Saturday, November 5, 2011

What IS AmeriCorps and what am I doing here?

Hey everyone,

I thought it would be useful to write a post about what AmeriCorps NCCC is since I'll be talking a whole lot about what I'm doing with it and in case anyone out there is considering the program. So, in short, I'll feed you our "elevator phrase":

"AmeriCorps NCCC members are 18-24 years old and spend 10 months getting things done for America while developing their own leadership skills. We serve on teams to help communities prepare and respond to disasters, build homes, and help the environment. To learn more or to apply go to "

That's the short of it. In more detail, we are one of 5 branches of the Corporation for National Community Service, which also includes AmeriCorps Vista, AmeriCorps State and National (that's who I worked for this summer with DREAM), Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve (which is inactive this year because of lack of funding). NCCC is different from these other programs because instead of working with another organization, all members work together on campuses (Mississippi, California, Maryland, Iowa, and Colorado) and spikes (service trips) to serve communities across America.

The Denver campus, where I am, is assigned to the states in the southwestern USA (Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, and Missouri). This means that, aside from disaster deployment, I will always be in one of these states doing my service.

This spike (which is only 1 month instead of the usual 2) I will be nearby in Jamestown, Colorado (population 200, literally). It's about 30 minutes outside of Boulder, up in the mountains. My team and I are working at the Calwood educational center, an environmental education center. We'll be doing a lot of tree branch cutting and wood chipping, as well as hopefully getting the chance to work with the kids in the program. We have access to a nice lodge with everything we need, but we'll be sleeping outside in big heated tents. I have to say, I'm excited that this project is short, because it's going to be cold up there for sure.

I was actually just at Calwood last weekend when I did a chainsaw training (crazy right?) In fact, I now know how to work a chainsaw, sawsall, circular saw, and power drill...a true renaissance woman.

Right now I'm curled up downtown in the most amazing bookstore, Tattered Cover. It's a huge place full of books and lots of seating to cuddle up with. I'll probably end up buying a few things of course.

I think that's it for now. We get inducted on Thursday and my team leaves next Monday for our trip. We will have Wifi so I plan on being able to update a lot. Until next time!


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