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Volume 3, Issue 7 October 2012

Escape the Ordinary

AMERICORPS NCCC

285 Corps Member uniforms being issued at the Southwest Region campus on Day 1. They look good in gray!

3 cities, 2 Red Cross shelters, and more than 200 clients — Oak 3 (North Central Region) has helped Louisiana recover from Hurricane Isaac and transition from disaster over the past 3 weeks.

Jenna and Maggie, NCCC alums, visiting the Atlantic Region campus.

The Southern Region’s Summit 4 having a little fun before heading off to FEMA training. Team Leaders from the Pacific Region take time out for a unit photo during chainsaw training.


All About NCCC AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, teambased 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 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.

Inside this issue:

Benefits of Service

1

An Alumni Perspective

2

Where Are We Now?

3

Getting Things Done: Catching up with Cedar 6

4

Leave Your Mark: A Corps Member Spotlight

6

The Application Process

7

E S CA P E T HE O R DI N A R Y


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 three-credit-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.

Congratulations to our inaugural FEMA Corps members from the North Central and Southern Regions on their successful induction into AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps.

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An Alumni Perspective Erin Vanderberg served as a Corps Member on Water 6 (aka - The Roots!) in Class IV at the Southwest Region campus in Denver. A few years later, Erin returned as the Team Leader for Green 6 (aka - The Fatdog Kornfield Blues Band) in Class VII at the Western Region campus in San Diego (now closed). Today, Erin is a legislative researcher at the State of Colorado and the editor for her neighborhood newspaper. I spoke with Erin about her time in NCCC and the experiences that she fondly remembers. How many teammates did you have as a Corps Member? As a Team Leader? How many do you still keep in contact with? Lucky 13 on both teams. Thanks to the wonders of modern communication, I can tell you where almost each one of them is right now. What was your favorite project from your Corps Member year? Team Leader year? Rebuilding basements that had been damaged in the Red River flood of 1997 alongside volunteer old-timers who taught me enough about carpentry that I was able to use those skills later to build my own home. And working in Point Reyes National Seashore, a peninsula north of San Francisco, the most picturesque place I’ve ever pulled nonnative vegetation. What were your most interesting/challenging accommodations?

Erin (on the right) with her NCCC team in Point Reyes.

In no particular order: a homeless shelter, a naval barracks, an attic, a closed-for-business hotel, a haunted boathouse, a monastery and plenty of bunk beds. What are your fondest overall memories? The spontaneous fun you can have with 12 friends in tow. What was something you did for the first time? I wore a uniform for the first time. What was the most outrageous thing that you did?

How has your NCCC experience affected your life? It gave me a vast array of experiences and exposure to jobs, people, cultures, places, and more. I learned what I wanted to do, and also what I didn’t want to do. And I made some of my best friends for life. What are some skills that you took away from NCCC that you still utilize today? Spackling. Parallel parking large vehicles. Knowing the difference between a Pulaski and a McLeod. There are too many to mention, really.

As you may know, our new NCCC FEMA Corps program just started at our Iowa and Mississippi campuses. What was the most challenging part of What are your thoughts on this your ten months of service? How did exciting, new venture for NCCC? you overcome these challenges? I found helping people and cities to There will inevitably be a project you clean up and rebuild is very rewarding don’t believe in. For me, it was work, particularly because it takes such removing non-native vegetation. a coordinated effort – there’s solidarity You remember that you are lucky in that. to be outside. You find ways to make the days fun anyway. 80s And finally, do you have any advice rock ballads help. for prospective Corps Members? We probably shouldn’t print that.

Do it. Get things done for America. When it’s over, you won’t regret a single day that you spent as an AmeriCorps Because it reminds us that we are volunteer and you’ll look back on even not entitled to anything. And the hardest times fondly. because teaching, building and lending a hand is a very LIKE us on Facebook and productive use of your precious connect with currently time. Why do you think national service is important?

Class IV: The Roots at Red Rocks

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serving members and alums.

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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

Marion, MA - The Atlantic Region’s Raven 1 is currently working with the Marion Institute. They are assembling volunteer packets, setting up exhibits, overseeing event registration, engaging youth volunteers, gardening, educating community about Green Jobs, and urban and rural gardening to support Marion's efforts to create amore eco-Friendly society. Key West, FL - Delta 10, representing the Southern Region is currently working with Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys. They are leading volunteers in painting, cleaning yard debris and planting trees. Milwaukee, WI - The North Central Region’s Oak 7 is currently working with River Revitalization Foundation (RRF). The team is providing trail maintenance along the Milwaukee corridor watershed and participating in outdoor education activities with urban youth. Jackson, MS - The Southern Region’s River 7 is currently working with The Jackson Zoo. The team is removing and replacing bamboo skirting along perimeter fencing, installing landscaping, removing debris, constructing decks and stages and assisting with event set-up and implementation. ************************************************************************************* NOTE: Several AmeriCorps NCCC teams from the Atlantic & Southern Region and FEMA Corps teams from the North Central and Southern regions are currently on disaster deployments responding to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Find out how you can help in response to Hurricane Sandy: http://www.serve.gov/stories_detail.asp?tbl_servestories_id=950 ************************************************************************************* NOTE: No projects are listed for the Pacific or the Southwest Region as members are currently in training. They will deploy on their first round projects in mid-November.

