 dollars to spice it up. Justin made the most disgusting ice cream man has ever tastedhe now knows Ben & Jerry‘s flavor inventor is out for his Life After AmeriCorps! All of us enjoyed our time here in Burlington; we really do believe it is one of America‘s best-kept secrets. There is so much to do and the people are super nice! It‘s a good thing Sean from Raven 2 was making us go hard during our team PTs because we all had way too much Ben & Jerry‘s!! Speaking of Ben & Jerry‘s.. on a final note we just want you to know that Moose 1 dominated the VERMONSTER! 20 scoops of ice cream, a fudge brownie, 4 bananas, 3 cookies, 4 toppings, 4 ladles of hot fudge, whipped cream, and marshmallows. BOOM! 68
Moose One: Round 4
Moose One had a fairly hectic fourth round, with the team being split up on different disaster teams, as well as losing two of their members to Phoenix Four. In the beginning of the round, two members of the team were sent on a Red Cross Deployment in New Jersey, and the remaining team members were sent down to Alabama to work on a homeless shelter. Once the Red Cross Deployment was finished, those two members went up to Middleburgh, New York to work with All Hands: Project Catskills doing flood relief work. The team was finally reunited in Camden, New Jersey to work on their official fourth round project with Respond, Inc.. The team is working with many different areas of Respond, Inc., including: GED tutoring, assisting with their Culinary School, planting flowers to beautify the city, painting affordable housing, clearing empty lots, among many other small projects. Moose One feels lucky to have had such an array of interesting and challenging projects during their year with NCCC. They have encountered so many experiences that they never would've had the opportunity to see had they not been a part of this program.
Moose Two: Round 1
Moose Deuce is worked in Baltimore with the Academy of Success. We worked at two different sites within a few blocks of each other, The Academy of Success Community Recreation Center and the Community Empowerment Center. Tasks included cleaning up sites of debris and gutting old buildings, demolition, organizing supplies and equipment, and renovating the surrounding landscape and buildings. The recreation center is where we stripped and waxed the floors, laid new tiles, painted the walls, pulled weeds from the flower beds, and sorted through and organized sporting equipment, books, and games. And the Academy of Success Community Empowerment Center, which still looks and feels like the abandoned Lasting Paint Factory, is where we began gutting the old building, which could be described as ―Treasure Hunting!‖ While clearing out the rooms and spaces of the warehouse and factory we stumbled upon old books including Animorphs, signs and labels, wigs, ―picture books,‖ barbies, scooters, sleeping bags, metal desks, fans, shotgun shells, cans of mystery ooze, silk screens, old cars and buses, and Eddy Kramer posters. We found many ―treasures‖ while cleaning up the Gwynn Falls Bike Trail as well! During gutting we also organized scrap metal and sorted lumber and building supplies found in the warehouse. We also got some experience with power tools (PPE always by our side) while doing finishing in the offices and gutting the building. We spent the first part of our project commuting from Perry Point everyday, but as soon as the Recreation Center was ready for us (thanks to Glenn installing our make-shift shower) we moved right in and made ourselves at home in the city! At the recreation center we had a big screen TV with every Disney movie you could name, plenty of space for activities, a large kitchen and bathroom, a computer room with Wi-Fi, and a whole fleet of new bicycles at our disposal for trips into the Inner Harbor! We also spent a day exploring Druid Hill Park, Edgar Allan Poe gave, and Fells Point. We had a great project making a difference in the community of Baltimore City and working with our amazing sponsors at the Academy of Success! 70
Moose Two: Round 2
Moose Deuce was working in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. We were working for the town of Newcomb along with the SUNY Environmental Studies and Forestry department as well as the Department of Environmental Conservation. We started our project working at the Adirondack Interpretive Center, where we cleaned up over 6 miles of trails around the center of sticks and branches; we also cleaned up beach at the SUNY ESF campus. We then began to work for the DEC in helping with the restoration of Camp Santanoni. While in the Adirondacks we lived on the SUNY campus in cabins and had our meals cooked to us by the wonderful kitchen staff. We had access to all the trails for hiking and use of the canoe to take out on the lake. Our time here was cut short as we were then called on disaster for tornado relief in Alabama. We made our way down to Birmingham, Alabama to work with another volunteer organization known as All Hands. Moose Deuce helped aid tornado relief in three capacities, we worked in a call center, helped remove debris, and made assessments of damaged areas. The call center consisted of taking in work requests for volunteer services such as roof tarping or tree removal from yards. Also in the call center we contacted other organizations and church groups to help complete the hundreds of work request we had coming in. Weekly we would drive to the homes to assess the damage, take photos, and then be able to more appropriately assign work requests to capable volunteers, Working in the field removing fallen trees and other debris was very rewarding, in that we were completing the work request for the clients we had assisted through the call center. We worked with All Hands, Bona Responds, and Nechama, a Jewish disaster response organization. Nechama was really great to work with, their volunteers were energetic and they were always prepared for any task with their trailer full of tools. Working with All Hands we mostly demolished houses and removed ruble from the foundations of houses. While working for All Hands we got to be alongside an Alumni from Class XVI! The work we did in Alabama was very meaningful and a great way to spend our summer!
Moose Two: Round 3
Moose Deuce embarked on their third round project in the state of New Hampshire, where they worked with the State Department and the Red Cross to assess shelters statewide. During this project we traveled throughout the state everyday, gathering information while filling out a survey with each town concerning their emergency shelters and plans incase of an emergency. The local Red Cross chapter provided us with an Emergency Response Vehicle and an Ambulance to assist us in taking shelter surveys. With these vehicles along with our teamâ€˜s van we ventured across the state daily, radiating from our ever-changing housing, allowing us to utilize our resources and accomplish as much as possible during our time there. We were split into smaller groups with each vehicle and then traveled to the town to be surveyed, where we would meet with the Emergency Management Director and other town officials. The surveys were mostly designed to assist the town with their own emergency plans, it covered topics such as capacity, food storage, electricity, heating, and ADA compliance. We would then enter this information into the National Shelter System, where it could be used as a planning tool in the case of a disaster. We gained a lot of media attention for this project and were able to travel and see almost the entire state of NH. We live in several different locations during this project, including a fire academy, a campus community center, a homeless shelter, a summer camp, and a church office. During our final weekend in NH Hurricane Irene was traveling up the Atlantic Coast and we stayed to work with the Red Cross and manage shelters during the storm. Once again our team was divided into groups and we got to help run the shelters we had surveyed during the previous weeks. Although the storm damaged several coastal states NH was mostly spared, and it was a good practice round for the Red Cross to operate these shelters. 72
Moose 2 was ecstatic to discover that we would be finishing our AmeriCorps year in Reisterstown, MD, home of Joseph A. Banks headquarters and The Cow. We were tasked to work at Kayam Farm, an organic Jewish farm. We had been hoping for a farming project all year, so were stoked to finish the year on a highly anticipated project.
We also took care of the animals on the farm. The five goats were quite a handful, but just as adorable. Milking them is a daily chore. We also had 90+ chickens to attend to daily; feeding, watering, and collecting eggs. We got to enjoy weekly workshops with our sponsors. We learned about the Jewish religion and their holidays, completed a low ropes course, learned to make cheese from goat milk, how to make organic salve, and how to pickle! We are very excited to bring our knowledge with us after we leave the farm. When we were not on the farm we enjoyed; the Wi-Fi, tent living, crocheting, goat cheese making, craft time, and each otherâ€˜s company during our last round together. Shalom from the Deuce!
Moose Two: Round 4
We got to harvest crops two times a week for Kayam's CSA community. Each of us came to have a favorite crop to harvest and put into the weekly shares. The unanimous favorite was the raspberries. Getting to eat them as well as harvest was a perk! Another benefit of harvesting is getting to enjoy our own small share. We have been able to do some great experimental cooking with the fresh organic goods.
Moose Three: Round 1
We worked for the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay and did various tasks including trail maintenance, painting, putting up permanent tents, insulating, and building benches. These tasks required our team to be split up every day and allowed the team to do a variety of work with different people allowing us the opportunity to get to know one another better. We definitely worked hard and first round had its ups and downs but in the end of it there are some unforgettable moments. After work we spent our time bonding while playing games like banana grams and watching movies on Evans laptop. Some of the most memorable moments were zip lining at Camp Todd, kayaking at Grove Point, Jamie falling out of the van, and our team becoming closer in general. By the end of first round our team had yet to accomplish the human knot but it is our goal to do so and hope to do it during second round.
After two days of travel we ended up in Moundville, Alabama living in one house with another team. A good 18 people in one house was a new challenge for us all. We were fortunate to have a day to settle in, but after that we started our 11 hour days at Temporary Emergency Services Warehouse on 15th Street in Tuscaloosa. We spent our days sorting everything from toiletries and clothes to shoes. Another large part to our job was working with clients. We were the only distribution warehouse that TES has so we not only helped them with paperwork but we also walked them through the warehouse and helped them get all their necessities that we had to offer. The team continued to work their Aâ€˜s off even as the days got hotter and hotter to a record breaking 104 degrees. With the crazy heat and the long hours and 4 weeks of living with 18 people we received exciting news. We were moved into apartments on the University of Alabama Campus. Although it was only two weeks of the round, it truly made a difference and boosted the moral of the team. Our second round has only been a sneak peek into how great the rest of our year together will be which included a new addition to the team, Patrick. We canâ€˜t wait to see what third and fourth round have to offer.
Moose Three: Round 2
Moose 3 started off second round in West Milford, New Jersey at Vacamas Camp, a place for underprivileged and at risk youth. For 2 weeks we rebuilt cabin windows, painted, did office work, cleared trails, worked at an open house for the camp, and even relocated the camps dock that had drifted to the other side of the lake. We had only been at Camp for 10 days when we received the news that our team was being sent down to Alabama for Tornado Disaster Relief. The feelings about the disaster call were bittersweet because we truly had gotten to know the staff at Camp Vacamas and enjoyed working for them but we were also excited to be able to work in the relief effort for a major storm.
