That One Time I Ran Away to Small-Town Montana By Nicole Fortier

I’ve wanted to join AmeriCorps since I learned about it back in High School. At the time, however, I was far from ready for independence. So, I went straight to college and got my bachelor’s degree. Afterwards— and for some time during for that matter— I was interested in having a radical change of pace. So, I decided to commit to a year of service. I applied to several sites and eventually took a position at the Boys and Girls Club of Sidney, Montana. Sidney is an isolated town in the north-eastern part of the state, near the Dakota badlands….

The Duty to Serve – Jensen Lillquist

I chose to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA for many reasons—many of which are personal and selfish—but chief among them is a compulsion to serve the community that gave me an education. I grew up in Ellensburg, Washington to middle-class parents. I am blonde-haired, blue-eyed, male, and heterosexual. In other words, I’ve never experienced adversity related to my race, class, gender, or sexual orientation. I graduated high-school in 2014, and, due to a track scholarship, decided to attend the University of Montana that autumn. I had no concrete idea of what I wanted to study or what I wanted to…

To Be Continued By Emily McMath

One of the first things we learn to do as humans is communicate. Maybe it’s just through coos, wails, and large amounts of flailing, but we’re trying our best. This is where telling our story begins. My first day in service! Gradually, we learn to speak, and in my case, we find it hard to shut up. We have a need to voice every thought that runs through our growing, curious minds. As we go through school, we are taught the importance of reading and listening to others with intent. This is the first case we are actively told to…

Amber Mountains – Chloe Weber

My VISTA office is abnormally large: I’m allowed an overhanging light fixture and two wall sconces. I have two desks, two monitors, a table to host meetings and a loveseat to have one-on-ones. My desk even raises for me to stand at it if I want. Before I saw it for myself several future coworkers had hinted and teased, “oh, she’ll be in Marissa’s old office? That’s really nice.” And while they were and continue to be right, it’s also spacious enough to be more than a bit distancing from the world outside.  In my first months as a VISTA,…

Serving the Future Workforce By Gabe Alderson

One nice thing about my service is that it takes me all over the state! There are so many reasons that people decide to take part in national service. For some it’s the prospect of the education award and resume building, and for others (such as myself), it’s the opportunity to take part in something bigger than yourself and to have real, measurable impact that doesn’t revolve around profits or economic gain. I wanted to have a chance at achieving real change that could help better people’s lives and America as a whole. Through my AmeriCorps service, I’ve found that…

I Took a Nap At The Wrong Time and Now I’m a VISTA Leader by Paxton McCausland

I had everything set up, the skype call, the blazer, the notes, yet nothing was happening. The Peace Corps interview was meant to have started ten minutes ago, but I was the only one in attendance. Knowing that something was off, I frantically searched through my emails to verify the time. Ah! I had accidentally set up the interview in Pacific time, instead of the Eastern Time I was currently living in. No big deal, I thought. I’ll just take a nap until the correct time of my actual interview, three hours from then.  During college I developed an impressive…

The Second Year: Over Snow And Underground By Eli Bowe

The snow is falling wet and heavy, the sky above is gray, and the streets are quiet. Nothing to be surprised by, until you realize it’s still September. Did the early cold-snap make me regret my decision to live in Montana a second year? Not in the slightest. Never one to miss an opportunity, I donned wool socks and headed out for a hike. AmeriCorps members know how to make do. Not so very long ago, I completed a year of VISTA service in Bozeman, MT, and you can find my old blog here if you’d like details. Times have…

MTCC VISTAs Address Food Insecurity for 9/11 Service Project

Montana Campus Compact sanctioned service project for National Day of Service on September 11th of 2019 involved two separate events that centered around food insecurity. The first event occurred at the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center. Eight MTCC VISTAs arrived at the Missoula Food Bank at 9am to work on two different projects. These VISTAs include: Paxton McCausland, Joe Wagner, Bri Howerton, Renee Goodenow, Clara Moser, Jensen Lillquist, Liv Mays, and Sarah Poole. Half of the volunteers helped repackage dried plums to be placed in the grocery store section of the food bank. The other group of VISTAs helped…

