A Farewell to Service by Ethan Krenzer

February 14, 2024
Ethan is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with The Moving Mountains Foundation in Missoula, MT.

Now six months into my third year with AmeriCorps Montana as a VISTA, sharing my experience in the program is something I have attempted to do in the past. The opportunity to serve with three separate nonprofit organizations has been a great opportunity to give back. While the experience has made me a better team member, given the numerous needs of residents, it has not always been easy to help my host organizations fulfill or live up to their mission or vision statements. From isolation, living paycheck to paycheck, and adjusting to new surroundings, living in Montana has been a real challenge. Despite these obstacles, serving in Butte and Missoula, has been an honor to learn about nonprofit work and to serve on behalf of Montanans.

Not finished with this years’ service until August, there is still time left for me to continue honing my abilities as a VISTA and as a team member at my nonprofit. Montana is a  beautiful place with a lot of need. As the fourth largest state in the Union, the challenges impacting the residents varies depending on where they are located. This includes budget cuts to essential programs, distance separating people from needed services, and the lack of team members in critical professions. Going from Southwest to Western Montana, seeing what issues impact different communities has kept me on my toes but in a good way.

The opportunity to serve at different organizations, has made me a better communicator when introducing myself and the organization on what they do, why it matters, and its overall impact on the communities where they operate. In addition, it has made me a better event coordinator when reaching out to and arranging Community Night Fundraisers to secure money in the short-term and grow awareness about the organization for the long-term. Joining AmeriCorps Montana in Summer 2021, my time serving has been extremely rewarding and informative. Looking back on it, I feel that my time while not always perfect, was well spent and that I hopefully improved the lives of at least one individual in either Butter or Missoula from when I lived and served there.

Created under LBJ’s administration and strengthened during Bill Clinton’s time in office, AmeriCorps is one of America’s greatest ideas and programs. While the experience is different for everyone who serves, it is an opportunity to be part of something greater and is something that everyone should consider signing up for if they are able to give a part of themselves to a community in need.