Moose Three: Round 3
Moose Three: Round 4
Our 4th and final round together as Moose 3 was spent living in Wareham, Massachusetts working in Marion, Massachusetts and helping run the Connecting for Change Conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Most of the team worked at the Marion Institute but some of the team also worked at the Sacred Heart Retreat Center doing trail work and property upkeep for a month before being brought over to the Marion Institute to help with the Conference. This project was like nothing else anyone on our team has ever worked on and it was a great learning experience for all of us. Every team member was paired with a staff member at the Marion Institute in a particular role that was vital to running the Conference. The relationships we developed with the staff were great and we also learned a great deal from them. The 6 weeks that we spent planning the Conference helped us get a grasp on what we would be in for but nothing prepared us for the 40 + hour weekend that we spent working the Conference. Some of the memorable moments from the Conference were the keynote speakers, open mic night, apple cider donuts, â€•baked like fried chickenâ€–, and an appreciation for everyoneâ€˜s hard work during the Conference. There was no better way for Moose 3 to end their year together than working collaboratively on such a great project such as the Connecting for Change Conference.
Moose Four: Round 1
For round 1, Moose 4 was in the heart of central city New Orleans, working with the United Saints Recovery Project. The main work done by Moose 4 was renovating damaged houses, although they also worked on numerous community centers as well. In New Orleans there are many houses that are still damaged from hurricane Katrina, and many citizens with financial trouble originating from the Hurricane. Many of these citizens are now being faced with fines by the city government if they don‘t get their homes repaired quickly enough. Moose 4, in partnership with the United Saints, did work on some of these houses in order to help the homeowners avoid these fines, and to help them keep their homes. While working on these houses, Moose 4 was fortunate enough to hear the homeowner‘s stories. Listening to the homeowners talk and hearing the hurt and pain in their voices encouraged Moose 4 to be ready to do whatever it takes to help the homeowners keep their homes. We‘ve done the interior of houses, painting, priming, scraping, mowed lawns, roofing, power washing and even removed tons of debris. New Orleans is an eye opener and an amazing city. We‘ve experienced enough to change our lives or at least our outlook on things. Moose 4 is honored to have had an opportunity of this kind. We Thank you for the experience.
Moose Four: Round 2
Moose 4â€˜s main project in round 2 was supposed be at Camp Hope for kids in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. But before ten days had passed at the camp, Courtney Johnson was sent to Alabama to respond to the tornados there and the rest of Moose 4 was sent to Mississippi on a flood relief mission. Although the need for help in Mississippi was not as great as expected, the team gained much useful knowledge (as well as various neat certifications), while working with the Mississippi Red Cross. After two weeks in Mississippi, Moose 4 came back to Camp Hope, where the team spent two weeks repainting cabins. Thus Moose 4 successfully prepared the camp for another summer. The next project was in D.C. working for the Greater D.C. Cares Organization. Here the team delivered supplies via U-haul and worked at many different sites in what was a fun and stimulating project.
Moose Four: Round 3
For the better part of round 3, Moose 4 was in Camp Brown, a camp for at risk youth from the D.C. area. There they served as camp counselors and activity managers for the children. It was unanimously considered the hardest project for moose 4, but it was also a unique and illuminating experience that no one on our team will soon forget. All of us had our nerves and stamina tested in the punishing mid-summer heat and the chaotic atmosphere of camp brown. But despite the challenges, the team, through our daily interactions with the children, succeeded in leaving a positive mark on the camp and in serving as |positive role models for the children. After Camp Brown, Moose 4 spent the next week at the Perry Point, working interchangeably at Susquehannah State park and Delaware food bank. For the last week of round 3, we worked at Iron Hill State Park removing invasive plants.
Moose 4 was reunited on a project in Raccoon creek state park, Pennsylvania where they renovated aging cabins built by NCCCâ€˜s predecessor, the CCC. This was our last stop in our year-long Americorps journey.
Moose Four: Round 4
Moose 4 was split for the first half of round four, with four of us going to Jasper, Alabama to help establish a homeless shelter while the other five were sent on a disaster relief project in New York and New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Irene. In Alabama, the days were slow and relaxed as that half of the team lived and worked in a former elder-care facility, and slowly made it habitable again, so that it could be turned into a homeless shelter. Through weeks of repainting, mold removal and other tasks, the shelter was brought to state of near functionality by the time Moose 4 was finished, well in time for winter, when the shelter would be needed most. Meanwhile, in New York and New Jersey, the other half of the team was working 60 hour weeks, mainly gutting houses that had been rendered uninhabitable by flooding.
Moose Five: Round 1
Not having a real clear vision of true Ameri-Life and the impact of our efforts, Moose 5 would build a lifetime friendship and affect communities all across Delaware State parks. Our spike was unique and we where a true nomadic Moose, moving sites every two weeks or so. From the Beaches of Fenwick, the Island of Fort Delaware and the two different pond sites that Moose 5 worked at our talents where put to the test, our muscles had no rest, all the while still learning and growing through new experiences. One of the first accomplishments that we saw was completed the restoration of a boardwalk at Fenwick Beach. We mastered our power tools skills by cutting endless amounts of wood and perfected our aim in hammering thousands of nails. Moose 5 then applied our cleaning skills at Cape Henlopen. From there Moose Five moved to Brandywine Park where we prepared the city gardens for the upcoming season. We always managed to take all of our challenges big or small even on rough days and turn them into a positive learning experience. At White Clay Creek we filled potholes on dirt roads, mulched, straightened parking barriers, removed invasive species from along brush lines, cleaned bathrooms, managed wilderness trails, and chipped a whole lot of wood. Our next project took us to Fort Delaware one of Moose Fives favorite places. Here we got the opportunity to take a boat every day to Pea Patch Island, we cleaned cannons, painted stairs, and moved picnic tables. Our last two weeks has us working at Killens and Lums Pond. Here we removed bat boxes and put row boats in the water. The experiences that Moose Five went through during this project brought us closer together allowing us to learn even more about each other. One round down three more to go, here we go MOOOOSE FIVE.
Moose Five: Round 2
Moose Five: Round 3
Our third round took us to Buffalo New York. Moose 5's third round was significantly shorter than a normal spike but that wasn't going to deter our team. We managed to fill up all of our work days and see a lot of Buffalo. However we wish that we could have stayed here longer. On our spike we participated in Mayor Byron Brown's clean sweeps every Wednesday, cleaning up abandoned lots and houses, while picking up trash along the way. Our regular work week was composed of working with the city of Buffalo's maintenance workers clearing abandon house, rehabbing urban gardens and working at the father Belle Center every Friday. Here we got to work with kids, taking them on field trips to the park and to the movies. Our team even had enough time for an ISP working at a polish festival, helping to put up and breakdown tables and chairs, grill and pick up trash. The Moose 5 team had their hands filled with plenty of work in such a short period of time. We were amazed that we had free time. In our free time we went to the famous wings Anchor Bar and Duffs. We also got to go to Niagara Falls (the American side).
Moose Five: Round 4
Moose Six: Round 1
For Round I Moose 6 was in Camden, New Jersey working with the Camden‘s Children‘s Garden. Moose 6 helped prepare the garden to open to the public by mulching, cleaning, planting fruits and vegetables and bringing butterflies to life again. All this was important as Camden‘s Children‘s Garden is a non-profit organization which helps bring education to the community in Camden. Camden being a food desert was also an important part of MOOSE 6‘s experience as they first hand saw how there were lack of vegetation. They worked with the N.J. Tree Foundation and help restore communities and establish and restored community gardens. Moose 6 ROUND I Memories/Phrases Seeds of Hope- T.L.- J.J. Beggs Vbrummm Vbrummm Vbrummm Vbrumm Vbrumm- Brandon Wilfrom Street Performer- Josh Young I don‘t know if I stole your underwear. – Tommy Coleman There‘s Mr. Butters – Morgan D. Morris Moon Pie- Sara Conner Sarah have you seen my ….EVERYTIME! – Karla M. Rivera I thought it was my hoodie. - Harley McCarter Yes Harley, I will wear clothe tonight. – Brittney Galla Rainbow Acupressure- Warren Leath
Moose Six: Round 2
Moose Six: Round 3
Moose Six: Round 4
Moose Seven: Round 1
For round 1, the Caboose was shipped off to Wilmington, Delaware to work with Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (or otherwise known as NCC - which is pretty awesome, only one "C" away from us!). Construction days are Tuesday-Saturday, and, believe me, working on that Saturday took some getting used to! One of the really great things about the site is that we all learned a whole range of new skills! We painted, sprayed doors, hung insulation and drywall, put up siding, ran up and down extension ladders, built fences, dug holes, landscaped yards, played in the mud, huddled around a heater, installed wood flooring and kitchen cabinets, measured and cut and then re-measured and cut again, hauled around 80lbs bags of concrete mix, and many other things that would take up too much space to write. The site supervisors were willing to teach us newbies the tricks of the trade and equipped us with enough granola bars and coffee to feed a small army! Mini shout out to Steve, Mark, Marc 2.0, Kelly, K.C., Vern, Josh, and Jen - thanks for the help, you guys rock!
Moose Seven: Round 2
During Round 2, Moose Seven experienced many interesting and unique situations. We were surprised to learn that Beacon, New York is considerably colder than the Point – especially at nights. Our team stayed in the Infirmary cabin (after we cleaned out all 5 dead mice we found) at the University Settlement Camp in Beacon, New York. We also became experts at street and watershed clean-ups – from Yonkers to Newburgh! Moose 7 worked with Matt (Coombs, that is!) to finish building community gardens at the Armory. At the Armory, we power-washed a giant drill hall with REAL fire hoses and then got to use brooms to ―sweep‖ up the water. The Caboose worked at historic Downing Park and helped beautify the area for the local residents. (Some of us also got a little too cozy with some poison ivy…) Then, one Friday after work Matt Slavics got a mysterious phone call. Disaster called! After a whirlwind cleaning party, we got briefed and moved to Barre, Vermont to deal with flood cleanup. Paired with Raven 1, we worked alongside other relief workers and homeowners to shovel mud, remove waterlogged trash, and sanitize flooded homes‘ basements. Living so close together and having to share everything – from sleeping areas to showers – we‘ve grown closer (literally!) with each other.