THE HEART OF SERVICE by Lonnie Nielson-Kattell

 

Sometimes the best thing that you can do is step back and look at the heart of the matter. Coming to the close of my service, taking a step back and remembering my original intentions for the project was something I wish I would have done more throughout my service. I know that all too often I get overwhelmed from all that is going on in the world and taking a deep breath to stay in the moment is the bravest thing anyone can do. Having a consistent reminder to view others through the strengths-based perspective and use the theory…

LEGACY BY EVERETT WALKER

As I near the end of my first year of service, I’m looking at this paper and quite frankly I’m at a loss to capture it all. There have been numerous things that have had an impact on me both large and small. There have been days of questions like, “ what am I doing?” and days of breakthroughs where a small encounter helps me feel reassured that I am in the right place at the right time. I’m late writing this mostly because of all the summer activities that have been happening at the Fort. We have had two…

TRANSITIONS BY NICOLE LEMASTER

As my AmeriCorps service year nears its end, I try to piece together all the new ideas and skills that I’ve learned and package them into just a few sentences. How do you compact a whole year’s worth of experiences into a few words? Without cutting corners and truly giving it the meaningful praise it deserves, I choose the word “transitions” to perfectly convey what this year as an AmeriCorps Leader at SpectrUM Discovery Area has meant to me. We all transitioned into new lives when we made this commitment to serve. We left our families and our comfort zones…

SPEAK UP BY ASHLEY HETTLER

I served with the International Rescue Committee during my 2018-2019 service year. In April, we received an Iraqi family of two parents and their two children who were going to be in middle school. I picked them up and drove them to their enrollment meeting at the local school district. They were excited to attend school, and were kind and attentive to the teachers and staff. They asked questions, were lighthearted and laughing, and being respectful to everyone. During the meeting, the kids were practicing their English with their ESL teacher, and their mother was trying to give them little…

WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT’S BEEN BY AMBER DECHAINE

I like to compare my year of service to a Grateful Dead tune. Just when you think it’s over, they keep on jammin’ on into the next verse. Although there has been much less of a psychoactive influence on my year of service than there might have been on a Grateful Dead song, just when I thought I was done growing and learning, I kept jammin’ on into the next verse. Throughout my time with the Montana Career Lab I have developed a greater understanding of career development, career theory, and why it is important to explore career development as…

BIGGER AND BETTER: THE HIDDEN LIFE LESSONS BY ADAM MAES

The first week of our Upward Bound Summer Academy 2019 went off without too many issues. Starting over with a new team has been quite interesting, but rewarding and exciting. There are seven of us providing supervision and guidance for the 51 high school students in our care. Part of this commitment is planning activities to keep them occupied and out of trouble in the evenings. This week we carried out an Upward Bound tradition of playing “Bigger and Better” on the streets of Butte. The rules are simple, I give out a paperclip and tell the students that they…

HAPPY GRADUATION, SENIOR CLASS OF 2019! BY ALEXIS BURTON

Spring has sprung, as they say, with summer clinging tight to the tail end of this season, ready to move in at a thunderstorm’s notice. All of the seniors at Troy High School have completed their last day of school, checked out of their classes, cleaned their lockers, returned their books to the library and submitted their final papers and projects. With them gone, my office feels empty, though my door remains open. Perfect time to reflect on all that has occurred this year, and the impact the seniors have had on the student body and myself. In the beginning…

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN AGENCY AND INSTRUCTION IT TAKES A VILLAGE: THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN AGENCY AND INSTRUCTION BY CHANDLER PADGETT

After years of waiting, the Boys & Girls Club of Richland County moved into its new building in March. Amid the pristine white walls, shiny steel kitchen, and ample programming space there sparkled a host of hopes and expectations for what we would accomplish free of our previous limitations. In May, the last month of school, I planned to channel these goals into my art program—to take full advantage of our new resources and involve our entire club community in a collaborative project. I decided the project would take the form of a village; in an attempt to engage the…