Escape the Ordinary All About Us
Volume 3, Issue 4 July 2012
Inside this issue:
AmeriCorps NCCC is a fulltime, team-based residential program for men and women ages 18-24. 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 AmeriCorps NCCC’s Southern Region - Delta 7. 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 AmeriCorps NCCC’s Southern Region teams working at Hardin Park in New Orleans, LA. 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.
FEMA Corps Team Leaders receiving a campus tour in Vicksburg, MS.
Where Are We Now?
An Inside Look: The Southern Region
Class 18 Congrats
Reflections from Class 18: the Pacific Region
The Application Process
Special points of interest:
See where current teams are serving.
A reflection from 4 Pacific Region Teams
An Inside Look at the Southern Region campus
Where Are We Now?
Click these links to visit each campuses’ Facebook page. Note: You will have to be logged in to access each page.
Atlantic Region Perry Point, MD North Central Region Vinton, IA Pacific Region Sacramento, CA Southern Region Vicksburg, MS Southwest Region Denver, CO
Bridgeport, CT— Buffalo 4, representing the Atlantic Region, is working with Habitat for Humanity—Coastal Fairfield County. They are conducting framing, hanging drywall, installing windows/doors/siding and signage, decking houses and painting. Louisville, KY—North Central’s Cedar 5 is currently working with Metro United Way. Some of their tasks include: coordinating management of volunteer response; to include data entry, work assignments, donation sorting, phone banks and daily reporting to stakeholders. Pierre, SD—Oak 6, representing the North Central Region, is working with Oahe Family YMCA. They are mentoring youth through outdoor educational programs. Bangor, ME—The Atlantic Region’s Raven 5 is currently working with the City of Bangor. The team is rebuilding steps, edging, grading, resurfacing trails, clearing brush and overgrowth, repairing outlooks, and supporting a summer camp program. Plymouth, VT—Also representing the Atlantic Region, Moose 2 is working with Vermont State Parks. They are peeling and forming poles, notching and setting posts, securing rails, and applying protective sealant for the recreation of a 600-foot traditional Civilian Conservation Corps style fence at Coolidge State Park. Fargo, ND—Maple 3, from the North Central Region, is working with River Keepers. Their project includes riverfront cleanup of fallen trees, debris and shrubs deposited by floodwaters.
**Note** No projects are listed for the Pacific and Southwest Region. Members from these two regions have graduated. No projects are listed for the Southern Region as members are currently on Summer break.
Want to Serve for a Day?
Serve with a current team of NCCC members at a project in your area! Contact ANCCC@cns.gov for more information.
**Please note, we may be unable to accommodate all “Serve for a Day” requests due to sponsor restrictions.** Volume 3, Issue 4
An Inside Look: Southern Region Continuing with our “Inside Look” series, this issue of Escape the Ordinary will highlight the Southern Region, located in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
About the Vicksburg Campus The AmeriCorps Southern Region Campus is located in Vicksburg, MS just 45 minutes west of Jackson, the state’s capital. Members serving at the Southern Region will serve throughout Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Southern Region campus is located on the grounds of the All Saints Episcopal School. This historic institution owned by the dioceses of Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Western Louisiana opened its doors in 1908 as an all-girls college. The 40-acre campus is home to nine buildings, an administrative and classroom building, five dorms, a chapel and a gym. The property also includes two soccer fields, tennis courts, and a pavilion. Vicksburg is known for its deep history in both Civil War history and Southern Culture. Known as the “Red Carpet City of the South”, Vicksburg is truly a city of Southern hospitality. It is important to note that Vicksburg is also home to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Vicksburg District whose different centers and stations in the area create one of their largest civil works entities. Essentially, from their facilities in Vicksburg, they manage the Mississippi River from beginning to end and provide critical support to both the military and civilian sector through development of new technology.
One of the many lounge areas located on the Southern Region campus
The swimming pool!
Inside a dormitory room
Physical training is an important part of the AmeriCorps NCCC experience. PT will be required three times a week for at least 45 minutes each time. The activities will be determined by teams and facilitated by Team Leaders. Activities could include running, going to a gym, playing a team sport, or practicing yoga – there is plenty of room for variety and creativity. The Southern Region campus also challenges Corps Members to improve their physical condition during the program by conducting periodic baseline tests. During CTI, all Corps Members will be timed on a 1.5 mile run and will do as many sit-ups in one minute and push-ups in one minute as they can. The test will be repeated during transition weeks, so members can measure their improvement.
