The Corps Network Proudly Supports Launch of Service Year Alliance

 

The Corps Network is thrilled to join many other national service organizations in New York City today to celebrate the formal launch of Service Year Alliance.

We are proud to partner with this important new organization and glad we could be here today to hear from such inspiring leaders in national service as Retired General Stanley McChrystal, Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Civic Enterprises CEO John Bridgeland, and Shirley Sagawa, “a founding mother of the modern service movement.” It was a pleasure to witness Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, perform the swearing in for a new cohort of AmeriCorps members from Green City Force, a member organization of The Corps Network.

Service Year Alliance formed early in 2016 through a merger of ServiceNation, the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project and the National Conference on Citizenship. At their core, these three entities all strove for the same thing: to promote access to, knowledge of, and support for national service opportunities. They merged to combine their resources and expertise into one united effort to make a service year “a common expectation and common opportunity for all young Americans.”

Over the past year-and-a-half, The Corps Network has worked with Service Year Alliance and its founding members on two specific initiatives to enhance the outward value of service year opportunities.

As anyone who has participated in AmeriCorps can tell you, a national service experience can provide a myriad of intangible benefits. Through their service, Corpsmembers develop skills in leadership, communication and problem-solving. They may visit new places, work with diverse people and become more empathetic, engaged citizens. The key is to make these benefits more apparent.

First, starting in the spring of 2015, The Corps Network worked with what would become Service Year Alliance on a pilot project in which Corpsmembers from eight member organizations of The Corps Network worked with instructors from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to create online portfolios that captured what they learned through their service. These portfolios were then submitted to colleges for assessment, allowing Corpsmembers to earn up to six college credits for their service.

Currently, The Corps Network is partnering with Service Year Alliance to pilot the use of “digital badges” in defining the knowledge and skills gained through a service year. Via the LRNG online platform, Corpsmembers in this pilot will – by successfully completing various activities – be able to demonstrate their mastery of certain essential workplace competencies, like the ability to manage stress or have a productive disagreement. Corpsmembers will then receive digital badges: online icons linked to information about how he or she developed a given skill. Corpsmembers can link to these badges on their résumés, providing prospective employers with insight into the expertise a service year alumnus can bring to the job. 

Today we also celebrate the launch of the Service Year Exchange: an online platform developed through Service Year Alliance that connects young people who want to serve with service year opportunities, like those offered by the over 130 member organizations of The Corps Network. We are thrilled about the potential of this new tool to help more young people engage in national service and help our Corps recruit talented, ambitious Corpsmembers.

National service programs have a tremendous positive impact on our communities, on those who serve, and on the lives of millions of people who benefit from service projects completed by AmeriCorps members and others. Today, The Corps Network proudly joins many major companies, philanthropists and public figures in support of Service Year Alliance and the vision that national service programs can build understanding and empathy among diverse populations and empower the next generation. 

The Corps Network to Participate in Community Leaders Briefing at White House

The Corps Network to discuss education, job training, and the role of service with senior White House and Administration officials

Service and Conservation Corps Celebrate 2015 Mayors Day of Recognition of National Service

Boiler Plate: 
The nation’s mayors and county executives are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps andSenior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact – making our cities and counties better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors across the country participated in the third-annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 7, 2015. Here’s how members of The Corps Network participated!

The Corps Network joins Chelsea Clinton and ServiceNation at Jimmy Kimmel Live! for launch of Serve A Year Campaign


Marie Walker, President & CEO of The Corps Network, with Bruce Saito, Executive Director Emiritus of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) with two LACC Corpsmembers before the ServeAYear Campaign launch event in Los Angeles, CA. 

Opportunity Youth Service Initiative

Who are Opportunity Youth?

Service and Conservation Corps Participate in "Mayors' Day of Recognition for Service" Events Nationwide

On Tuesday April 1st, numerous members of The Corps Network participated in events nationwide with their Mayors to recognize the contributions that National Service makes in their communities. In total, more than 1750 mayors were expected to participate across the United States.

