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AMERICORPS NCCC APRIL 2012 Volume 3, Issue 1

Escape the Ordinary Special points of interest:  Perry Point’s Raven One gives us an update on their Round 1 project.  Where are NCCC teams currently serving?  The Application Process

Inside this issue: FEMA Corps FAQs


Benefits of Service


Where Are We Now?


Getting Things Done: Catching Up with Raven One


The Application Process


A Note From the Author


All About NCCC AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women ages 1824. NCCC members are assigned to one of five campuses and organized into teams of 10-12 members. Campuses are located in Perry Point, MD; Vinton, IA; Denver, CO; Vicksburg, MS; and Sacramento, CA. NCCC teams serve approximately 4-6 projects throughout their ten months of service. NCCC serves every state, responding to pressing local needs that are identified by organizations in the community. Projects are focused on the following five categories – Natural and Other Disasters, Infrastructure Improvement, Environmental Stewardship and Conservation, Energy Conservation, and Urban and Rural Development. 100 percent of members are certified in CPR, first aid, and disaster response; approximately 9% are firefighter trained by the National Park and U.S. Forest Services. NCCC teams also support local disaster relief organizations to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural or man-made disasters. Since September 2005, NCCC members from all campuses have served more than 9.6 million hours on 5,035 projects.

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FEMA Corps

What is FEMA Corps? FEMA Corps is an exciting new partnership between The Corporation for National and Community Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency that establishes a new track of 1,600 service corps members within AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) dedicated to disaster response and recovery. Just like current AmeriCorps NCCC members, FEMA Corps Members serve a 10 month term and are eligible to serve a second year based on their performance. Also like NCCC, FEMA Corps is a full-time, team-based residential service program for men and women age 18–24 operated in the same campus structure as AmeriCorps NCCC. FEMA Corps Members are assigned to one of five NCCC campuses, located in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; Perry Point, Maryland; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Vinton, Iowa. AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps members receive a living allowance of approximately $4,000 for the 10 months of service (about $200 every two weeks before taxes), housing, meals, limited medical benefits, up to $400 a month for childcare, if necessary, member uniforms, and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program. What’s the difference between FEMA Corps and the traditional track of AmeriCorps NCCC? The AmeriCorps NCCC program focuses in a wide variety of service and project areas including direct response and recovery to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. In partnership with non-profits - secular and faith based, local municipalities, state governments, federal government, national or state parks, Indian Tribes and schools members complete service projects throughout the campus region they are assigned. FEMA Corps members will solely focus on disaster response and recovery activities with FEMA, within their campus region for the full 10 months of their service term. Members will be dedicated to FEMA deployments in areas of logistics, community relations, individual and public assistance, and recovery. They will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovering centers to sharing valuable disaster mitigation information with the public. Will the traditional NCCC track still respond to natural and other disasters? Yes. As one of our main project focus areas, NCCC has a commitment to work related to disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery. The traditional NCCC track will still work directly with the American Red Cross, state commissions, non-profits, and faith based disaster response organizations. Potential activities include setting up and managing shelters and emergency call centers, large scale debris removal, demolition and construction, as well as leading and contributing to overall volunteer efforts. AmeriCorps NCCC members can expect at least one project in this focus area. When will FEMA Corps Start? Our first FEMA Corps Team Leaders and Corps Members will arrive at our AmeriCorps NCCC campuses in July and August of this year. Our second FEMA Corps term will begin in Winter 2013 and the application listing opens April 2012. How Do I Apply to FEMA Corps? To apply to FEMA Corps simply search listings for AmeriCorps NCCC or AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leaders. All NCCC opportunities that are currently accepting applications will be listed here. Select AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps and ―Apply Now.‖ Can I apply for more than one AmeriCorps NCCC track? Yes. You can use the same application to apply to FEMA Corps and AmeriCorps NCCC as a Team Leader or Corps Member. Simply search listings for AmeriCorps NCCC, and click on each listing to select ―Apply Now‖ for each opportunity that interests you. If you do not submit your application to a specific listing or position, your application will not be considered, so be sure to select ―Apply Now‖ for each listing. You will receive a confirmation email upon successful submission.

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FEMA Corps (Cont’d) Can I be selected for both AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps, and then choose which track I want to do? Unfortunately no, once you are invited to serve for one NCCC service track you will no longer be able to be selected for the other NCCC service track. So be sure to learn as much as possible about the many opportunities available to you, and decide which option is right for you. Why are CNCS and FEMA offering this FEMA Corps track? As an easily deployable, highly motivated and energized corps of young people, AmeriCorps NCCC has been a vital support system for communities across America in times of natural disaster and with FEMA Corps we hope to expand our impact to all communities in these times of need. With the help of FEMA and an increase of 1,600 additional Corps Members we can greatly increase our level of support and strengthens the nation’s disaster response capacity. In FEMA Corps young people are provided with the training, experience, and educational opportunities to prepare them for careers in emergency management and related fields, a commitment that extends beyond their service term The partnership will strengthen our nation’s culture of service and civic engagement by mobilizing corps members and community volunteers to provide critical disaster services.