Volume 3, Issue 4
to the 250 members from the Pacific Region who graduated on July 19, 2012 and the 282 members from the Southwest Region who graduated on July 27, 2012. Welcome to the NCCC alumni family! Pacific Region
Volume 3, Issue 4
Reflections from Class 18: The Pacific Region
over the Pacific Ocean. We got to live in a place for a week that I would never be able to live unless I was in this program, and it was beautiful.
For this issue of Escape the Ordinary, I spoke with members from Blue 3, Gold 4, Green 3 and Silver 5, all from the Pacific Region about their past service year and their memorable moments.
How has your team grown over the past ten months?
Yuan Lin Qiu: My team was able to get along from the beginning, which made everything fairly easy. There were bumps along the way, but we’ve all made it through and have formed special bonds along the way. Your team’s most memorable moment of the year?
Give our readers a brief summary of your 4th round.
JL: My team’s most memorable moment involved our favorite thing, food. We participated in a food eating challenge in San Francisco called the Pho Challenge. While we did not succeed, many laughs and memories were made that night at the restaurant.
Mackenzie Hunter (TL): Our team had a split 4th round, meaning that our 8-week project round was split between two shorter projects. We spent four weeks at Camp Sweyolaken in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, and four weeks with Habitat for Humanity in Portland, Oregon.
Give our readers a brief summary of your 4th round.
Your team’s most trying moment of the year?
What was your favorite project this past service year? And why?
Jenna Lamoreaux (TL): We had a split round for our final round. We spent the first half in Oakland, Oregon working for Lincoln Middle School. We spent most of our time improving their Community Garden by installing a drip irrigation system, designing and building a tool shed, installing new plant beds and weeding. We also spent a lot of our time improving the outdoor school by improving the access trails, removing invasive species and tending to some recently planted trees. Our time at Lincoln Middle School was also spent tutoring and mentoring some of the students in attendance.
BC: Our team’s most trying moment of the service year was our first round project in Alpaugh, California. We were staying in a house that, soon after we moved in, got infested with mice. It was pretty gross seeing mice everywhere, but the problem was soon fixed, and while the mice issue was being fixed our sponsor put us up in a very nice hotel in Bakersfield California, so it all worked out.
Meredith Trevino: My favorite project this year would probably be the work we did with Habitat for Humanity in Portland, OR. I learned a lot about construction and how houses are built, while also being exposed to a variety of new tools. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization that has positive and outgoing people working with it. It meant a lot for the team and me to be able to interact with future homeowners. We were able to hammer side by side to build their future home, which was a thrilling experience.
We spent the second half of our round in Reno, Nevada working for the Washoe County School District. We worked at over eighty schools inventorying their on-site chemicals and assisting in their school revitalization efforts. In the revitalization we moved furniture, cleaned classrooms and helped with general cleaning of the schools. What was your favorite project this past service year? And why? Brian Chase: My favorite project this year was a week-long project in Bolinas, California. It was my favorite because of the location it was in. We stayed in a beautiful, resort type of house, looking
How has your team grown over the past ten months?
And finally, what is one piece of advice you would give to prospective Corps Members? YLQ: Pack a variety of clothes no matter where you project is, because you just never know. My assumptions of the weather in every project location have all been at least slightly off in my service year.
Elizabeth Kelley: Our team started off with 10 very individual people from 10 different backgrounds and ways of doing things. In the beginning, we were divided and got through the day by simply tolerating each other. With our Team Leaders persistence and support, in addition to help from our Peer Helpers, our team got to know each other on a deeper level and we found that we had more similarities than we thought. With time, those divides decreased and we were able to work better as a team. Now, we work as a team and choose to spend time with each other outside of work. Our team has become a family and acts as such with the arguments and lots of laughter. We all love each other for our good and bad, which I did not think would happen after our first
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Your team’s most memorable moment of the year? MH: For me, one of the most memorable moments of the year was when we did an ISP with a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that offers day programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. We danced the night away at the holiday party and made friends with many of the participants with disabilities. It was great to see the team pushed outside of their comfort zone, and I think it set the tone for many of the experiences to come. Your team’s most trying moment of the year?