Moose Seven: Round 3
During Round 3, the Caboose lived and worked in Newcomb, New York. Located in the wild of the Adirondack Mountains and Park, we got to experience landscapes of untouched beauty. We lived in cabins with electricity and (occasional) internet but no bathrooms or cell phone service. The showers and toilets were just a brisk walk down the hill, but cell service...well, you had to leave Newcomb and quite a ways to find any of that. It was a challenge to almost everyone on the team learning to go without some of the modern comforts that we had learned to take for granted, but there were some amazing trade offs! We stayed very near a private lake where we had access to bonfires, beaches, and canoeing. While we worked in the forest, we also hiked through some pretty amazing scenery! Speaking of working, we did some of that too! We helped clean up the town's golf course and found tons of golf balls in the wooded areas. A lot of brush removal and blowdown clean up was also done at various locations around the city. At the town beach, we also worked on clearing out a section of woods for a better lake view. But the best views we got, was when we worked on hiking trails with Del Jeffery - a Forest Ranger. We hiked about 30 miles a week - up steep hills and through muddy bogs - and worked on side cutting trails and filling in washouts. Over all, we can't say enough about the amazing beauty of the Adirondacks! Sure, we had our ups and downs (no, really! Those hills were steep!) but knowing that our work will help save lives and contribute to the economic growth of a town that relies mainly on ecotourism, is pretty amazing!
Moose Seven: Round 4
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Raven Unit Unit Leader Jen Horan
Raven One: Round 1
Without a doubt, the best part about this round was having the chance to really bond with all the members of our team. When you are sitting on staircase, scrapping paint with one or two other people for eight hours a day, you realize that team building happens constantly. The highlights of this round were not work based, but team based. We played mafia over and over, and poor Marcus was the first one killed each round, and Tasha would wake us all up saying that it was a sad, sad, sad day. Maddy would have some of the best stories for how people died. And Kelsey hated being the mafia. On this round, Eric started his weekly ASL classes. Every week, we‘d begin with the alphabet and practice saying our names. We moved on to family and counting and food, while Ryan and Marcus asked how to say inappropriate things. We also played hot seat to get to know one another better. After one round together, we‘re closer than we thought we could be, and are ready to face any challenge. There were several memorable moments on the work site too. We can‘t forget about the morning of Armageddon (said Ellen) when the tree exploded three miles away from a strike of lightening. Or when we transformed the pole barn at the VA into a clean, open and organized space for the engineering department. Or Tasha fighting off Goo-Goo (the Canadian Goose) while Ellen, Maddy and Ryan wadded around in Cattail Pond. Raven One –Done
We also worked with Vineyard Voyagers and Sidney to prepare their teaching boat, Mabel, for the exciting season of training young men and women how to sail. We even took some of our weekend to help put up her sail. Our last project on the island was putting a new roof on our home, the Nathan Mayhew Seminar building under the care of the wonderfully patient Malcolm. Add another skill to the resume! A highlight was working with the Island Food Pantry (thanks for the carrots and can of bread!) and the Island Shellfish warriors. Generosity was abundant on the island. Shout out to Grace Church for the free lobster rolls (they were soooo amazing!), the free bikes, the breakfast and rhubarb crisp made by Joe and Hannah, the free wood fire pizza from the Orange Peel, water bottles from EcoMV, and the soda, popcorn and coffee from the Stone Soup Institute partners. But just to spice things up for the last three weeks we were pulled on
Raven One: Round 2
From the moment we arrived on Martha‘s Vineyard, we felt the rush of excitement and work to do. The Stone Soup Leadership Institute welcomed us with a huge banquet, and we sat at picnic tables with bright high school students on a beautiful farm with a magical sunset. Little did we know how much we would enjoy our time working at the farm. The FARM Institute is a sustainable, educational farm. Its goal is to teach the island‘s youth about where their food comes from. Our site supervisor, Sidney Morris, was patient, kind, enthusiastic and everyone loved him. We most enjoyed our time with the animals, from the morning chores of feeding the chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, and cows to walking the steers Zeus and Apollo and running with the sheep. While processing the chickens wasn‘t an especially pleasant day, we did learn a lot from the experience. One of our own, Eric, had the chance to learn how the slaughtering process from beginning to end. The farm staff was also kind enough to give us two chickens to eat that day and a rooster, from which we made an excellent chicken noodle soup.
Raven One: Round 3
The great AmeriForces came in and sent the team first to Delaware State Parks. We werenâ€˜t destined to mulch and landscape this time! We were being chainsaw trained! After a full day of chainsaw training and a day of composite team chainsaw work at different parks, Raven One was deployed south to Tennessee for tornado disaster relief work. One April 27 and 28, 335 tornados ripped through Alabama and Tennessee, devastating entire communities. We lived and worked in East Tennessee cutting up fallen trees to help residents of Greene County restore their properties. After a month of sweating through our pants, brushing off Muppet-like spiders, and chain sawing, we left the heat and humidity of Tennessee behind and headed back to Delaware State Parks. Our third stint with the Parks was very different from the first two. We teamed up with the Bellevue State Park staff to help re-furbish a stage and keep the order during a massive volunteer day hosted by ING Direct. After the nightly severe thunderstorms, we tore up old wood boards and laid down new pressure-treated particle boards, giving the stage a fresh, new look. We also worked with two different Boys and Girls Clubs, helping them updated their facilities by painting and cleaning. Round three was full of surprises, twists, and turns
Just before our Fall break, KJ lead Tasha, Tristan and Eric into the flooded areas of central New Jersey to assist the Red Cross with disaster relief. It was the first time our team has been so fractured. Ryan and Kelsey were sent to work with Raven 4 in Maryland, while Ellen and Marcus assisted Raven 2. Maddy was sent down to Suffolk, VA to finish putting out the fire.
Once reassembled, they spent a week working at the Newark Food Pantry, assisting in the warehouse. The next week, Raven 1 arrived in Baltimore, their home for the next six weeks. Their sponsor was The Loading Dock (TLD), and it doesn‘t have anything to do with water, despite what some on the team thought. The informal way to describe TLD is that it‘s as if the Home Depot and Goodwill had a baby. The team‘s job there was to get the place in order. We climbed over dusty pallets, lifted heavy carpets, windows and boxes of tiles. At the end of our 8 am to 4 pm days, we were dusty, and had sooty hands and black boogers. Our evenings were enjoyable, spending time in our very nice hostel in the heart of Baltimore. Free Wi-Fi, a deluxe kitchen, and more VHS tapes than we could have watched in our ten-months, made it a great place to R&R each evening. Now we truly act like brothers and sisters sharing a room together. Complete with bunk beds.
Raven One: Round 4
At one time, the fate of Raven 1 was unknown, but fearless leader KJ sent out a text message to all that ―Raven 1 would be a family again‖ and he would see to it personally. With our nerves settled we waited for the flood waters to recede, and slowly, members of Raven 1 trickled back to Perry Point (except for Maddy, who was up to her waist in swamp water to put out the stubborn Lateral West fire).
Raven Two: Round 1
This round for Raven 2 was more like a season off "The Real World" with a funky twist to it. Faced with a few hardships, we commandeered the odds and got things done- for AmeriCorps that is. We helped in the construction- and completion- of 8 houses in Ivy City with Habitat for Humanity. Endless hours of applying and smoothing caulk, moving things from one spot to another, deconstructing, installing and uninstalling, and last but not least, but surly the greatest painting underneath light fixtures. We quickly learned that without our help with the small tasks, we'd never had been able to get to the larger ones, like the final coats of paint on the houses just about finished or "doctoring doors" as our supervisor Drew would say, aka our favorite person in the world. If it weren't for the awesome crew at Habitat I'm not so sure our weeks we spent with the project would have been as fun and enjoyable as they have. They all had the greatest senses of humor, great teaching techniques and awesome patience for when we didn't quite "get" what it was we had to do. Our team came together and we're building a bond with each other that will last us a lifetime. Like every team, we have our differences, but the love we have for each other shined through in the determination. We have definitely considered ourselves lucky and fortunate with such a great first spike- to have an actual house and be in one of the greatest cities in the nation, we were never bored or without something to do on our days off, like our trip to the National Zoo, Holocaust Museum and Phillies/Nationals Game or games of basketball down the street at Turkey Thicket, a community recreation center. The homeowners whose houses we were helping construct and their display of endless gratitude is why every single one of us is a member of AmeriCorps. Just that feeling alone and seeing how thankful one family can be of the work we enjoy doing makes these 10 months seem far too short, and none of us ever want to see them come to an end- let alone first round. Nevertheless- we say goodbye to Round 1 and say "bring it on!" to Round 2, Raven 2 is ready for whatever it may be- even camping! 100
Raven Two: Round 2
Raven 2 quickly adjusted to our brand new location, Earleville, MD. We were pretty isolated and team bonding was inevitable. We went kayaking, played volleyball and played board games to pass our time, Apples to Apples seemed to be our favorite; we did however get sick of Michelle winning all the time. Our team grew stronger and prepared ourselves for a crazy round. In Earleville we were working at Grove Point Girl Scout camp. We prepared the camp for the summer by: mowing grass, painting buildings, trimming trees, and opening up the pool (which we also got to use). The 5 weeks passed quickly, we celebrated with our awesome sponsors, at a cookout/pool party and packed up our new van, The Silver Fox Sassafrass and left for Scranton, PA. Along the way we stopped in Hershey, PA and went to Chocolate world. Raven 2 definitely enjoyed the chocolate but had to leave quickly to make it to Scranton. Our project was to work with the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority to prepare their trails for a bike tour. Once we had reached the worksite, a 3 mile long trail which needed some serious knotweed removal (an invasive species), we quickly realized how spoiled we had been with power tools, because we were given hand weed cutters, to clear 3 miles of trail. Rick, however found his own method of killing the knot weed by sacrificing his body. A benefit to the hand tools however was that we got to let off some steam! Literally, there was a heat wave that came through while we were there. We were there for a short 2 weeks, helped the bike tour run smoothly by directing traffic and headed off to our last and final project of the round, Port Deposit. Despite our busy schedule we still had the opportunity to participate in amazing ISPâ€˜s. Volunteering an entire weekend helping with the Ride for the Feast event. Two weekends in a row we volunteered with them at special Olympic events, helping the equestrian athletes with their events. After this round our entire team has completed all their ISPâ€˜s.