American YouthWorks and the Texas Conservation Corps (shown above with Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell) where even one of the programs prominently featured in a video made by Austin, Texas to showcase Service and how it plays a role in their communities.
 


Other Highlights:

  • [Photo] Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members with numerous mayors
     
  • [News Release] Heart of Oregon Corps Attended Several Events with numerous mayors
     
  • [Photo] Greater Miami Service Corps Attended Several Events with numerous mayors
     
  • [Photo Set] Montana Conservation Corps Helps Build Gardens at School
     

[Photo] Operation Fresh Start crew representing at Mayoral Proclamation on AmeriCorps service day

Partnership for 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Hold 2nd In-Person Meeting in Washington

On Tuesday this week, participants in the Partnership for a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the progression of the initiative. While fundamental questions about the logistics and funding of the initiative remain, substantial progress has been made by the Partnership and the National Council (i.e. official representatives from federal agencies) that will soon pave the way for on-the-ground activities.

For instance, it is expected that soon the National Council will release the first list of programs who have been deemed to meet the necessary criteria and principles for participation as a 21CSC program participants. This list and subsequent additions to the list are a necessary precursor to the federal land management agencies issuing guidance to regions and units on how to partner with local and regional 21CSC programs to accomplish select projects.

Among the ideas for raising substantial private funds for the initiative is to market a package of what were described as “projects that endure,” or perhaps something along the lines of “100 Projects to Restore America.” Key representatives from the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project attended this partnership meeting and the prior meeting, and wanted to express their enthusiasm that the 21CSC could be a substantial cornerstone of their primary goal to elevate voluntary civilian national service as a counterpart to military service in the United States. The nitty-gritty details of identifying projects that “are set apart from projects that Corps are already doing” is something of a dual-edged dynamic, as many people attending the meeting also believed that the initiative needs to be something more deeply “embedded into how the federal agencies work.”

This dynamic more broadly was discussed in the desire to create a launch event for the program with some pow, substantial press, and funded projects. It should be noted, however, that some attendees recognized that while a huge launch would have value, there have actually been a steady progression of events that have moved the initiative forward. Starting from a championed idea, to the creation and input of a Federal Advisory Committee to make that idea into a more functional set of principles and recommendations, to the establishment of a National Council as recommended by the Federal Advisory Committee to implement the initiative, and now the nearly-completed initial request for letters of interest in being listed as an official 21CSC program participants, there is a lot of merit to this perspective. So in other words, a request was voiced to appreciate the long-term progress made to create an enduring initiative, that has taken time to evolve given the complexities of collaboration between numerous federal agencies and partners.

One analogy that seemed to resonate with people in the room was that the 21CSC is a growing tree, where the roots and trunk of the tree are a “broad array of partnerships.”

Beyond generalizations about the big picture of where the initiative stands, several new memorandums of understanding / partnership agreements were detailed, with groups including The Wilderness Society, Backcountry Horsemen, and the Conservation Lands Foundation. A representative of the Federal Interagency Task Force of Outdoor Recreation (FICOR) also detailed some new recommendations that will be made to the agencies on how to better facilitate some of the legal framework issues for implementing the 21CSC collaboratively. Work on new partnership agreements and putting the FICOR recommendations into effect will continue.

Some potential logos for the 21CSC were also briefly presented as well as work by The Corps Network to build a website that will serve as temporary home for information about the 21CSC and approved programs. Finally, numerous accreditation efforts and a national service registry were discussed, as well as how to limit redundancies between these systems and processes.

In summary, the partnership meeting showed that while there are still a lot of finer details to be worked out in terms of how the 21CSC will operate, significant progress continues to be made and enthusiasm for the large potential of this initiative remains strong.

Boiler Plate: 
On Tuesday this week, participants in the Partnership for a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the progression of the initiative. While fundamental questions about the logistics and funding of the initiative remain, substantial progress has been made by the Partnership and the National Council (i.e. official representatives from federal agencies) that will soon pave the way for on-the-ground activities.

