This week's guest post comes from an AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leader Alum who currently works at NCCC HQ selecting and placing new NCCC members. If you apply, you might get a chance to talk with him! Enjoy!
|First day of Team Leader Training|
Upon seeing myself in uniform for the first time, I was in disbelief. “I’m really a Team Leader”, I thought to myself. Team Leader Training was intense and very informative, which prepared me for the rollercoaster ride that was AmeriCorps NCCC. My team, Raven 7, worked with: City Neighbors Charter School, Rebuilding Together Baltimore, Serve Rhode Island, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Eden Mill Nature Center, American Red Cross, Copper Cannon Camp and the Long Island Nature Conservancy.
Although I was nervous about leading a team, once we started working, all of my fears quickly disappeared. We tore down lockers, recycled aluminum, performed flood relief services, built 5 homes in 5 days, created mountain bike trails, removed tons of invasive plants and a lot more. We fought hard but we also loved just as hard. Those ten members quickly became a part of my extended family. Also, if it weren’t for my Unit Leader, the Raven Unit TLs and Team Green, I would not have survived the year. Graduation came and went and five days later, I was back in Mississippi, living a somewhat normal life.
|Raven 7 at Girl couts of Chesapeake Bay|
I learned to drink lots water before doing construction work in New Orleans in 100 degree weather. I learned how to effectively manage finances, write reports and a host of other skills. Most importantly, I learned how to lead, advocate for and co-exist with a team of individuals from very diverse backgrounds.
One day, I received an email from my former Unit Leader and two weeks later, I found myself back in Perry Point, donning the green “A” and tan BDU’s once more. My team, Raven One, worked with: Delaware State Parks, the VA Medical Center, Stone Soup Leadership Institute, Vermont VOAD, Greene County Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross and The Loading Dock. We did beautification work, painted buildings, worked on a farm, traveled to Martha’s Vineyard, mucked and gutted homes, became chainsaw trained, met the first lady of Delaware and so much more.
Many might think that a second-year Team Leader like me would know everything, but that was not the case. I encountered many personal and professional challenges that made me question whether or not I could finish the year but I knew that I had a team of eight individuals who were counting on me and I could not give up on them. Life is full of ups, downs, twists and turns but one must never give up. We successfully finished our year all together as a team and I could not have asked for anything more.