Raven Two: Round 3
With many disasters occurring this season, Raven 2 got their chance at disaster relief in Burlington to help clean up after the flooding that had occurred. Our job for the six weeks of being in Vermont was to help home owners clean out their basements and to disinfect them of mold. Along side Moose one, we were able to complete over 30 homes in less than 30 days! The toughest house we worked on that we will probably never forget was the house we called ―1939‖. These people had owned this land since then and had lived there since the 70‘s and had accumulated A LOT of stuff in their basements. This house was so bad that it even brought out the local news station to come and check it out, giving the Ameri-muckers their five minutes of fame! Another highlight from work during out time spent in VT was Brunoooo‘s house also known as the crawl space house. There was no basement to this house; just a 2 foot insulated flooded crawl space. Though this was tough on our backs and tyvex suits it was actually kind of enjoyable. We did take our job very seriously since mold can be very dangerous to live in, but there were some days that‘s you couldn‘t help but laugh at how silly we looked in our cover alls, masks, power washer, squeegees, wet vac and the trusty ghost buster bleach sprayer. It got real serious when it was power washing time and we were all ready for action. Though at times the work got very dirty and very smelly there were still a lot of time to enjoy the great city of Burlington and all that it had to offer. At 25 Buell Street life was fun-such as having Christmas in July and taking a stroll in our sweaters to Vermont‘s famous Ben and Jerry‘s. Ameri-muckers 1.2 Together. Forever.
Raven Two: Round 4
Raven 2 Remix headed to Staten Island, NY. We say remix because two of Raven 2 members, Jen and Franklin, were on disaster while Ellen and Marcus from Raven 1 joined us. We spent our first couple of weeks of Round 4 on State Island blazing trails and even made a brand new trail named the Raven 2 Trail. Staying at Camp ―Pooch‖, will be an experience we will all remember as well as now always being able to appreciate a good ―spicket‖. Being on Staten Island gave us the chance to head over to Manhattan and check out what this amazing city had to offer. We were even in downtown Manhattan for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, which was a very moving experience to be part of. After about two weeks we received our disaster call, there had been a lot of teams on disaster due to the damage Hurricane Irene had caused-back to Vermont. We loaded up our van and headed north, rocking out to Adele and Beyonce. In a strange way, we felt home. We spent our first weekend in the adorable town of Bristol Vermont, which we were able to see some of the severe damage that Irene had causes such as demolished roads and bridges. From there we headed to Burlington to work at the JFO office, which was FEMA and state workers, working together. Our sponsors were SerVermont, in which we had the best supervisors, Hal, Eric and of course the hilarious, Katherine, ―I told them I was a liability‖. Working in an office for nine hours a day making phone calls was a whole new scene. Our mission was to reach out to over 1,700 people to see if they still needed help cleaning up from the Hurricane, throughout the phone calls we heard a lot of devastating stories of people who had lost nearly everything. Though these stories were tough to hear, we were glad that we had been able to reach them and offer them some comforting words. Being back here allowed us to also be part of some special events, such as the Vermont AmeriCorps Launch, which Ambrosia was the key note speaker at and she nailed it! We also got to meet and be on TV with the Governor as he promoted Vermont‘s Clean Up Day. Maybe the most special event we got to be part of was volunteering at the Pumpkin Regatta, where we got to watch 1,000 pound pumpkins be used as boats in which people raced around the lake in, something none of us thought we would ever witness! After spending a total of ten weeks of our service year helping the people of Vermont, we have met some of the nicest and most grateful people, we will always remember our time spent in the Green Mountain State!
Raven Three: Round 1
Raven 3 spent the last six weeks working with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. Although a very unsound round for Raven 3, we had the opportunity to work with an incredible organization and have walked away with a better understanding of the profound work that AmeriCorps NCCC portrays on a daily basis. Raven 3 was spilt up throughout the six weeks, some working at the Habitat Restore, while others found themselves working on various worksites. Although having the team separated made it difficult for a cohesive unit to be formed, Raven 3 had the opportunity to work with three amazing site supervisors, who kept the work engaging and kept both teams motivated. While working in the Restore members of Raven 3 found themselves making appliance deliveries, going on donation pickups, maintaining the Restore, helping numerous customers with their purchases, and much more. Those on the worksite have been able to build and use various skills relating to roofing, hanging siding, caulking, installation of doors, and landscaping. Even though the work load was very demanding, Raven 3 made sure to get out and enjoy New Orleans atmosphere, whether it was trying some local cuisine or listening to some native jazz music. Raven 3 will definitely miss the hospitality of New Orleans and miss getting the chance to interact with New Orleans natives on a daily basis. It has definitely been an eye opening experience, and it is very apparent that although five years after Katrina hit, New Orleans still needs a lot of help and we are honored to have been a part in the rebuilding process.
Raven Three: Round 2
Raven 3 had a whirlwind 2nd Round. The team was assigned to work eight weeks in Camden, New Jersey at the Camden Children‘s Garden. There Raven 3 helped to maintain and create community gardens in vacant lots around the city. They also helped with maintenance and festivals at the Children‘s Garden. After three weeks in Camden, Raven 3 was asked to take a week off of the Children‘s Garden and fill in on a project in Indian Head, Maryland. The coast lines on the Indian Head Naval Base were eroding away. The team worked with Baltimore Aquarium and Maryland Conservation Corps to plant 835 trees and over 20,000 marsh grasses. While in Indian Head the team was called to help with the tornado disaster relief in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Raven 3 finished up there week in Maryland and went back to Camden to pack up and say goodbye. From there Raven 3 embarked on there second two day long southern road trip. Raven 3 met up with several other NCCC teams in the efforts to clean up after the tornados that disrupted the South. Raven 3 mostly worked with Buffalo 1 and Raven 6 to run a distribution warehouse. The team also helped out with debris removal and surveying damages. Round 2 was full of moving locations, projects, living situations, and weather conditions for Raven 3. Over all the team enjoyed all that they were able to experience and learn throughout the round. Being able to assist in Alabama was very rewarding for the team and they are grateful to have had that opportunity.
Raven Three: Round 3
Raven 3 was chosen to work with a new sponsor doing a summer of service project in Middlebury, VT. The team worked with Mary Johnsonâ€˜s Children Foundation assisting with three summer camps. Although the town was lovely and the work was fun, Raven 3 quickly realized their services were not needed. After two weeks in Vermont, Raven 3 was moved to West Port, MA to fill in for a team that was sent on disaster. In Westport Raven 3 worked for Mass Audubonâ€˜s Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. Raven 3 was split up into three different projects for the sanctuary. One group worked directly on the sanctuary maintaining the grounds and doing environmental work. The second group did similar work, but worked alongside and mentored a summer youth crew sponsored by Allens Pond. The last group worked on Allens Pond largest fundraiser, the Duck Derby. The whole team was able to participate in working the actual Duck Derby on the teams last day of work. This was a challenging round for Raven 3 because the team was camping for five weeks and the work posed some challenges. As the round ended Raven 3 exceeded the sponsors expectations and was left with a great sense of accomplishment. Although a bit challenging Round 3 brought Raven 3 closer together!
Raven 3 was sent to work with the Academy of Success in Baltimore, Maryland for their fourth and final round. The team was to work on the Academy‘s Empowerment Center complex as well as assist in the academy‘s after school program. The team was excited to have to opportunity to do construction and work with children both in the same round.
Although the main focus for Raven 3 was the after school program, the team did some work on the Empowerment Center. The Empowerment Center will eventually become a complex that encompasses all the necessary tools someone would need to get back on their feet. There will be GED and trade school programs, offices for social services and the building department, and drug and alcohol abuse counselors, to name a few. The team worked on the complex‘s grounds and sorted through materials that will be used at the Center. Raven 3 believes in the Academy of Success and their mission. Working with inner-city youth can be difficult at times, but the team found ways to connect and care for the children. Raven 3 can‘t wait to see what the future holds for the Empowerment Center and the amount of people it will be able to help.
Raven Three: Round 4
Raven 3 took on a big role in running the after school program. There was over 100 children between the ages of 5 and 13 that attended. The children were split up between three different age groups and each day would rotate between three different activities. Each member of Raven 3 was either the leader of a group or an activity. The activity leaders were responsible for planning activities such as sports, art and crafts, and interpersonal skills. The team also helped with an hour of homework time and serving the children snacks and dinner.