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 7

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Getting Things Done: Catching Up With Cedar 6 “For our third round we worked in Henryville, IN. Our task was to work with Habitat for Humanity of Indiana prepping for a 10-home blitz build that would take place during the second week in October. We spent time enclosing a warehouse space so the supplies for the build would be secured as well as assembling the walls for 2 homes and all 10 garages. We built numerous shelving units to make the storing of supplies easy and organized. We lived in New Albany, Indiana in the basement of the Jacobs Chapel United Methodist Church. Whether exploring around New Albany or working in Henryville, the people we met were very warm and inviting. The team learned many valuable construction skills and came together as a team - we had a great round.” - Courtney Miskell, Cedar 6 I spoke with Team Leader, Courtney Miskell and Corps Members, Nick Rossmiller and Jason Flemke about their 3rd round experiences and more.

What were your team’s thoughts as CM: The dedication of our site you arrived at your spike location for supervisors, France and Bill Moriarty and Bill Oates, really amazed me. They your 3rd round project? have given their life to serving with Courtney Miskell: One of the things Habitat and do so much for communities that I love about my team is their affected by disaster. They travel around consistent positive attitude. Everyone the country in their RVs and set up blitz was thrilled to be helping with a blitz build after blitz build. They were build and ready to show Habitat what we extremely knowledgeable and shared were made of. There was a little bit of all they knew with the team. uncertainty going into the round. Not many of us had seen a town completely NR: The most surprising moment devastated by a tornado, but once we involved the daily interactions with the arrived, we were inspired to start townspeople of Henryville, who were working that much more. thankful for the continuous support from volunteers and Nick Rossmiller: The team was anxious expressed their gratitude upon arriving in Henryville, IN primarily through hosting meals and because the project was our first events that made the team feel experience with a disaster and relief welcomed to a part of the efforts. We were motivated to help the country we had never imagined ongoing relief with Habitat for we would have the chance to Humanity, to assist with the construction visit. of homes, to aid of the families displaced by the tornado and as a team, we JF: What surprised me most believed the project was going to about the project was the benefit the Henryville community and kindness of everyone that we recoup the damages of the tornado. met. Everyone was always giving. After what had happened in the Jason Flemke: As we arrived to community, it was amazing to see how Henryville, Indiana the team was in awe. willing they were to lend a hand to We were amazed at all the damage others who needed help. Every day we there was from the tornadoes that went to the Volunteer Recovery Center devastated the town earlier that year. for lunch. Everyone was always happy We saw that most of the town was and in good spirits. affected from the tornadoes. Homes were damaged, a gas station was What has been the most trying leveled and worst of all, the school was moment? destroyed. CM: The heat definitely was the biggest What has been the most surprising struggle of the round. Fifteen minutes after arriving at work, our shirts were moment of your project thus far?

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soaked through with sweat. We had to start work earlier so we could avoid the hottest parts of the day. NR: The most trying moment came when the team was battling hundred degree temperatures at a volunteer building event assisting with the construction of wall frames. The success of the event proved that the chaos of hundreds of volunteers with hammers and the extreme summer heat couldn’t produce a more memorable, if daunting experience.

JF: The hardest moment of 3rd round was working in the heat. Almost every day of the round, we were working in 90-degree heat. There was one week in August when almost every day the temperatures reached over 100 degrees. It was exhausting working in the hot conditions doing physical labor every day, but we got through it.

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What was the most rewarding or great environment for us to get to know enjoyment and accomplishment as it is each other better as well as what is the most trying days of physical and memorable moment? expected on spike. emotional toll that will become the most memorable at the culmination of CM: Even though we weren’t in Indiana for the build we knew that all the hard the service year. work we put in would benefit 10 families who were displaced from their homes JF: A piece of advice I have is to by the tornado. Walking away from the always enjoy what you are warehouse on the last day was doing. Try to have fun no matter extremely rewarding; we had left our what the conditions are. If you mark in Henryville. live in the moment, take it one day at a time, and not worry about anything else, you’ll have NR: The most rewarding experience included: seeing the completion of our a fantastic time! construction goals and preparations for the Building Blitz that took part after our departure. Knowing that the team persevered and contributed to the NR: The project working for the North Where Are They Now? rebuilding of the resilient Henryville Country Trail in the Upper Peninsula of community meant the project was a Michigan building boardwalk and trail Cedar 6 is currently working success and that the team was able to stands out as the best service project of with Hiawatha Shore to Shore in take away from the experience the value the year. Our opportunity to do Rudyard, Michigan. The team is of positivity in the face of adversity environmental work establishing trails providing support to staff in made the project an invaluable that will last generations while working experience. outdoors in such a beautiful part of the expanding recreational trails country has made the project and which include, restoration and JF: My most memorable moment of 3rd service with the NCT the most rerouting. round was having a celebration get memorable. together with a community member we met at the Volunteer Recovery Center. JF: My favorite project of the year was We had the chance to go to her house our first round project. Our first round and swim in a pool and eat good food. It project was at the University of was interesting talking with her about Wisconsin Madison Arboretum. I her experiences the day the tornado enjoyed that project the most because outbreak took place. we mainly worked outside. There was also a variety of tasks so the work never got mundane, and luckily the weather cooperated most of the time. Another great thing about first round was how nice the sponsor and our work supervisors were. When we first arrived they had a potluck for us, and when we left they had another gathering.

