Get to the Point Alumni spotlight
B3! B3! B3! The Legacy continues
Marlee Cea was a Class XVI Corps Member on Badger 3 and Class XVII Team Leader Buffalo 3, both years at the Atlantic Region. The members of Buffalo 3 sat down with Marlee to talk about her time as a Team Leader, her life after AmeriCorps and her former Corps member, now Team Leader, Tony Wadas. What was your favorite project? I guess one of my favorite projects was as a Corps Member when I worked on disaster in Florida. It was in response to the oil spill. It was my favorite mostly because I learned the most from it: volunteer coordination, the politics involved in disasters and how different counties work together and handle it. It was just an educational experience and my team was awesome and did a lot of hard work and put in a lot of hard hours. So, it was the most rewarding as far as what we could ac-
Marlee worked as a wildland firefighter and served as a Team Leader during her round on the Phoenix composite team.
Marlee Cea, center, third from the right, meet up with her old team Buffalo 3, while the team was working in Massachusetts. B3 Team Leader, second from right , was her Corps member complish. It was also really informative. What made you want to be a Team Leader?
Do you feel like you learned more as a Corps Member or as a Team Leader?
Probably as a Team Leader. For me, it was a personal challenge, but it was Well, I have always been a responsible also a professional challenge. You person. Being a Team Leader was just work and interface with the sponsor the next step up. Being a Corps Mem- and B15 and you have to manage yourber, I had the opportunity to be a TL self in a lot of different ways and prefor a couple of rounds. I knew in order sent yourself to your team sometimes to explore all of my options, I needed in different ways than how you talk to to come back as a Team Leader and see anybody else. You just learn to adjust what that was all about. I was never to all kinds of situations and people really in a leadership position before and I think it benefits you in the proAmeriCorps, so it was a whole new fessional world. challenge for me and I wanted to see it through. Had you worked in a professional setting before AmeriCorps? What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you went I was a crisis counselor after I graduatfrom Corps Member to Team ed from college. I did that for a year Leader? and a half before joining AmeriCorps. Probably the sense of having your own team and being responsible for nine other people. As a Corps Member, you’re only responsible for yourself and the influence you have on the team. As a Team Leader, you are responsible for every person on the team and their actions. It’s a huge weight that doesn’t go away until November.
So all the team drama and personal conflicts were easy for you to deal with since you had so much experience? Haha, no it definitely wasn’t easy. That’s another thing you learn as a Corps Member. There are some people you can handle, but that you totally would never choose to room with. I 1
Get to the Point NCCC and working with so many different nonprofits, seeing so many different sides of nonprofits and community development, it’s how I decided what I want to do. So, I’m going back to school in the fall, actually. That’s awesome, what are you going to study? I’m going to get a Masters in sustainable development through the World Learning Institute. Do you have a favorite memory of our Team Leader, Tony? My whole team was full of big characters, and he was always someone I could count on. One of my favorMarlee, in the traditional Team Leader green T-shirt, lower right, sits with her Buffalo ite things was listening to him play mandolin in big groups. Our team 3 team and other AmeriCorps members and staff of their sponsor. was very musical, and he inspired got lucky though, coming back [as a guess, since we didn’t have a unit lead- other people to practice more and TL], and like I said, as a Corps Member er per se. We had people like Jen and play more. I got lucky, I got to lead two different Dave Beach who helped us out, if we teams, and my teams were awesome. needed direction and important things As a Corps Member, though, my Unit like that, but we didn’t have a direct team was a little rough around the edg- Unit Leader to ask questions to. es. So, it was the best of both worlds. I How has your AmeriCorps NCCC got to challenge myself dealing with people who I normally wouldn’t choose experience helped and affected you since graduation? to be around, and then people I enjoyed being around and work with them. It’s hard. I’m a person who gets along with pretty much everybody, but it’s hard when you live and you work and you eat and sleep and shop and travel together…
It has definitely affected me. For one thing, dealing with so many things, I have the confidence to know that I can handle certain things. A lot of the things that I went through were very stressful, and things that I never would have thought could happen How was the transition from did. After going through them and Badger to Buffalo? not breaking down entirely, you realWell, our Unit Leader, when there ize that you can handle a certain were Badgers, was very strict. He was amount of pressure and handle that a disciplinarian and he was a huge per- responsibility that you never faced son who people were just afraid of, but before, so it gives you a confidence as in a nice way. If you got to know him, a professional to know that you can he was a nice and cool guy, but no one deal with things. When you’re in an wanted to tick him off, so that was interview, you know you can do it, so nice. As a Team Leader, coming in last you can sell yourself better. It year, we didn’t have a Unit Leader un- sounds weird, but it’s true. til the middle of first round. It was bit When I first started, I didn’t want to go of a struggle as Team Leaders to set ourselves up as a disciplinary function. back to school necessarily. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so through We had to unify more than normal, I 2
Marlee, with her Corps member Greg Venturini on a service learning event at a fire station near their spike.