Give our readers a brief summary of your 4th round.
EK: During CTI, each unit goes to Camp Mendocino to do team building activities and to get a sense of what NCCC is all about. There is one team building activity where each member puts two fingers on a hula-hoop and is asked to raise the hoop over their heads together. This one simple task was not possible for our team and the reactions it created are laughable now, but very intense at the moment. Team members began to wonder what would happen if the challenge wasn’t a hula-hoop, but a real challenge. Were people always going to walk away in anger? Were we going to yell at each other to do things correctly when no one knew the answer? This hula-hoop brought up a lot of team issues and is something that the team will always remember and are thankful we were able to work out all those challenges.
Lauren Brown (TL): Green 3 has had a very exciting fourth round. We were fortunate enough to get an amazing spilt round with two great projects. The first half of the round was spent in Portland, Oregon serving with Habitat for Humanity Portland Metro/East. During our time there we focused our efforts on helping the organization complete eight housing units, supported construction companies during a builder’s blitz where they completed four houses in one week, and helped further the beginning stages of framing on four units. The second half of the round was spent in San Francisco serving with the Presidio Trust. The team served on a variety of projects. We have supported the irrigation department in replacing and repairing existing sprinkler systems. The team has served with the grounds department in an effort to plant native plants around the national park as well as rid the park of invasive plants. Additionally, the team has served with the trust’s forestry department laying compost and mulch to improve water absorption for recently planted native trees. The Presidio trust has been an amazing sponsor with such warm and inviting site supervisors. The team feels very lucky to have had such amazing round four!
What are your Life after AmeriCorps plans as of right now? MT: I plan on doing another year of AmeriCorps! I will be serving in Denver, Colorado as a Denver Public Schools corps member. I will be working with youth who are at-risk for dropping out of school. This will involve daily contacts with students and families, home visits and rallying community involvement. Although it is different from NCCC, I know my experience has prepared me very well!
How has your team grown over the past ten months? Adunola Ademiluyi: Whenever I talk to my parents or friends from back home, they always tell me that something is different about me, that I sound more like an adult now. It is strange to rap my head around but in fact, it is very true. I think the same also applies to my team. Over the past ten months everyone on my team has grown in their own way but I think that overall, everyone has grown and matured in a positive way. Being in this program has
helped us begin the process of figuring out what it is that we all want to do with our lives and most importantly, what we don’t want to do. We have all gotten the chance to kind of take a step back and evaluate ourselves and how we deal with others around us. I think that living and working with the same people really helps to broaden our perspectives and leaves us more open minded than we were in the beginning. Working with the non profits and communities throughout these past 10 months also contributes to the growth my team has undergone by showing us a different view of lives outside of the ones we are used to. I think that an experience like this really helps to make us all better people. Your team’s most memorable moment of the year? Phillip Dukes: Our team’s most memorable moment for me came during our first service round with the Stelzer County Park in Lakeside, CA. That day, our project supervisor visited us down trail at the worksite, surprising us with a series of games to celebrate our hard work. The most hilarious and memorable event of the day was a relay race which included balancing an Oreo on the participant’s own head and moving it into the participant’s mouth without any assistance from the participant’s hands. I laughed until I could scarcely breathe. I feel so thankful for the event, which helped our team bond with our sponsors and take time to celebrate our service. What was your favorite project this past service year? And why? LB: My favorite project during this past year of service was our third round project on Catalina Island. The team and I served with the Catalina Island Conservancy. Our service included trail building and maintenance along the Trans Catalina Trail, invasive plant removal, and fire prevention and maintenance projects around the island. The community on Catalina Island is very tightknit and they were all very inviting. The team created great relationships with many staff members. As well, the team was able to take advantage of many amenities of living on an island. Regularly I was able to kayak and paddle board, we spent many days out on the boat, playing with dolphins and searching for sharks. My favorite location on the island was at Little Harbor at sunset, it was the most amazing experience of my lifetime and I miss the island daily.