JOIN US!!!

And finally, what is one piece of advice you would give to What: AmeriCorps NCCC North prospective Corps Members? Central Region Class 18 Graduation CM: My advice is to try Your favorite project of the year? everything. You might be scared of using power tools if you haven’t before, Why? but that’s one of the best parts of the CM: We had a wonderful first round program. You get to learn so many new project in Madison, Wisconsin working and exciting skills. Enjoy every minute w i t h t h e U W A r b o r e t u m . O u r of it because it goes by quickly. I know supervisors were great and they knew that I will miss NCCC dearly when it’s how to work with 18 to 24 year olds. For over. team leaders, first round is pretty difficult because you are still getting to NR: Future Corps Members would be know your team and explaining all the advised to prepare for the challenge of rules to them. The Arboretum was a a lifetime. One that is filled with

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When: Wednesday, November 14 at 6:30 pm; meet and greet from 5:156:15 pm and a reception following the ceremony Where: Vinton-Shellsburg High School auditorium located at 210 West 21st Street, Vinton, Iowa 52349 Contact: RSVP by November 9 to Krista Eichhorst at 202-409-4928 or keichhorst@cns.gov

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Leave Your Mark: A FEMA Corps Member Spotlight

Maya (center) helping two of her teammates carry a fallen tree limb.

My name is Maya Jordan of Hickory Seven. I am 23 years old from Hampton, VA. I am a 2011 Public Relations graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University. As an NCCC FEMA Corps member, I serve two roles. First, I am a media representative, building awareness of the journey my team and I are currently experiencing. Secondly, my FEMA role is as an Individual Assistance Applicant Services Program Specialist Trainee where it is my duty to ensure needs and wants are met for qualified disaster survivors. In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing poetry and jet-setting across the world.

How did you first learn about AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps? I first learned about the inaugural AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps program while on the AmeriCorps.gov website, last fall while applying for the traditional program. I then decided that the FEMA Corps would best fit me because it was new, exciting and would help me develop leadership skills personally and professionally.

Your term of service just started a few weeks ago. What are some of your goals as you progress through the year? Some of my goals as I progress throughout the year include: -To continue to keep a positive “can-do” attitude -Make someone smile -To keep a smile on my face no matter how frustrated I may be -Stay open to change -Successfully complete any task given to me - To continue to believe not in just my knowledge, skills and Why did you choose to apply? After a short stint in corporate America, I realized that I abilities but also in my teammates wanted to not have wallet size dreams, but be apart of a -Travel to states I’ve never been to bigger picture other than myself. Overall, I wanted to simply pay it forward to the world. And lastly, please share any advice that you might have for prospective Corps Members who are interested in What has been one of your favorite memories thus far? FEMA Corps. My favorite memory was when my team, Hickory 7 headed to -Be positive Montour, IA for our 9/11 Remembrance & Community service -Keep an open-mind project. My team and I laid 3,000 pounds of mulch for Pilgrim -Be confident Heights Camp & Retreat Center. -Challenge yourself -Have fun Tell us about something that you’ve done for the first time -Don’t be afraid of the unknown since starting. While on our 9/11 Remembrance & Community service Woodrow Wilson said it best, “You are not here merely to project, at Pilgrim Heights I had the privilege of canoeing for make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live the first time with my team as a part of PT. more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you What has been the most challenging part of your term of impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” service thus far? How have you worked to overcome that challenge? The most challenging part of my term thus far has been accepting the unknown. As a member of an inaugural program, there are many changes being made every Maya (upper left) second of every minute, every minute of every hour, with her team, day in and day out. Each day truly gets better, and I Hickory 7. have learned to embrace change, because it is one of the only things that is constant in life.

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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 Assessment Complete mean”? Well, we’re going to break down those statuses right here.

1201 New York Ave Washington, DC 20525 Phone: 800-942-2677 E-mail: ANCCC@cns.gov Follow NCCC Online:

the Web We’re on v/nccc ricorps.go www.ame

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 offer positions 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.

Using your smartphone, scan this code for more information about NCCC.


Escape the Ordinary - October 2012