Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia Enlists Help from Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps NCCC for Boy Scout Jamboree, 2013 Reach the Summit Initiative

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin takes a moment for a photo with Corpsmembers and staff from Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia and KUPU / Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps.

Click here to see more photos from the event

For one of their most ambitious projects to date, the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV) agreed to lead the 2013 Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative, which will see the completion of over 350 service projects in southern West Virginia this week. According to the organizers of the initiative, "it's the nation's largest community service project of its kind in U.S. history."  

"The Initiative is remarkable and the most significant project of its kind in our nation's history," said Robert A. Martin, CEO, Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia. "Moving forward, what we accomplish over these five days of service will be a shining example of what can be accomplished when we all work together."

So who's helping out? The Boy Scouts of America are hosting their annual Jamboree in conjunction with the event, with an estimated 40,000 scouts descending upon West Virginia for fun and service. Most of the approved work includes outdoor construction, renovation, painting, landscaping or clean-up efforts. The projects are located at cemeteries, parks, schools, humane societies, historic landmarks, ball fields, and other community gathering places.

Knowing they had their hands full, CCCWV also turned to some of their best friends and partners to help out. On Tuesday, the arrival of KUPU's Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps crew caused quite a splash at the airport, where according to Charleston Gazette reporter Laura Reston, "the teenagers wore yellow leis Tuesday at the gate at Yeager and voiced a Hawaiian chant called an "Oli" to commemorate the entrance to a sacred place..." Noting the strong environmental connection many of the Corpsmembers feel coming from their state, Reston quoted Corpsmember Joshua Bailey-Belista as saying, "If you take care of the land, 'the land will take care of you.'" They also had a chance to meet the Governor of West Virginia before heading out to Pipestem State Park.

Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National & Community Service has also headed to the event to tour sites and volunteer. Numerous crews from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps are also there to help execute and supervise projects.

Mary Ellen Ardouny, President & CEO of The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps will also attend. "This is an amazing event and a large share of the credit should go to Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia which has worked for more than two years to pull this event off seamlessly and by engaging a wide number of partners."

 

Boiler Plate: 
For one of their most ambitious projects to date, the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV) agreed to lead the 2013 Reach the Summit Initiative, which will see the completion of over 350 service projects in southern West Virginia this week. According to the organizers of the initiative, "it's the nation's largest community service project of its kind in U.S. history."

Cool Map Shows Where AmeriCorps NCCC Crews are Working Nationwide

Each week, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) updates a map that shows where their crews are deployed nationwide. While there are 5 major training campuses for NCCC, it's clear from the map that the impact of this residential Corps program stretches far and wide beyond those areas!

Learn more about AmeriCorps NCCC

AmeriCorps NCCC Dedicates New Campus in Baltimore


Ribbion-cutting ceremony at new NCCC campus in Baltimore. From Serve.gov.
 

From the National Service Blog of Serve.gov - written December 17, 2012

Civc Leaders, Community Groups, and elected officials joined the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today for a dedication of the new AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Atlantic Region Campus in the former Sacred Heart of Mary School of Baltimore, MD.

AmeriCorps NCCC brings young men and women 18 to 24 years old together with one goal -- to serve when and where they're needed. After completing training on one of five regional campuses, these AmeriCorps members live ans serve together for 10 months to tackle pressing local problems in communities across the country. Their work is wide ranging, from responding to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvements, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.

“When these young leaders go into a community, they become part of that community. I assure you that Baltimore will be proud of what future AmeriCorps NCCC teams accomplish in Maryland and other states as a result of the training they receive at this new campus,” said CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer.

Spencer was joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Archdiocese, AmeriCorps NCCC Director Kate Raftery, and national service alumni, including two members of the original Civilian Conservation Corps established nearly 80 years ago.

“AmeriCorps volunteers are unflagging, unflinching and determined to make a difference. They tackle the toughest problems in our communities, responding to emergency and disaster situations like Super-Storm Sandy,” said Sen. Mikulski. “I fought to create AmeriCorps, I fought to strengthen AmeriCorps, and I'm proud to dedicate this new NCCC campus to establish an even stronger AmeriCorps program in Baltimore. By partnering with our faith-based community to bring the NCCC to the Sacred Heart of Mary, we are continuing in a tradition of working together toward a common purpose to meet a compelling human need.”

“We are really very, very pleased that AmeriCorps has found a new home here and will be our neighbor at Sacred Heart of Mary,” Archbishop Lori said. He expressed delight that the school will “continue to serve as a beacon of hope, as a center of education, and an asset to the entire community.”

Mayor Rawlings-Blake welcomed NCCC to its new home, noting that “460 members have given more than 90,000 hours of service since 2009 -- and that's 90,000 hours spent making Baltimore a better, safer, and stronger city. And for that, I'm grateful.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley sent a citation commemorating the event that read, “In recognition of your outstanding record of success and achievements in strengthening communities and developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service … the people of Maryland join together in expressing our gratitude and great respect for your positive contributions to our state and nation.”

