The Corps Network’s Great Outdoors Day of Service in the Nation’s Capital Recap

Last Friday, June 14, The Corps Network held its first annual Great Outdoors Day of Service in the Nation’s Capital. This event took place during Great Outdoors Month, a month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the beauty of our natural landscapes. The Corps Network’s Day of Service provided an opportunity to inspire American’s to use service as a strategy to protect our nation’s great outdoors.

Despite chances of rain, the day started off sunny with the kickoff event at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, where Corps from the nearby area and as far as Los Angeles joined volunteers in service projects around the Capital. Participants were encouraged to sign a shovel, which was then given, on behalf of Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, to David Jayo, Jewell’s Senior Advisor, as a symbol of both TCN and our member Corps’ support of the work that her and her administration do for Service and Conservation Corps around the country.

During the kickoff event guests listened to a number of prominent speakers who spoke about the importance of service and conservation work across the country. Speakers included Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO of The Corps Network, Derrick Crandall, President & CEO of the American Recreation Coalition, Gerard Gabrys, CEO of Guest Services Inc., Butch Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps, Tina Terrell, National Forest Service Job Corps Director, and Jenn Kays, Volunteer Program Manager for National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Wrapping up the kickoff event, Corpsmembers and volunteers enjoyed lunch provided by Guest Services Inc. and split off to work on three service projects in the Nation’s Capital. The first project included painting fence, chains, and posts at the FDR memorial while a second group traveled to the Tidal Basin to provide cleanup. The third service project, at Fort DuPont, enlisted Corpsmembers to clear a path for future outdoor exercise equipment. All the projects got off to a great start but had to end early when a large thunderstorm entered the area. Despite the rain, everyone had a great time serving in the outdoors and meeting other Corpsmembers and volunteers!

The Corps Network would like to thank those who spoke at the kickoff event, the National Park Service, USDA, US Forest Service Job Corps, American Recreation Coalition, GSI, and most of all – the Corps and volunteers that participated and made this Day of Service a success. President & CEO Mary Ellen Sprenkel says, “The Corps Network’s First Annual Day of Service in our Nation’s Capital, as part of Great Outdoors Month was a great success – even in the pouring rain!  It provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the power of Service and Conservation Corps in a very public and high profile setting and enabled Corpsmembers from across the country to feel a part of something much larger – the “Corps Movement.”  Big thanks to all of the Corps that participated and to all the partners that made it possible!  We are already looking forward to next year!”

TCN would also like to thank anyone who participated in our Twitter campaign #dayofservice even if they couldn’t be at the event in-person. The first annual Day of Service was a success and The Corps Network looks forward to next year’s event!