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Your team’s most trying moment of the year? PD: My team’s most trying moment occurred during our second round of service with the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. While our service with the Boys and Girls Club was very impactful for our team overall, our project mission was very open ended, with occasional periods of sporadic working and waiting. These moments of lower activity presented a challenge for our team moral, as some team members began to feel listless or unproductive. In the end, though, our team was able to create new tasks to fill our workflow and successfully completed the round. What are your Life after AmeriCorps plans as of right now? AA: As of right now, I plan on going back to Maryland and starting graduate school. I have accepted a State and National position at a health center that I will do while in school.
all ten of us will leave this program a different person from when we came into it.
Your team’s most trying moment of the year?
Give our readers a brief summary of your 4th round. Sarah Shellenbarger (TL): Silver Five spent its fourth round serving Camp Korey, a camp for children with serious and lifealtering medical conditions that is located on the original Carnation Farm. Our main focus was to prepare the property for camp’s summer season and to design and construct a prize-winning Fourth of July parade float to represent Camp Korey in the community. What was your favorite project this past service year? And why?
And finally, what is one piece of advice you would give to prospective Corps Members? LB: Be flexible and open to all new things you are about to experience. This year has great potential to be one of the best experiences of your life. You have to be willing to take advantage of it. Time is very fleeting so be present in every moment and appreciate everything that you can.
Corey Yula: My favorite project this year would have to be round two, where we spent our time at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California. When we first found out about the project and that we’d be camping in tents I have to admit we weren’t too excited, but within a few weeks we felt one with nature. Something about roughing it in the middle of nowhere and breaking down the boundaries between the team made my time in the desert the most influential experience of my life. How has your team grown over the past ten months?
SS: During round three, we tutored and mentored at a local elementary school. Our team made connections with the kids and the teachers and learned a lot about the community. Unfortunately, our team had to end the project early and unexpectedly. The hardest part was leaving the students behind after making those bonds with the students and knowing how valuable our presence was at the school. Your team’s most memorable moment of the year? CY: During our fourth and final round we got the chance to construct a float for the local 4th of July parade. We came up with a basic concept and worked for two weeks straight in the hopes of bringing our idea to life. By the 4th we had constructed a 12-foot tree made of chicken-wire and paper mache that was covered with paper hearts. It was extraordinary, and the parade crowd loved it so much we were awarded with the 1st place trophy for floats and an honorary award from the Grand Marshall. What are your Life after AmeriCorps plans as of right now? JG: As of right now, my Life after AmeriCorps plans are still up in the air. I will be moving back to Florida and hopefully going to Grad school. I know that after completing ten months of service to my country, I have been inspired to give back. I would love to work in the non-profit world and help as many people as I can. I love to know that I made a difference in someone’s life, and I will continue to make that my mission in life for many years to come.
Jean Gose: From the first day to the last day, my team has grown tremendously over the past ten months. I will never forget the moment I met my team for the first time. I thought to myself “What in the world did I get myself into?” We all had different emotions floating around that dinner table that night, but I never imagined from that moment I would become so incredibly close with nine other people that were completely different from me. Whenever you throw ten people of such a diverse spectrum into one room it can become extremely overwhelming. My team overcame many obstacles and challenges and with the help of such an amazing team leader, Volume 3, Issue 4
AMERICORPS NCCC 1201 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20525 Phone: 800-942-2677 Fax: 202-606-3459 Email: ANCCC@cns.gov http://www.americorps.gov/nccc http://my.americorps.gov 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 and 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. Notes From the Author
Congratulations to those of you who have been selected to serve in Class 19 of AmeriCorps NCCC this fall and our inaugural FEMA Corps class this summer! You’re going to have one amazing journey and I wish you all the best during your year of service. Additional invitations for Class 19 are coming soon!
Thanks to Blue 3, Silver 5, Gold 4 and Green 3 for your Class 18 reflections. Special thanks to Sandra Hajt and Kelly Crowe for facilitating that process.
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
What does my NCCC status mean?
You’ve heard about the amazing things that AmeriCorps NCCC members do and now you’re ready to be a part of this great program. You apply but then you ask, “What does Under Review mean”? Well, we’re going to break down those statuses right here.
"Escape the Ordinary," is a monthly AmeriCorps NCCC newsletter for all applicants. It includes lots of helpful information for you, the app...