The Atlantic Region Campus is moving from its current location in Perryville, MD, which hosts more than 160 AmeriCorps NCCC members each year. CNCS officials anticipate the new facility could house as many as 240 members annually. The campus serves 11 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The AmeriCorps NCCC Experience: Hearing about it from a Corpsmember Turned Staff Member

 

Where are they now? – Catching up with 2007 Corpsmember of the Year,
Alana Svensen


Alana Svensen, a former member of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, won Corpsmember of the Year in 2007 for her commitment to service. Read below to find out what she's been up to since accepting her award, or find out more about Alana and her Corps experience by reading her bio from our 2007 National Conference.

Alana Svensen graduated from college with a chemistry degree, but she knew well before leaving school that she didn’t want to pursue a career in science. She had not been entirely happy working in the lab throughout college and was sure she wanted to work with people instead of with flasks and chemicals. But where to turn?

Alana came across a list of AmeriCorps programs and was instantly intrigued by the variety of service opportunities offered by the National Civilian Community Corps. She joined NCCC hoping to gain job skills in many different fields so she could get a better sense of what she was good at and what she wanted to do with her future. She certainly ended up having a wide range of experiences as both a Corpsmember and a Team Leader with NCCC: among other things, Alana helped coordinate disaster relief efforts; built homes; managed educational programs for children; and became a Certified Wild Land Firefighter. In the end, however, it was NCCC itself that Alana really liked.

“NCCC was able to expose me to a bunch of different things and really I just fell in love with the program and what it does for young people in helping them find their way,” said Alana, who is now a staff member with NCCC in Iowa.

These days, Alana plans the logistics for nonprofits and government agencies that hire NCCC crews. It’s fun for her to think of how she started at NCCC just like the crewmembers she now helps coordinate. Her first rotation as a Corpsmember with NCCC was from February 2005 to November 2005, during which she helped manage the first wave of NCCC members that responded to Hurricane Katrina. Alana oversaw a group of 25 Corpmembers that mainly worked in the kitchen of a Mississippi school that had been turned into a shelter. 

“We didn’t have electricity so we had to limit the number of times we went into the freezer…we needed to keep things cool as long as possible so we could continue to cook them,” said Alana. “There was this one lady who dropped her plate and she burst out crying. And we were like, ‘It’s okay! We have more! We’ll get you another plate!’ But she was like, ‘There are so many people that are starving and I wasted all this food.’ We didn’t want to explain to her that we had food that was rotting because we didn’t have electricity. It was just a very interesting experience.” 

While deployed with the Red Cross in the Gulf Coast, Alana also helped coordinate loading and staffing emergency response vehicles. After graduating as a Corpsmember, Alana came back to NCCC as a Team Leader and became an assistant to the director of NCCC’s then newly opened Gulf Coast office.

Hurricane Katrina played a big part in shaping Alana’s Corps experience, but there were certainly moments during her other rotations with NCCC that she feels left a profound impact on her. She remembers how inspired she was by the passionate director of a struggling summer camp that Corpsmembers helped keep afloat. She remembers feeling empowered when she was left in charge of 20 Habitat for Humanity volunteers and had to teach them how to read building plans.

“I didn’t necessarily see it at first, but as I went through the program more and more I realized how it was starting to shape me as a young professional,” said Alana. “I love the idea of how NCCC goes out into communities and helps them with what they define as their needs. We don’t define a community’s need or an agency’s need – they come to us and say, ‘this is an area we’d like help in.’”

Alana is very happy with her staff position at NCCC and she hopes to eventually move up in the organization. She has considered going to graduate school to get a master’s degree in public administration. If she leaves NCCC, Alana is fairly certain she would work for a nonprofit, or maybe do international work with USAID.

When she’s not at work, Alana has been involved in various leadership development activities. She is an officer for her local Toastmaster’s club and she has found time to coach a youth soccer team for the past four years.

“It’s been fun to watch them grow up. They were 5th graders when I started and this year they’re in 9th grade. So those sassy teenage years have been entertaining to me,” said Alana.

Alana says she really enjoys watching Corpsmembers grow within the NCCC program, too. She remembers watching one young man who was very shy and quiet when he came to NCCC have the confidence to speak at the Corpsmember graduation.

To any young people considering joining a Corps, Alana says:

“I would encourage them to do it, but I’d tell them to make sure they check out the different types of programs. Just because one program isn’t a fit for you, it doesn’t mean national service isn’t a fit for you.”

2009 Corpsmember of the Year: Meg Zaleuke


Meg first heard about AmeriCorps NCCC (AmeriCorps National Civilian Corps) as she was finishing up her Masters degree and trying to figure out what the next step in her life would be. Instead of becoming a Child Life Specialist, Meg decided to take a different path by joining AmeriCorps NCCC. Her year was filled difficult tasks: educating the youth, rebuilding homes, restoring cities devastated by hurricanes and working to preserve Maine's natural beauty.

Today Meg knows she is the not same person she was when she joined  the Corps.

“We are now different people; taking different roads and pursing new dreams because of our experience in AmeriCorps NCCC," said Meg. "It is likely that in 10, 20, 30 years to come, when we have long been out of the ‘Ameri-bubble,' our stories will begin with our AmeriCorps NCCC year; the year that changed our lives.”  

As Meg finished her time with AmeriCorps NCCC, she took with her, “…The sense of camaraderie [she] shared with her fellow Team Leaders and team, the enthusiasm and determination [she] saw in the elementary school children she tutored and the courage and resilience [she] observed in the communities along the gulf coast..”

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