Raven Four: Round 1
Raven 4 emerged from the first round a highly trained, unstoppable farming machine. Our big, sexy orange was six weeks working with the Kayam farm at Pearlstone, located in scenic Reisterstown, Maryland. We propagated mushrooms, chased chickens, tilled fields, planted delicious vegetables, tilled the same fields again, and pushed uncountable wheelbarrows full of soil up hills. In the process we ate our weight in chocolate, and grew closer than ever as a team. During our long hours in the Mo, our combined kitchen/dining area/living room/impromptu sleeping area, we learned a lot about each other. At Kayam, we had the opportunity to learn about all sorts of things. Tiferret, our wonderful volunteer coordinator, conducted workshops with us once a week in which we learned everything from soap-making to Jewish agricultural laws. Ian, the farm manager, was a walking encyclopedia of everything related to flora or fungi, and he led us in our Hebrew word of the day. Pussle means fail. Raven 4 invented its own language consisting of owl hoots in order to communicate across long distances. The emergency hoot system was successfully tested when a group of chickens went AWOL, and most of the team was summoned to catch them. To enliven long hours of tilling, we often talked and told riddles. We also played a game with the unconscious cooperation of the groundskeeper for the neighboring summer camp. Every time he shot a bottle rocket at the ever-present geese, it was necessary to
The muck at the bottom of the Mystic River smells like a garbage bag left out in the sun. It‘s contaminated with four hundred years of human and industrial waste, and while we all differ in our descriptions of its odor, it‘s universally agreed that the stuff cannot be good for you. At the end of the day, our arms itch. We‘re pretty sure that we are going to come out of here with strange mutations and we‘re crossing our fingers for the X-Men kind rather than the extra finger kind.
We‘ve all grown stronger, smarter, and probably better looking, too. Several of Raven 4‘s members were even chosen for solo missions of the utmost importance. Aja left us for a time to work bravely with Thunder 1, beginning the rebuilding process after the devastating tornadoes in Alabama. Daniel has gone to march for our freedom from that tyrant King George III. Logan has been away from us this round starting fires and battling who knows what beasties in the Great Dismal Swamp. Though separate sometimes, we‘ve grown closer together than ever as a team. Will our heroes be reunited? Find out in the next exciting installment: Round 3!
Raven Four: Round 2
Round 2 has been hectic: we‘ve completed 3 projects and traded team members like Pokémon cards. The round began in Iron Hill Park, Delaware, where we uprooted what felt like billions of acres of multi-flora rose and hauled mysterious metal debris out of the woods. Our project there was cut short when we were called on disaster to Mississippi, where our team joined Moose 4 at Red Cross headquarters. We drove fork lifts, wired computer networks, opened shelters, distributed information, and ate our weight daily in Doritos and chocolate. In the third and final section of our round, we drove to Somerville, Massachusetts, where we‘ve been battling water chestnuts on the Mystic River. They are spiny, evil plants with only one goal: invasion. Raven 4 has worked tirelessly to keep them at bay.
Raven Four: Round 3
Memories: There was the time Morgan shooed off two loose pit bulls just by pointing them away from us, and the time people brought us bottles of cold water when we were cleaning a lot. (We cleaned a lot of lots.) There was the mushroom that sprouted from the ceiling of our dining room after heavy rain, and the corner store where we bought our daily supplies of water ice and ginger ale. We weeded playgrounds, painted murals, tutored GED students and made a ton of window boxes. About two weeks in to our project, Jake, Morgan and David were called on disaster to Alabama. They spent three weeks on Hot Mess 2, fixing roofs, clearing debris, and generally being awesome elsewhere. For those of us in Camden, work could be frustrating, especially the weeding. But the people we met were what really made our time worthwhile. We‘ll all miss Migdalia, who welcomed us over and fed us more times than we can count. She had an endless supply of stories (like the time a man tried to vault her fence to hide from the police and landed in her prickle bushes) and of hospitality. Another Camden resident who will stick with us forever is Kimberly, one of the GED students that several of us tutored. Of course, we can‘t forget Mr. McNeil, whose bellowing voice could be heard outside every morning before work, or the rest of the landscaping crew. Also, there was Oscar, the one-legged man who sat on the porch of the halfway house across from us, shouting encouragement whenever we passed with a megaphone. Overall, we can all say that we have a different impression of Camden than the one we came in with, one that revolves more around the people and less around a reputation. It‘s been a great experience.
Raven Four: Round 4
Once upon a time 11 strangers were presented with the bold task of saving America through service. An overwhelming mission, but these young people were not afraid. From different corners of the country they were brought together to form Raven 4, a team like no other. Since the beginning Raven 4 has formed, stormed, normed and performed. Then repeated the cycle a dozen times over. Together they have rebuilt boardwalks, restored farms, saved rivers, cleaned parks, faced floods and even brought a little sunshine into urban areas. Also, theyâ€˜ve grown to trust one another, and live and work together not only as a team but a family. They challenged each other. Changed each other. Loved each other. Hated each other. Fought each other. Supported each other. Allowed each other to be exactly who they were and so all 11 lights shined as bright as they could. Not only through the good days, but through the rain, cold, mud, leaky ceilings and bed bugs. Through their individual trials, troubles and bad days they stuck together and never stopped shining. Raven 4 was a very mellow team. A nerdy team. An at times mischievous team. A lackadaisical but yet determined team. But always an invincible team. Their year progressed smoothly and as autumn approached they entered their fourth round eagerly. Some, eager to get started. Others, eager for it all to end. Autumn was the only season left for Raven 4 to face. And they found it at a YMCA camp in Edgewater, MD. Camp Letts was the teamâ€˜s last chance to show the world what they were capable of. History has it that they finished with a bang. The team was trained and certified in belaying. They facilitated workshops for children. They also helped beautify the grounds. But there greatest feat of all was the construction of over a dozen work-out stations along a fitness trail through the woods. They did not realize at the time how much they had all grown. Each and every one of them were wiser and stronger and better equipped to take on the world. They knew that they had gotten things done.
Raven Five: Round 1
Round one was an interesting round for Raven 5. It was interesting because we were just getting to know each and being in seclusion. We were thirty minutes away from the nearest gas station, we were able to work through our differences and bond as a team. We got a lot done in Raccoon Creek State Park for the park and for our team, over all a really great first round.
We painted murals, planted shrubs and flowers, played with local preschoolers, and pulled more weeds than we could ever count. Two weeks into our project we received word that we were being deployed to assist FEMA with tornado disaster relief in Alabama. Our team was sent to work with the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) in Jasper and Cordova to enter data, organize donations in warehouses, and to assist other volunteers with debris removal. While in Alabama we lost one member to the Freedom One composite team, had two others chainsaw trained, and also sent two down to Birmingham to work in the FEMA Joint Field Office for a week. Meanwhile we managed to sort and organize over 400 boxes of donated clothes, 1,000 cans of baby food, 1,100 can goods, 500 infant items, and other assorted warehouse items. Our work received the notice and appreciation of many people in the community and we left Alabama with feelings of accomplishment and appreciation for the opportunity to give to people who lost everything.
Raven Five: Round 2
Round 2 was a dramatic change for Raven 5 as we left the backcountry woods of Pennsylvania and headed to the city. We began the round in Camden, New Jersey working with Respond, Inc. to â€•clean and greenâ€– vacant lots.
Raven Five: Round 3
Third round has been different for our team. Meaning we have experienced a lot of change; such as going from a disaster project to an invasive species project, and having our first split round. Overall I can say we had a great round working in the Greater Newburgh area and in Yonkers New York. We worked at many different sites doing things such as demolition and invasive species removal. This was a great experience for our team and it will bring us to bigger and better things.
Raven 5 spent our final round in three different locations: Springfield, MA, Camden, NJ, and Wilmington, DE. Our teamâ€˜s mission in Springfield was to provide long term disaster recovery assistance to citizens affected by the June 1st tornado that left many parts of the city heavily damaged. We were able to do direct service for homeowners by removing debris. We also established the initial publication information for a multi-organizational collaborative group, Springfield Community Together Long Term Recovery Group. After Massachusetts Raven 5 spent a week working in Camden at the Habitat for Humanity Restore warehouse and on a seven row-home construction site. We then continued our Habitat service in Wilmington. Constructing the Millstone, a twenty-one home project with other corporate and community volunteers. During our time in Wilmington our team was able to learn more about Habitat for Humanity and gain valuable home building and repair skills by working on a variety of construction and demolition tasks.
Raven Five: Round 4
Raven Six: Round 1
In our first adventure, we divided between Newark, DE and Washington, D.C. Minus Paul, who was off fighting fires in the Great Dismal Swamp, we started off in Iron Hill Park pulling the invasive species multi-flora rose. It could get pretty quiet in the woods, but we managed to entertain ourselves by playing games, dancing, and finding ticks on each others clothes. When the weather wasn‘t exactly cooperative (which was often), we went to the Food Bank of Delaware. Learning about how the Food Bank worked and about the children they helped every day was eye-opening, and a great experience for us. Our first Community Day was a clean up at Iron Hill Park. Though we didn‘t draw the big crowds, we were joined by B15s own Jen Horan and Michelle Royal. Court and Darren did some CAP-ing, and Ceci planned a service learning activity about the decomposition rates of certain trash. During this part of the round, we lived at 9H. It was strange to have the place to ourselves, and a bit lonely. Luckily for us, we headed off to D.C. and Servathon 2011. We started working with Greater D.C. Cares to plan a weekend long service event at schools, parks, and community centers around the D.C.-Metro area. Getting supplies ready and delivered to locations led to some very busy days. We also quickly learned that driving UHauls around D.C. is not the easiest thing to do, as our run-ins with the Secret Service can attest to. Servathon 2011 was a big success; there were a lot of volunteers at all the project sites, and we also had the opportunity to lead some of these groups. We met a lot of people that weekend who were grateful for the work we did. Looking back, round one seems like a blur. Because of the split projects, we didn‘t spend much time in either Delaware or D.C. We survived tick attacks and traffic ticket threats; we survived traffic in general. Despite this, we had a blast at each site and feel that we really made a difference in each of those communities.
