Monday, July 22, 2013

40,000 Scouts. 14 NCCC Teams. One Amazing Service Project.

Tyler Monroe of AmeriCorps NCCC Team Delta 5 recounts his first week in West Virginia serving at the enormous Boy Scout Jamboree and discovering life in rural Appalachia
Team Leader Alex, sporting the AmeriCorps NCCC backpack, observes the view at an overlook during a hike along the gorge trail.
West Virginia, a state filled with green trees, rolling hills and a ripe chance for people to make a difference. My team and I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, playing witness to the radical change in landscape along the way. Driving from Alabama, we saw the horizon rise and fall until it folded up into sheets, peaks and valleys of mist-covered greenery. Along the way, my team laughed about the sheer scale of this project. Forty-thousand Boy Scouts? Hundreds of projects? Potentially hundreds of thousands of people impacted? 

It almost sounds like the summary of a blockbuster movie. Instead, this is really the work that we'll be doing for the next three weeks. 

We drove and spoke, watching the land twist and turn, occasionally spotting a structure on the ridge of a mountain. Of all things, we'd been amazed at the distinct kind of rural place we'd come into. We were used to cell phone reception, the comforts of Wal-Mart and easy driving. No doubt, it's been difficult to call everyone we'd like, and the drive to get groceries has been a little scary from time to time, but the kindness of the communities we've encountered has more than made up for the absent amenities. 
AmeriCorps NCCC team, Delta 5, led volunteers at the RAIL Community Center. Corps member Brandi Monnet helped paint this sign for volunteers to write their signatures.
So far, the team has worked on opening up trails and digging grade for a concrete walkway, and we've only been in West Virginia for less than a week. 

For a bit of fun, Delta 5 met up with several of the other AmeriCorps teams before the second week of work kicked off, getting to hike the gorgeous trails in Grandview State Park. The scenery around us is just one of many unique facets of this project, and the opportunities for outdoor recreation are just beginning to show themselves. Still, we are fully aware and eager to know that our primary purpose here is to facilitate an enormous impact on the people of West Virginia.
AmeriCorps NCCC Assistant Program Director for the Southern Region April Bazzi joined the Corps members on their trip through the gorge.

There's a lot of work coming our way, but at the end of it all, we're going to do some great things for America and for West Virginia. 

To learn more about this incredible feat of national and community service, check out some of the local media coverage in these videos below!

Brought to you by AmeriCorps NCCC, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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