I wanted to become an AmeriCorps volunteer after leaving my first post-college job. Since graduating in 2008, I had been working as a field instructor for a for-profit wilderness therapy program for teens. While that position was demanding and rewarding, I was seeking to do something more meaningful in the nonprofit sector serving everday youth. I also realized that AmeriCorps would be a crucial step in my career for developing the professional skills necessary in a competitive job market. In August of 2010, I was offered the AmeriCorps Community Resource Corps position at Trekkers, a nonprofit outdoor-based mentoring program in mid-coast Maine.
I’m currently serving my second AmeriCorps term at Trekkers, now as a member of the Great Strides Rural Education Corps. During my terms of service, I have gained far more professional and personal growth than I thought possible. Trekkers is a comprehensive six-year program that offers so many opportunities for its students to connect to local caring adults, and so I have just as many opportunities to hone my skills! I plan expeditions, organize large events, direct a peer-mentoring program, publish a bi-annual newsletter and more. Additionally, I’ve gained interpersonal skills from managing volunteers, both adults and students, to mentoring teens directly. I’ve played many roles, from peer and friend to facilitator and director, and each has encouraged a new awareness of and confidence in my abilities.
Beyond the skills that I have acquired during my terms, I have gained immense personal satisfaction in my work. To be able to put your all into a project that impacts others, and to do this alongside supportive and passionate colleagues, is invaluable! I absolutely love my AmeriCorps experience. It has led me to realize much about myself, my goals and how best to find happiness now and in the future.