Raven Six: Round 2
Raven 6 began Round 2 with a New York state of mind. Working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Staten Island, we planted trees, began work on a new trail, and helped clear an existing one. We spent our days in the woods, and our nights in a tiny cabin at a Boy Scout Camp, where we watched a minimum of two movies every day, like the classic John Travolta/Nicolas Cage film Face Off. Looking back, we probably spent too much time watching movies. Besides watching movies, Raven 6 also learned a lot about Staten Island. Despite its small size, driving anywhere on the Island takes forever, and traffic on the highway isn‘t even a question. We also had the chance to discover local beaches, and the wonder that is self-serve frozen yogurt. And, of course, we explored New York City. Our first day in the city, we worked with Nike‘s Let Us Play football camp for grade school kids, where we rubbed elbows with some past and present NFL players. No big deal. Our stint in NYC, however, was short lived. One week into Round 2, and we got the call from B15 that we were being pulled to do disaster relief in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after tornados devastated the area in April. Eight hundred miles later, we were down South and seeing firsthand how destructive tornados can be. We had the opportunity to work at a distribution center, where we got to interact directly with those affected by the storm. The majority of our time was spent in a donations warehouse; receiving and sorting shipments so they could be distributed to the storm victims. Our warehouse was home to a great team of long term volunteers that we had a lot of fun working with; in addition to Raven 3 and Buffalo 1, NCCC was all over the Northport warehouse, getting some serious work done. All the teams had a lot of fun wandering around the University of Alabama, where every single surface was plastered with some kind of Crimson Tide reference, and/or an elephant. We made it through the heat, thanks to the entertainment of temporary Raven 6er Chris Quirk. And even though we didn‘t get to hold our inspired-by-The Office-awardsshow, there‘s always Round 3…
Raven Six: Round 3
Raven 6 loaded up Barbara and headed off to Hookstown, Pennsylvania and Raccoon Creek State Park, as well as Pittsburgh and the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Our tasks at the park revolved around restoring old cabins that had been built by the CCC (which we were also staying in), and building a bridge on one of the park‘s trails. Raven 6 was incredibly excited to be at Raccoon Creek, particularly because there was a lake with a lovely beach. We did our best to remove the critters from our cabins by installing bat screens, removing old wood, and spraying wasp nests. Some of the wasps were not thrilled by this, and some of us may have been stung. Nonetheless, we were able to see these historic cabins become livable again. Along with fixing the cabins we were living in, we refurbished the inside and outside of another cabin, and built a bridge on one of the park‘s trails. Said bridge was a mile away from the nearest bathroom facilities, which made for an interesting few days...But don‘t let this seem like we didn‘t have a great time. Because we did. Some might say too much fun, if you happen to see the pictures of a few R6ers who may have painted cat whiskers on their faces with primer. A large part of the joy we found at Raccoon Creek was due to our site supervisor, Paul Wargo, or The Coolest Guy Ever. Paul made us laugh everyday with the words of wisdom he dropped on us, and the way that he always made sure we knew exactly how to do whatever it was that we were doing. Before we had a chance to get cabin fever, we headed off to Pittsburgh for a week for the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Our week started off with a long night at the airport, helping arriving veterans off the planes and into their wheelchairs. We got to meet a lot of the athletes, and became really excited to help with the Games. At the Pittsburgh Convention Center, we were recruited by a woman named Abby to help organize the Slalom courses, which were obstacle courses with varying levels of difficulty based on the athletes abilities. The courses didn‘t look too bad, until Abby let us try some of the obstacles. We did not do well. After setting up the courses, we helped with scorekeeping and timing during the event. It wouldn‘t be a stretch to say that we were all blown by what these veteran athletes could do in their chairs. We were amazed every day watching these men and women compete, and learned that attitude has a lot to with a persons ability. Getting the opportunity to meet and talk with so many veterans was inspiring and a little humbling, especially when they thanked us for our service, when they‘re the ones who deserve the praise. And so, to sum up Round 3, Raven 6 would like to say Thank You. Thanks to the Program Office for giving us these projects, everyone at Raccoon Creek (Paul especially!), Abby and Rick from the Wheelchair Games, and most importantly, the veterans we met there, who showed us that attitude is everything. 118
Raven Six: Round 4
For our fourth and final adventure, we headed up North to Portland, Maine, where we split our time between the Freeport Historical Society and Habitat for Humanity. We were incredibly excited; Portland had been the one place that we all wanted to visit, and we had wanted to work with Habitat since the beginning of the year. Maine didn‘t disappoint. The scenery was beautiful, and it was nice to be in a place where people had actually heard about AmeriCorps. We were also fortunate enough to work with some of the best project sponsors and site supervisors we‘d ever had. Our Habitat project had us in Freeport, working on two houses. We helped with framing, roofing, and insulation, and we learned a lot about basic construction. It was a great experience to learn more about Habitat for Humanity and how exactly they‘re working to eliminate substandard housing. We also worked with the Freeport Historical Society to reconstruct a shed on one of their properties, Pettengil Farm. Working at the farm was great; we got to build the shed from the ground up, and we loved seeing how our work progressed day to day. When we weren‘t working, we were exploring Portland and Freeport, or crossing off goals from our Bucket List. We also spent some time buying flannel, trying to grow beards, and pretending to be Mainers. Some of us succeeded. As the round wound down, we talked about the year; how fast it had gone, and our favorite memories. We were both sad and excited for everything to be over, and to see what the future would bring. Our futures were uncertain, but we knew that we would miss being together. And even though we were headed our separate ways, we will always be Raven 6.
Raven Seven: Round 1
Raven 7 had a very busy and diverse first round, with three projects in three very different locations. The first project was a Habitat for Humanity blitz build in Annapolis, Maryland. Minus the two firefighters, Raven 7 donned hard hats to work on ten different houses alongside members of the military, veterans, and members of other AmeriCorps programs. Even Patrick Corvington, the CEO of the Corporation of National and Community Service, showed up to lend a hand and CA-CAW alongside the team. After a weekend in the Point, Raven 7 flapped their wings down to the nation‘s capital to help Courtney‘s House, a nonprofit that supports survivors of human sex trafficking. The team‘s task was to rehabilitate a donated house and turn it into a comfortable and operable drop-in center for the survivors and staff. This involved scraping adhesive off of used tiles, a job that challenged each team member‘s patience and sanity, especially Nicki‘s. The team also had more satisfying project—painting, shelving, and finally laying down all those tiles. They walked into a huge mess, but walked out satisfied with a nearly complete building, and the last coat of paint applied by some of the survivors the drop-in center is meant for. From there, Raven 7 drove all the way up to Vermont, where everyone has a beard and drives a Suburu. A drastic change from the urban streets of DC, the team gazed out mountain vistas as they propagated seeds and graded saplings. Everyone was excited to spend an entire day doing trail maintenance, where they earned their bowls of chili that they ate at their awesome lodge in the middle of the woods.
Raven Seven: Round 2
Raven 7‘s work with the City of Buffalo is exactly the type of work that NCCC should be doing, beyond doubt a dream project. Sponsored by the city‘s Division of Citizen Services, the team found themselves doing a wide range of work that had a real and direct impact on communities throughout Buffalo. There was no typical day for Raven 7; they could be anywhere in the city doing almost any work imaginable. Cleaning parks and vacant lots, clearing driftwood from beaches, cutting baseball diamonds, working daycares, delivering mattresses, handing out groceries, raking playgrounds, constructing new community gardens, or revitalizing old ones— Raven 7 did it all. With such an array of projects and tasks, we got to know the city very well, and the people in it. Each Wednesday, we worked at Mayor Byron Brown‘s Clean Sweep events, where city departments, community leaders, and volunteers converged on one street to clean it up and talk to the citizens. By the end of the round, everyone there recognized us and acknowledged the help that we were giving Buffalo. Working in community gardens was one of our favorite tasks. We helped block club leaders convert vacant lots that served as havens for crime into beautiful gardens that the community could enjoy. It was so exciting to give them the labor they needed to realize their visions. And we loved working with Daytuan, our point of contact at the Belle Center. His energy and enthusiasm were remarkable; he‘s a prime example of the people who really care and work hard for their community. There are so many great things happening in Buffalo that finding ISPs was easy—we didn‘t even get to do all of the ones we wanted to. Raven 7 had an amazing round in Buffalo. The work was exciting, challenging and worthwhile, and we were able to help a city that needs it. One of the most important things we accomplished—is that we established a relationship between NCCC and Buffalo.
Raven Seven: Round 3
The first day Raven 7 arrived at the Hamilton City Neighbors High School they were greeted by the most adorable sponsor weâ€˜ve had so far! Aisha Isaacson was so excited to have us working at their school. A special bond was created between team and sponsor while Hamilton High School was transformed into a finished product. The City Neighbors project was delightfully laid back for most of the round. This was because our housing was right next door to our work site. Wait, I take that back to a degree. The work that was the most intense in through the middle of the round was pulling staples. Imagine a small kiddy swimming pool filled to the top with floor staples! Between two floors, with about 10 rooms a piece, members of Raven 7 removed thousands of staples. It was hot, muggy and brutal but we persevered. Along with the staples being top priority, other tasks were painting the inside and outside of the school. That proved to be a messy job as always. Raven 7 has grown stronger in every round. One thing that has remained consistent was team bonding. Together after work we would do all sorts of activities that included team PT weekly, Roller skating, Team dates, Dinner, Movies, The mall and all sorts of other things. Showers after a sweaty day of work were a sort of bonding as well because there were multiple shower stalls for all. Everyone on the team also enjoyed our one hour lunches because it was a cool break from the very hot work we were doing inside the school. With the great sponsors we had the City Neighbors Project turned out to be a great third round for Raven 7.