AmeriCorps NCCC: Benefits of Service 

Uniform—includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, BDU pants, shorts, steel-toed boots, fleece vest, coveralls and more

Housing—campus residences are co-ed floors with same gender roommates; spike housing is provided by the project sponsor

Health Care—limited coverage includes payment for most medical and surgical costs, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and certain emergency dental, vision, and maternity care. However, these benefits may be affected by restrictions on payment for pre-existing conditions as well as other exclusions.

Child Care—up to $400 per month may be available for a custodial parent of a minor child

Personal Days—Corps Members are entitled to 3 paid personal days off from service, as well as 2 paid Life After AmeriCorps days (subject to approval).

Transportation—NCCC will cover the cost of a Corps Member’s travel to a campus at the start of a service year and back home at the end of a service year.

Living Allowance—approximately $4,000 per year (or $200 every two weeks) before taxes

Training/Skills—CPR/First Aid and Disaster Relief certification training from the Red Cross, leadership skills, conflict management, team-building and lots more

Education Award—Once a Corps Member has completed 1700 hours of service and successfully completed the program, they are eligible for the Education Award. Currently, the award is $5,550.

Loan Forbearance—If Corps Members have Federal Education loans (Perkins, Stafford, or Direct Loans) they may be placed in forbearance. Once a Member earns an Ed. Award, NCCC will pay the interest accrued on these loans while the Member was in service.

College Credit—We currently offer, through the American Council of Education, undergraduate credit for the following threecredit-hour courses: Introduction to Service Learning and Diversity in Service (available to both Team Leaders and Corps Members); and Supervisory Skills (available only to Team Leaders).

Certification from American Humanics in Non - Profit Employment and Management—NCCC alumni may enroll in this online program offered by the University of Montana and LSU-Shreveport.

For more detailed information about benefits, please click here. If you have any further questions, please contact us at (800) 942-2677 or

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Where Are We Now?

Atlantic Region Perry Point, MD North Central Region Vinton, IA Pacific Region Sacramento, CA Southern Region Vicksburg, MS Southwest Region Denver, CO

Baltimore, MD—Atlantic Region’s Moose 3 is working with Rebuilding Together Baltimore. The team is helping with a variety of tasks needed for Rebuilding Day, to include demolition and prep work on homes, preparation for community beautification projects, community/volunteer outreach, and preparation of volunteer supplies. Madison, WI— Cedar 6, from the North Central Region, is working with the University of Wisconsin - Madison Arboretum. They are working on an ecological restoration of the arboretum that was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Members are also assisting with an outdoor education program for youth and nature tours for visitors. Puunene, HI— Pacific Region’s Gold 7 is currently working with Community Work Day Program. The team is building and improving school and community gardens and restoring native lands. Middleburg, VA— River 9, representing the Southern Region, is currently working with Camp Highroad. They are leading nature classes, facilitating ropes course programming, improving trails, removing invasive species and engaging in other land management tasks at a camp facility. Denver, CO— Southwest Region’s Water 3 is working with Rebuilding Together Metro Denver. The team is working with homeowners, conducting home repairs, completing efficiency installations and assessments and revitalizing community centers.

Want to Serve for a Day?

Serve with a current team of NCCC members at a project in your area! Contact for more information.

**Please note, we may be unable to accommodate all “Serve for a Day” requests due to sponsor restrictions.**

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Getting Things Done: Kevin Jones

Catching Up with Raven One

For their first round project, Raven 1 was deployed to Wilmington, DE to work for the Winterthur Garden and Museum. Childhood home of collector, philanthropist and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur is a 1000-acre museum and garden of American decorative arts, with nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. In addition to landscaping the grounds and maintaining the gardens at the under-staffed museum, Raven 1 traveled to Connecticut to assist with an Mission of Mercy’s dental care event. Thousands of patients received care, while Raven 1 assisted dentists and other volunteers with set-up and clean up. I spoke with Raven 1, to learn about their experiences from their first round and their anticipation for Round 2. What were your teams’ thoughts as you arrived in Wilmington for your first project? Crystal Keiper: When we discovered we’ll be working at the Winterthur Garden and Museum for their first round project, some questions arose, “Is it a garden or a museum, an estate? Who is this Francis du Pont character?” The more research the team did on the project, the more the anticipation settled in. Romerio Scott: Beautiful scenery. I couldn’t believe that we could live and work in a place like this. I felt so lucky to be the first team to be there, and set the bar high. Emily Bertram: I remember Keiper saying that we were very blessed to be there. It pulled everything together. The people were really nice, and the scenery was lovely.

decorative arts. Winterthur also has a research library that serves as an academic center for American art and culture that reaches out internationally. Henry Bausman: It was really the daily re-examining personal stamina. We pushed ourselves a lot and found new limits for physical, emotional and spiritual. In every way, we gained a lot more self-awareness. RS: I was surprised by how much we learned about tools or vehicles. The staff was very knowledgeable, giving us the history of the trees and grounds. We got to have a lot of one-on-one time. They have several “champion” trees, which are very old, very tall trees. EB: I was surprised by how much land there actually was. We explored so many areas. You don’t realize how large 1000 acres is until you try to walk it. What was the most trying moment?

