AmeriCorps: Do I Stay in Touch With my Team?

It has been over 1 year since my AmeriCorps journey has come to an end (May 2019). I would say that I do a decent job of keeping in touch with 5 of my 8 team members and I talk to 1 fellow team leader on a quarterly basis.

I keep in touch through the app Marco Polo, I write letters, and then there is the occasional FaceTime or Instagram video chat.

I honestly didn’t know whether or not I would develop good enough relationship during my time in the program, but I am glad I did because a lot of high school friends and I grew apart or we don’t see each other as often, so I am grateful for new friends. I also only made one friend in my almost 6 years of college (LOL), so I will take all the extra friends I can get.

This post is a short one, but I wanted to encourage everyone to reach out to those you care about and to keep in touch with people who care about you, too. Write letters, send emails, follow them on social media, and maybe meet up every few months/years. Take a road trip, go camping, or meet up at a restaurant if you are in their areas.

Busy Week for Delta 4

On Monday, Delta 4 met the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner from the IRS.

On Tuesday, the team was given a presentation by a park ranger and we got to see some owls! Later that day, we went to the biggest mall in Memphis and took a campus tour of the University of Memphis.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Wednesday, we attended a Town Hall meeting hosted by Women United in Memphis. The topic of this meeting was “Poverty” and the guest speaker, Dr. Marcella Wilson, gave a phenomenal speech.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The last time our unit leader came to visit us, we requested a projector for movie nights, so we set up an in home theatre!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First day in Tennessee!

Delta 4 left housing at 7:15am yesterday to participate in orientation at the Meritan building in Memphis. The team met the President as well as the other staff members we would be working with. We even got a tour of the building.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It turns out that United Way is a little bit more complex than we thought. This VITA service is the only direct service they provide- everything else is indirect and referral type stuff.

A note on our housing: we are living in Millington, TN at a volunteer/student dorm building. It is is the woods and cell service isn’t so hot. There is WiFi, but it is super slow, especially with 20 people on it. We are being housed with another NCCC team. So far, everyone seems to be getting along and I haven’t seen any developing issues between humans. I’m optimistic. Later today we are having a meet and greet because back on campus we live on opposite ends of the property and haven’t really interacted with each other.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, I did not know that we would be working in 3 different states: Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Our work sites are going to be 3 libraries and 2 malls (super sites). We will each be assigned a role; I have inserted a screenshot from the IRS website:

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 6.43.57 AM

Today and tomorrow will consist of training and being certified on the different roles.

The weather is significantly colder than our last location in Florida, but it’s doable. The backyard is also huge and both teams can play games for PT (now that we have enough people to compete).

The only downside to this so far is the lack of service and the 20-30 minute daily drive through the woods to get to the worksites, but we’ve done worse, so it’s fine.

Ocracoke, North Carolina

Delta 4 has finally arrived in Ocracoke. What was supposed to be a 6 hour road trip turned into an 11 hour adventure. By the end of our journey, the team was a little on edge and eager to get settled into our new home.

We are staying in 2 houses that are basically right next to each other at the end of a cul-de-sac at the tip of the island.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is the best housing we have had thus far. There are 2 houses, 5 bedrooms with beds and furniture, 2 full kitchens, 3 bathrooms- this place is AMAZING. I will say that there is no television, but I can’t really say that we watch television on this team. Additionally, there is no WiFi, but my personal and work phones both have fantastic service and internet signal here, so getting my work done shouldn’t be an issue as long as my hotspot doesn’t give up. Also, there are plenty of little shops and restaurants with accessible WiFi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To get here, we had to take a one hour ferry ride. I’m not going to lie, I really don’t like seeing the 15 P or Cargo floating across large bodies of water. Luckily, the wind wasn’t too crazy and it didn’t rock too much.

IMG_0936

One of my corps members thought it would be a good idea to raise up his cookie holding hand to the seagulls. That didn’t go over well.

It was cold, but bearable. As mentioned before, the ferry ride was one hour (actually a little more) and then we drove 20 minutes across Ocracoke island to get to housing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We start our first day today with Tracy, our site supervisor. I think the day will mainly consist of getting to know the island and its weather patters. We may review what the plan is for these two weeks, but I doubt we will start any work today.

Changes…

Our last day in New Bern, NC is now this upcoming Tuesday. This week has been insane. We ran into a situation a few days ago at a worksite, and then we were bombarded with A-DRT and FEMA representatives. Then, yesterday, we came to a standstill at one of our more consistent projects here, and me and my higher ups came to the conclusion that it would be best for Delta 4 to relocate.

So. The decision was made. On Tuesday, Delta 4 will be moving to Willard, NC (only 1.5 hours from New Bern) and we will stay there until the 26th. My former roommate’s and my sister’s teams are actually there, so that was a nice surprise. We will be staying at the Willard Outreach Community Center with the two other NCCC teams, some Utah Conservation Corps people, and another group that I cannot quite remember the name of. It’s about 50 people.

They have rooms inside of the center and a giant field outside. The rooms inside are taken up by cots and the field is dominated by tents. My sister is in a tent, so I will probably join her wherever she is. I have my own tent- that I actually just sprayed down with some Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield– so I will create the beginning of what will be the Delta 4 Tent City. We have 4 more 4-person tents on the way from campus because we didn’t foresee us needing them when we originally left campus. I wanted adventure and I am getting it.

Currently, there are 23 high schoolers living with us at the church. They are here on a club trip to build sheds for the church. So far, they’ve been relatively quiet, but I’m not shy about telling people to pipe down, so we’ll deal with that when it happens.

My team is at an ISP at the Veteran’s Organic Community Garden again, so I have the place (almost) to myself. I got some paperwork done and I suppose I should begin packing. Luckily, I really downsized on this Round, so packing should be super easy. For Round 3, I can see myself downsizing even more. If there is one thing I hope to get out of this AmeriCorps journey, it is minimizing the amount of “stuff” I think I need whenever I go somewhere. Wish me luck.