Raven Seven: Round 4
The members of Raven 7 are no strangers to split rounds. They began the year with a three-way split in Round 1. Round 4 takes the cake, though, challenging the members of Raven 7 to deal with uncertainty and flexibility on a whole new level. First assigned to disaster work in Alabama, then Vermont, Raven 7 found out on the first day of the round that they would actually be going to Conway, New Hampshire. Commissioned by the Governor of New Hampshire, Raven 7 worked to help resident of Transvale Acres, a trailer park ravaged by floods caused by Irene. Cleaning out houses, ripping up carpets, haling ruined furniture—almost nothing was off limits for the Raven 7 crew. In just a week and a half, they worked themselves out of work in Transvale Acres and surrounding communities. From there, the team moved to Dover, Deleware to work at a National Estuarine Research Reserve. While they never figured out how to pronounce ―Estuarine,‖ Raven 7 did learn the ins and outs of ripping up and putting down thousands of feet of boardwalk. Raven 7‘s third project began halfway into the round: Camp Hope for Kids in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. They were given the run of the entire camp, tasked mostly with rehabbing old cabins. At night, the challenge was to confront their fear of the dark, seek remedies for Cabin fever, and escape AmeriCorps to take unused personal days. And as if three projects weren‘t enough, Raven 7 concluded the year just how they began with their first mini-spike: working at a Girl Scout Camp in Maryland. A long, hectic round championed with ease by the Raven 7, first in numbers, last in letters.
Phoenix 2‘s round can only be described with one word: legendary. Their very existence in the Virginian lower country caused just under 1,000 acres to ignite with joy in just three weeks. Each burn had a different yet equally important purpose such as increasing biodiversity, preventing mega fires, and saving the homes of Woody‘s nearly extinct cousin the red cockaded woodpecker. They worked with several amazing burn crews through The Nature Conservancy, The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Blackwater. The team had many amazing experiences during these burns. Logan got a ‗big vine thing‘ stuck on him, Beth turned into a black bear, and Preston got an offensive red sunburn on the back of his neck. Sam taught the team about the benefits of taking the mobile attack airborne, Eileen united all of the bananas of the world, while Wiley discovered his inner photographer. Zac learned that he is part monkey while trying to find the best cell service in the gypsy village…at the top of trees. Sean created and collected enough sweat to fill the 3000 acre Lake Drummond, and Brooke shared her Midwest gypsy magic with the team. Isaac discovered that the drip torch has other practical purposes. Throughout the round the team was guided by the wise and venerable ways of Steve ‗Papa Bear‘ Hubner. He imparted many things upon the team including direction. He needed only to point one finger of his massive paw and the team would follow in search of the next fire opportunity – gypsy village in tow. When the team could not find fire, they found other work worthy of their legendary status. They set up, worked at, and took down a birding festival sponsored by the Great Dismal Swamp. Needless to say, many owl pellets were dissected and no faces left without a smile and some face paint. They also taught the youth of America the glory of catching catfish at a Youth Fishing day. Largest catch of the day you ask? A whopping 9 lb 14 oz by a young gentleman on his very first day of fishing. The team also planted 1,000 native long leaf pines and laid 11 lines of irrigation with the Department of Forestry and ol‘ Grandpa Billy. It‘s safe to say that many generations to come will proclaim the legend of AmeriCorps Phoenix 2 Class XVII.
When Phoenix 3 was initially assembled, they were told there was a good chance they would be sent to work a major wildfire in the American West or American South. They spent their entire summer break waiting to find out where they would be sent—Arizona? Texas? They never got word, and found themselves at the Great Dismal Swamp, with a great team and nothing to do. There was a quick effort to fill the void of wildfire in their schedules, and they found plenty of work in the Suffolk and Norfolk area of Virginia. They worked at a fishing derby for underprivileged youth, performed trail maintenance at a U.S. fish hatchery, organized a new thrift store that benefits For Kids , and helped perform tasks around the swamp. They got to work a small 1.5 acre ground fire that resulted in 3 days in the hot sun making mudpies…and enjoying sleeping at the Hilton. Then, just when they had given up hope for a major wildfire…lightning struck! And the Great Dismal Swamp was burning. Immediately involved with the efforts, Phoenix 3 watched the fire grow from just a few small acres to over 6000. More people came every day and eventually the Swamp‘s fire compound had been taken over by an Incident Command Team that staffed over 400 people to help put out the fire. Phoenix 3 was involved with some of the initial direct attack efforts, and after the fire got bigger and an indirect approach was taken, they got to work on engines. They helped mop up Interior Ditch, preventing the ground fire from eating away at the road that led to Lake Drummond, the source of water essential to putting out the fire. The team also got to help burn out and put out spot fires. This elite team was given a wonderful glimpse into what it‘s like to work a major wildfire. The team was strong enough to handle the hard work and the long hours, working alongside grizzled veterans with much more experience. They walked away from the round, satisfied that they had done what they were meant to do.
Round 4 started off with a bang, we headed down to the Great Dismal Swamp to start a 14-day deployment on the Lateral West Wildfire. We started the first day off in camp, rolling hose, which got us all a little anxious since we really wanted to see some fire! We ended that day with over 8 miles of hose rolled up, which seemed to impress the higher-ups. The next day we were sent on the fire! For the next 2 weeks, we were fortunate enough to work with a crew from Pennsylvania, who taught us everything they knew. They were patient with us when we had questions and showed us new skills and tricks. We learned some things about our own Phoenix members, like how Alex was awesome at taking the weather every hour (Prepare to standby for the 1100 weather), and how Billy is probably the best lookout you will ever meet! (Reliable. Trustworthy). We spent our nights eating 30-dollar meals and sleeping in our own beds at the Holiday Inn. Then, our 14 days were up, and the fire was still going so we started another rotation. We were then moved to the Hilton (please feel sorry for us). By now, the pumping operation had put in so much water that we were given hip waders to enter the swamp with. We helped set up sling loads of pipes for the helicopters to take. After 7 days, our 2nd deployment was over and we moved out of the hotels into the crew quarters at the Great Dismal Swamp. We spent the next couple of weeks helping out the Virginia Forestry Department picking long-leaf pinecones. The long-leaf pine is a tree that is quickly dying out, so the forestry department is working hard to save it by collecting the cones every year to create ―supertrees‖. We also worked with Back Bay NWR, to help clean-up 3 miles of beach that were littered with trash from Hurricane Irene. We saw a Mola Mola Sunfish that had washed up onto the beach, apparently this was a small fish for it‘s kind but we thought it looked pretty big to us… just don‘t stand downwind from one of those things when they are rotting on the beach… So.. to recap.. We fought a wildfire, had 30 dollar dinners every night for 3 weeks, slept in hotels, AND spent days on the beach.. are you feeling sorry for us yet? All in all, this was an excellent round and we will never forget the people who were so kind to us, like the Pennsylvania crew and the Mattamuskeet crew (Uncle Buddy and Papa Jamin!)
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Composite Teams Service Year-2011
The day started out as any other for our six heroes, it was a dark and possibly stormy day at Perry Point. As dawn gave way to dusk, six of us were lollygagging. Suddenly, a Delorean-esque 15P appeared on the horizon. ―Let‘s get inside at fiddle with any controls we see!‖ no one in particular suggested; oblivious to the fact that said vehicle was clearly a time machine. So we piled into what would soon become affectionately known as ―The Van,‖ accidently pressing the conspicuous button shaped like a tri-pointed hat. ―ELLAAAA!!!!‖ screamed Benton Homes ―What have you done ELLAAA!!!‖ KER-SPLOOSHY!! As the mysterious vehicle roared into a state of semi-sentience and began hurdling us over time and space hurdles, we hung on for dear life (only three of us soiled ourselves). We arrived, befuddled and discombobulated, in the Great-ish State of Rhode Island. Adding to our befuddlement was the fact that all of us had somehow shed our NCCC uniforms and were now wearing clothing typical of the 1780s. Indeed we had traveled back in time 230 years to 1781 and had also been transformed into French soldiers charged with helping a young America win her freedom. Declaring ourselves Freedom One, we began the arduous task of walking west. After the first 100 miles, some of us began to have foot issues, even resorting to shoe surgery. ―Oh Mylanta!‖ roared Amanda Skalicky; bringing out the fierce Minnesotan inside her. But nevertheless, we trekked onward. Along the way we met many colorful characters, including a man who claimed to have a 200 year old sword and as Ella Chalmers later noted, ―His horse has a Facebook.‖ We also encountered an individual who Laura Mack tenderly nicknamed ―Matt Damon.‖ We created games to pass the time, the most popular and thus confusing one being the misleadingly titled Blue Octopus. Did you know, for example, that the sound a fox makes is something like DUM-DEE-DUMM? We didn‘t either. Along our journey we frequently stopped at a popular and seemingly ever-present eatery by the name of Ye Olde Dough-nuts for Dunking, although we were not above accepting free provisions and vittles from the local populous. ―Guys, I‘m eating this doughnut ironically‖ scoffed a passionate Daniel Clesowich. Towards the finale of our voyage, we passed from Connecticut into New York. There we met with famous dignitaries such as the illustrious Vanessa Williams (VWOfficial). As we looked out on the horizon, we prepared to ramble back to the future. Assembling inside the van, we set the controlling doohickey to 2011. And as we rocketed like a rocket ship rocketing David Pergamit was heard over the din, ―Can we go back to Rhode Island? I need to get a scratch-it ticket.‖
Freeze One was formed just a week after fourth round started. The team was made up of ten N-trips from six different teams and one fearless STL who took on the role as the team‘s leader. When Freeze One was informed that their disaster mission was to take place in North Dakota the members were confused, but intrigued. Before being flown off to North Dakota, Freeze One learned that the city of Minot, where they were headed, had experienced horrible flooding last summer. The team was to work with the Red Cross at a shelter for the people who were still displaced from the floods. Red Cross and FEMA were working hard to move in trailers for the people residing in the shelter before the winter months, where the ground freezes making construction of trailers nearly impossible. Freeze One‘s main duties at the shelter were to assist with registering new people who needed to stay at the shelter and help serve and stock the food. Socializing and listening to the clients was also a big and important part of what the team was to do. Although the work wasn‘t physically demanding, the team felt an emotional weariness due to the close attachments to the clients, who had been through a great deal. The members of Freeze One were sent back to their original teams after being in Minot for three weeks. The news that trailers were arriving for the clients had just started to roll in just as the team was heading out. It was exciting for the team to leave knowing that these disaster victims, whom they had the opportunity to form a bond with, would finally have a place they could call their own again and would be able to start rebuilding their lives.