What has been the most surprising moment of your project thus far? CK: Winterthur is very unique in that in offers history, art, beauty, and learning. The museum collection consists of rare early American

CK: The first few days we were there, my team struggled with not knowing the “why behind the what,” but after a few days we spent time with the staff and learned the history and relevance behind the project. Once we knew this,

we started taking more pride in our service and the work we were doing. HB: In the Chandler Woods area, there was a large hill with a lot of brush. It wasn’t so much physically trying, but mentally trying. The monotony of carrying brush and debris up and down a hill all day was quite a learning experience and a test of my patience. RS: I had cut these thick, deep roots out of the ground with an axe. It took me several hours, but I got them all out. It was exhausting. EB: Mowing. I had to use a large Toro mower in a small garden. It was very tight spaces and there was very little room for error.

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RS: I was curious about the challenge because I had never blogged before. EB: I was honored and excited to take on such a role. I’m glad we get to share with everyone about how great our team works together and cares for one another.

What was the most rewarding or memorable moment? CK: During one of our team dinners, as we were joking around about our “awkward moments” of the week, the team laughed and bonded together. I was very touched that we were becoming a family. HB: I got to put on waiters and wade out in to a water reservoir which supplied water for the Winterthur gardens. I unclogged the spillway with leaves and debris. The reservoir was able to lower and supply water to the grounds. It hadn’t looked that good in a while, and it would keep the gardens supplied with water for the next 50 years. RS: In Chandler Woods, I got to chainsaw a huge area full of brush, small trees and it was completely overgrown. The sponsor just told me to go at it, and while it was exhausting, I felt so excited by all the work I saw behind me when I was done. How did you feel when you found out that your team was chosen to the NCCC national blog? CK: I felt that it would give us a good opportunity to grow as a team, and we could represent AmeriCorps well because we encompassed the identity and motto.

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Raven One Downtime Check out the link below to see how Raven 1 spent their down time when not working at the Winterthur Garden and Museum.

And finally, what is one piece of advice you would give to prospective Corps members? CK: Take a risk, have an open mind, and embrace this because it will be what you make of it. HB: Pack light. We all got an eye opener to what we need to live and what we can do without. RS: Find every opportunity to laugh. EB: Live it to the fullest. Practice patience.

What’s Next for Raven One? For Round 2, Raven 1 will be working with the New Castle County Habitat for Humanity in Wilmington, DE. The team will be involved with the construction of 21 town homes. The focus will be on interior finish work, assist in training volunteers, and working alongside them and homeowners. They will also be doing landscaping around the homes. They hope to be present during a home dedication. Check out the AmeriCorps NCCC National Blog to meet all of the Raven One members and to read about their many adventures.

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My Application Status After talking with your family and friends, you’ve decided that you want to become an AmeriCorps NCCC member. What does your application status mean? Well, we’re going to break it down for you right here.

AMERICORPS NCCC 1201 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20525 Phone: 800-942-2677 Fax: 202-606-3459 Email: Follow NCCC Online:

How does placement work in NCCC? NCCC employs a “rolling admissions” process, similar to many colleges. We have a few rounds of placements during the application period, additional rounds of placements once our application period closes. We continue to fill slots as they become available, including up to the day before a campus opens. All selections and placements are RANDOM. We have far more qualified applicants than positions available, and unfortunately cannot guarantee a position to all qualified applicants.

An Introductory Note From the Author Hi AmeriCorps NCCC applicant. This is my first edition of “Escape the Ordinary”. I hope that you will enjoy the read. I’m a Selection and Placement Assistant here at NCCC Headquarters in DC. I previously served at the Atlantic Region for two years as a Team Leader. I can tell you that NCCC has provided me with some of my fondest memories and experiences. If you have any suggestions on other topics that you would like to see covered in this newsletter, let us know by emailing us at NCCC. Yours in Service, Kevin

The author, posing with his team in Greeneville, TN - July 2011.

Escape the Ordinary - April 2012  

Escape the Ordinary is a monthly newsletter designed for AmeriCorps NCCC applicants.

Escape the Ordinary - April 2012  

Escape the Ordinary is a monthly newsletter designed for AmeriCorps NCCC applicants.