Thursday, July 15, 2010


It's been a crazy couple of weeks, and you can definitely tell it is mid-year here in Americorps.

I just got back from my summer break, which I spent in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was an excellent time. I relaxed with some good friends that I hadn't seen in over a year, and then my brother and sister flew in to spend the 2nd half of break with me touring the city. Another friend, Zac, also came and spent time in the city with us. It was an excellent time - really good to see everyone, both friends and family.

I spent the 4th of July on top of an 18th floor apartment complex in upper Manhattan, only blocks from the Hudson river. Excellent way to enjoy the fireworks... and some beer.

New York City is definitely one of my favority places that I've been to. I saw so much while I was there... and it's incredible that you can literally take a train everywhere, including the beaches of Coney Island. Made that venture twice over vacation. It was so nice to sit back and relax.

Now, I'm back into the groove. I work with some incredible people here in Americorps. The Team Leaders (Team Green) are so frick'n hilarious. We started our week off with an all day training, just TL's. We had a blast... I was NOT mentally ready to sit in a room and listen to talking all day... that was made clear when the next day, at our first meeting of the day, I spoke up and said "I wasn't really listening yesterday, what is up with this whole composite team again?" My boss was pleased with that...

We also had some trivia questions that TL's had been asked to respond to, then we did a Jeopardy-like game where the Unit's competed against each other. Badger's won (duh), and it was brought up at least twice about my American Flag shirt. I think I was chosen to be on a desert island (because we could raise my shirt as the flag and be rescued), and... I'm not sure, but I may have been someone's Favorite American when wearing the shirt... so ridiculous.

My team came back Monday, and I gave them a pretty chill week. They continue to impress the socks off of me. I literally just inform them of what needs to get done, and they do it... and they do it SOOO darn well. We had to give our project brief, we do this every round (a presentation to staff to inform them on what we are going to be doing), and they make it VERY educational, funny, exciting and they always have something "go wrong." After informing staff that we feel "wild, magical, dainty" and much more, Steve knocked over the paper pad pedestal (that he should not have been anywhere near) and brought 3 people on the team to tears during the presentation. The team is rock solid... I'm very proud of them, and excited that I get to call them Badger 1 along with myself.

Unfortunately, yet so awesome, Ramona has left the team. She applied for and received another TL position within a different unit. One of the other TL's stepped down a few weeks back, and my CM applied for and was offered the TL opening. She is going to do SUCH a great job... My team had no clue she had applied for it, and Ramona told them after our brief that she accepted it... aside from being surprised, they all praised her and congratulated her... she's so deserving of this. I couldn't tell you how many times throughout today she received rounds of applause and "congratulations" from people all over campus. It's a quick transition...she shows up in green tomorrow, so she is officially... official! People keep on telling me "Congratulations, she is a product of your leadership." I understand the thought process behind that, but she is such a natural leader, that I honestly believe she had this down pat before she was placed on my team. Some of my CM's are a little anxious with her leaving because they relate so well to her, but they're overall happy for her. We are also down Jamie this round because she is on firefighting composite... so we're down to 8 instead of 10.. for the rest of the year. When Jamie gets back, Steve will leave for firefighting... Badger 1 is forever split... kinda sad... really.

There are 4 other composite teams this round, too. Two teams are going to Massachusettes to aid with the flood recovery efforts from this spring, one team is going to NOLA to assist families that have fallend victim to the oil spill (helping out at recovery and assistance centers), and one team is going to Pensacola, FL to help spread the word on the oil spill in an informational way. No one from Badger1 is going to any of those locations... whew!

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Baltimore. We will do a quick intro tomorrow night, and get right to work on saturday. There is a festival of sorts going on, so we'll help with that, and then have Sunday off... I think Ramona is giong to come down and visit since we won't really have the chance to say good-bye to her while we're here.

Also found out today that not only was B1 the first team to be done with all of their ISP hours, but we currently lead the corps in having the most ISP's of any team... and we have 2 of the top 10 highest hours on our team... well 1 really, because Ramona is a TL now. That was a nice little cherry on top of our overflowing Sunday (everyone in the corps knows B1... but we keep our cool...). Also did the PT assessment this week... almost, more than half the team scored 300... that's the best you can score! So Steve says our new goal is to be the most physically fit team in the corps... we might already be there.

I can't ask for things to be going much better. I'm going to be working with the team to get resumes in check so they can start figuring things out for after Americorps... I LOVE DOING RESUMES. I've already been helping some of them quite a bit, and they've said they're very excited to have a "resume expert" as their TL... I told them that might be a longshot, but I'll take the credit. haha

As for me, I'm waiting to start applying for Teach for America and other State Teaching Fellows programs... the applications don't open until August. Crossing my fingers.

I'm having fun here... I really like what I'm doing, and I'm seeing great benefits/results. It's been a big week for me on a personal front, with family and such. Lots of good communication. I might be getting back to WI in a couple weeks for a wedding, which will be a nice change of pace and a welcomed visit. Some of the faces I'd want there the most won't be, but you work with what you have. I'm learning that daily.

I'm living life right now... I can honestly say that... and it's great.

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