The first composite team of Class XVII was deployed to Alabama to run the City of Tuscaloosa‘s Volunteer Reception Center (VRC), which was set up in response to the tornado that hit the area on April 27th. Dubbed ―Thunder One,‖ this team joined Moose Six to take on the task of registering all of the volunteers that arrived in the city to help with the cleanup efforts. Through the month of May, people continued to pour into Tuscaloosa from across the country to lend a hand, and within two weeks the VRC had broken the national record for volunteers entered, with over 15,000 eventually registering. In addition to logging in volunteers, the team was one of the first outside groups allowed into the affected area to perform damage assessments, in coordination with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and a detachment of U.S. Marines. By the end of May, the Corps Members had assessed nearly 1,000 separate homes for damage and left a new case management system in place for future groups to follow. Thunder One stayed in a cottage at the Moundville Archaeological Park. When they did manage to get some free time during their 39 days in Alabama, they spent it building fires outside in the 98 degree heat, exploring Tuscaloosa, experimenting with different types of s‘mores, and eating pie in ―nearby‖ Greensboro.
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
2011 Selected Highlights & Accomplishments 384.79 tons of debris or trash removed 220.63 tons of food received, inventoried or distributed 54.06 tons of underbrush removed 51.04 tons of exotic vegetation removed 17671 New trees planted 21637 people assisted in disaster areas 17617 new trees or shrubs planted 13013 books sorted, inventoried, repaired or shelved 28875 volunteers recruited or coordinated 6480 feet of streambeds or riverbanks restored or protected 80.18 tons of clothes received, sorted or distributed 2638 people in environmental education programs 146 community assessments conducted or evaluated 4038 damage assessments completed 2811 people participating in recycling programs 80 people tending or helping with community gardens 2409 at-risk youth assisted 813 senior citizens assisted 368 NCCC alumni engaged in service 29 houses constructed
Images from the Service Year: Class 17
Class XVII Directory
Atlantic Region Staff: LaQuine Roberson-Region Director firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Beach-Deputy Director-Operations email@example.com Robin Nixon-Deputy Director-Programs firstname.lastname@example.org Thea Becton-Assistant Program Director email@example.com Jason Cangelosi-Moose Unit Leader firstname.lastname@example.org Jen Horan-Raven Unit Leader email@example.com Amanda McCarty-Assistant Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org Sharon Kellogg-Buffalo Unit Leader email@example.com Sam McKenzie-Community Relations Specialist SMcKenzie@cns.gov Vivian Newstate-Member Support Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org Carlyn Payton-Assistant Program Director for Training email@example.com Michelle Royall-Resource Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Tuck-Counselor email@example.com Dernard Williams-Support Services Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo 1: Team Leader Megan Riley email@example.com Andrew Allmendinger firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Cuff email@example.com Lauryn Kaczor firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Kostek email@example.com Elieen Munsch firstname.lastname@example.org Aubrey Sedor email@example.com Justin Wood firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo 2: Team Leader Constantino Rago email@example.com Aaron Brown firstname.lastname@example.org Briana Courchesne-Owades email@example.com Benton Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org Tomoyo Kuriyama email@example.com Angela Morabito firstname.lastname@example.org Kendrick Nicholas Christine Reynolds email@example.com Patrick Skovria firstname.lastname@example.org Felicia Smith email@example.com Andrea Zeritis firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo 3: Team Leader Marlee Cea email@example.com Barry Clark Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley Elsasser email@example.com Chelsea Hurst firstname.lastname@example.org Tenaya Lamon-Anderson tenayaLA@gmail.com Andrew Proctor email@example.com Tiffany Solis firstname.lastname@example.org Gregory Venturini email@example.com Anthony Wadas firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo 4: Team Leader Caleb Kulfan email@example.com Nathan Bishop firstname.lastname@example.org Tracy Choomack email@example.com Joseph Ijams firstname.lastname@example.org John Miller email@example.com Kevante Reese firstname.lastname@example.org Samantha Saladino email@example.com Kevin Slowe firstname.lastname@example.org Analisa Sutherland email@example.com Dominique Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo 5: Team Leader Katrina Hill email@example.com Racquel Bean firstname.lastname@example.org Katherine Figura email@example.com Leandro Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org
Benjamin Riley email@example.com Elisabeth Valdez firstname.lastname@example.org Isaac Winant email@example.com
Buffalo 6: Team Leader Rachel Duffin RDuffin7@aol.com Erick Benson firstname.lastname@example.org Carlos Castro email@example.com George Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Emily Donnel email@example.com William Gonsler firstname.lastname@example.org Amanda Skalicky email@example.com Tiffany Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo 7: Team Leader John Serbell email@example.com Patrick Berning-Oâ€˜Neill firstname.lastname@example.org Devin Manning-Riley email@example.com Preston Sharpe firstname.lastname@example.org Steffi Tornow email@example.com
Moose 1: Team Leader Katie Veys firstname.lastname@example.org Eliza Bazilian email@example.com Justin Brammer Johobo2150@gmail.com Hurley Combs firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebekah Gougeon email@example.com Michael Jacobson firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Rood email@example.com Stephanie Snyder firstname.lastname@example.org Larissa Taylor email@example.com
Moose 2: Team Leader Allen Hunt firstname.lastname@example.org Maria Biava email@example.com Christopher Blankenship firstname.lastname@example.org Wesley Dexter email@example.com Brooke Gates firstname.lastname@example.org Melissa Kleppinger email@example.com Haley Meshnik firstname.lastname@example.org Nolan Orme email@example.com Brandon Rayl firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Wessely email@example.com
Moose 3: Team Leader Jamie Inarda firstname.lastname@example.org Naiemah Brown email@example.com Alyssa Cobb firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Fitzgerald email@example.com Bethany Founier firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Hartman email@example.com
Megan Hill firstname.lastname@example.org Nicholas King email@example.com Evan Owen firstname.lastname@example.org Roxann Phelan email@example.com
Moose 4: Team Leader Danielle Arroyo firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Collins MichaelRCollins10@gmail.com Alexandra Felt email@example.com Courtney Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Jenna Lees email@example.com Jacob Miller firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Sullivan email@example.com
Moose 5: Team Leader Heather Waters firstname.lastname@example.org Jaâ€˜Lissa Chandler email@example.com Anthony Crowe firstname.lastname@example.org Joseph DiCerbo Joey.email@example.com Thomas Koester firstname.lastname@example.org David Pergamit email@example.com Katherine Szymszek firstname.lastname@example.org
Moose 6: Team Leader JJ Beggs email@example.com Sara Conner firstname.lastname@example.org
Brittany Gala email@example.com Rachel Lantz firstname.lastname@example.org Harley McCarter email@example.com Brandon Wilfrom firstname.lastname@example.org Joshua Young email@example.com
Moose 7: Team Leader Matthew Slavics firstname.lastname@example.org Shea Boughton email@example.com Laura Brevig firstname.lastname@example.org Brandon Clark email@example.com Ciara Creasman firstname.lastname@example.org Maria Medina email@example.com Bradley Meyer firstname.lastname@example.org Bethany Stolz email@example.com Nicole Wojcik firstname.lastname@example.org
Raven 1: Team Leader Kevin Jones email@example.com Tristan Fowler firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Fox email@example.com Madeline Gribbon firstname.lastname@example.org Ryan Hatem email@example.com Latasha Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Ellen Leoni email@example.com
Kelsey Smith firstname.lastname@example.org Marcus Thibault email@example.com
Raven 2: Team Leader Ambrosia Barnetts firstname.lastname@example.org Franklin Brimage email@example.com Michelle Faherty firstname.lastname@example.org Jennifer Hoyle email@example.com Richard Kappler firstname.lastname@example.org Alyson Keefer email@example.com Alexa Rossini firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Smith
Raven 3: Team Leader Leeann Sudol Lee3z@hotmail.com Erin Bruhn email@example.com Peter Donovan Peterd.firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen Drieze email@example.com Elizabeth Foster Elisabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org Melanie Fuqua email@example.com Kyle Lauchmen firstname.lastname@example.org Ben Pritchard email@example.com Jasmine Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Aurora White email@example.com
Raven 4: Team Leader Amelia Hansen
amelia .firstname.lastname@example.org Jacob Biddlecome email@example.com Daniel Clesowich firstname.lastname@example.org Aja Devlin email@example.com Hannah Easley firstname.lastname@example.org Owen Haller email@example.com Logan Jones Morgan Morris David Mueller Adeliah Nero Heather Webster
Raven 5: Team Leader Hunter Griendling firstname.lastname@example.org Wiley Biro email@example.com Ella Chalmers firstname.lastname@example.org Evan Kerschner email@example.com Matthew Malech firstname.lastname@example.org Dennis Oâ€˜Madigan email@example.com Josh Romero firstname.lastname@example.org Rodneisha Smith email@example.com Kiera Westfall Rachel Woods woodsray@gmail
Raven 6: Team Leader Griffith Ryan-Roberts Maria Browning firstname.lastname@example.org Dâ€˜angelo Hopkins email@example.com Paul Logan firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtney Miskell email@example.com Dania Munnigh firstname.lastname@example.org Cecilia Ochoa email@example.com Darren Steptoe Lyndsey Sturkey firstname.lastname@example.org
Raven 7: Team Leader Julian Cesner email@example.com Carl Danielson CarlDanielson06@yahoo.com Zachary Dech firstname.lastname@example.org Nicole Dunne email@example.com Joshua Foli firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Jarrett email@example.com Ariel Keeton firstname.lastname@example.org Colin May email@example.com Sophia Neil Kathryn Squyres firstname.lastname@example.org Gillian Taylor
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Atlantic Region PO Box 27 - Perry Point, Maryland 21902