The Corps Network Praises President Obama's Creation of New Interagency National Service Taskforce

CCC Alumni Receive President's Call to Service Award

Story and photos from Maine Conservation Corps 

2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was a work-relief program instituted in 1932 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over the eleven years of the program, three million young men served in the CCC. In Maine, they worked in the woods, built roads, cut fire trails, and performed all types of conservation work. They were paid $30 per month, of which $25 had to be sent home to their families. On Thursday, May 16, 2013, at Camp Mechuwana in Winthrop, a recognition event was held by the Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) to honor the service of the CCC members in Maine.

The MCC is an AmeriCorps program that performs conservation work throughout Maine. The MCC continues the CCC’s tradition of conservation service. This year is the 30th anniversary of the MCC.

The honorees in attendance at the event were Ralph Bonville, John McLeod, Philip Gouzie, and Anne Madore, Peter Madore’s widow. All the CCC Boys in attendance served in the armed forces in World War II after leaving the CCC. Eighty-five percent of those who served in the CCC across the country went on to serve in the military during World War II.



 

Other speakers included MCC Director Jo Orlando, Congressman Michael Michaud’s Deputy Chief of Staff John Graham, Jr., Maine Commission for Community Service Director Maryalice Crofton, Bureau of Parks and Lands Director Willard Harris, and Supervisor of Outdoor Recreation Mick Rogers.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Commissioner Walter Whitcomb presented each of the honorees with the President’s Call to Service Award. This highest level volunteer service award is for extraordinary service, at least 4000 hours over a lifetime. They also received the service award pin and congratulatory letters from President Obama and  AmeriCorps director, Bill Basl.

Ralph Bonville, age 94, joined the CCC after high school because of the lack of other work. He served in the “Far East” CCC camp in Princeton, Maine. The CCC built part of the Stud Mill Road in that area to aid in firefighting. His job was shoveling. Often the ground was frozen and had to be dynamited. After leaving the CCC Bonville served in the Army. He went on to become a 2nd generation painter.



 

John McLeod, age 89, joined the CCC in 1940 and served in Camden Hills camp. He helped build Camden Hills State Park, from the buildings to the trails to the picnic area by the water. He then served as a camp hospital orderly, which paid and extra $6/month. After the Camden camp closed in 1941 McLeod was transferred to the camp in Bar Harbor, where he continued to serve as a hospital orderly until the CCC program ended in 1942, when he assisted in the final inventory. After the CCC, McLeod worked as a shipyard welder, a skill he learned in the CCC, and then he served in the United States Marine Corps.

Anne Madore spoke about her late husband, Peter. He was the 8th of 13 children. Their mother had died young, and the father was raising the children by himself. Many of Peter’s siblings also joined the CCC. He served in the Princeton camp, where he learned how to fell trees, use dynamite, build stone walls, and all type of construction work. These skills served him well for the rest of his life as he pursued a career in construction. He had many of the skills and knowledge that his younger coworkers did not, and he taught them everything. After leaving the CCC, Peter Madore served in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism.

Philip Gouzie, age 90, is a Former Vice President of the National Association of CCC Alumni, CCC Legacy Board Member, President of CCC Legacy Chapter 111. He served in the 1124th CCC Company, in Bridgton, Maine. The Bridgton camp was administered by the Forest Service with a focus on insect and disease control. Gouzie talked about looking for gypsy moth egg clusters and painting them with creosote to kill them. He talked about how the boys searched the treetops using ropes and looked under barns, etc. He also delivered food to the boys serving in the field, helped maintain the motor pool, ran the movie projector at the camp, and also served as a helper to the camp doctor. He served in the Navy, in the Submarine Service, during and after World War II. 

AmeriCorps Members from Civic Works Visit White House, Meet President Obama

 

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On Friday of last week, 12 AmeriCorps members were invited to the White House to talk about National Service with President Obama and other senior officials. Among them were 2 Corpsmembers from Civic Works, Baltimore’s Service Corps. Leonard Chase (seen in the right corner) and Myeasha Taylor, we thank you for representing the Corps movement and National Service!

You can read more about their visit and the short biographies of all 12 AmeriCorps members who attended at serve.gov by clicking here.

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