So, I’m writing a blog. This is a first, so please bare with me. If you’re just starting here, you’ve missed 22 years of past adventures…but that doesn’t matter too much for this. About three weeks ago, I traded my routine Midwest life for the adventure of a lifetime in Sunny Sacramento. This new journey is about to be the most exhausting, ever changing, and most rewarding experience I’ll probably ever experience.
The biggest question I have received in these past few weeks is: “Wait, so like…..what exactly are you doing in McClellan, California, 2,019 miles away from home?”
Well, I am serving a year as a corps member with Americorps NCCC-FEMA Corps. Now that’s quite the mouthful. Let me break it down for you. My team is Green 6 (GREEEEEN SQUAAAAD…YOU KNOW!) and I could not be happier. Over the course of the year, I will be serving on a team with eight other young adults between the ages of 19-24 years old. My team is driven, witty, hilarious, sarcastic, caring, and most of all, my family, for the next 10-months. Together, we will be working as Disaster Survivor Assistance specialists as we go door-to-door to register survivors for assistance. We’re a joint program between Americorps NCCC and FEMA, mostly working in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery programs throughout the U.S. (To learn more, go to: Nationalservice.gov)
The second biggest question I have received is, “So….what did you do today?”
Currently, I am finishing up the first few weeks of training before we head to San Luis Obispo tomorrow for some more FEMA specialized training, and then, we deploy to our first assignments. My first assignment location just so happens to be Denton, Texas! It has been the absolute longest three weeks of my life in the best way possible. I’ll give you a glimpse of what a typical day of Corps member Training Institute looks like.
5:00 am- Alarm goes off. Press snooze.
5:15 am- Roommate #1’s alarm goes off. Press snooze.
5:30 am- Roommate #2’s alarm goes off. Press snooze.
5:45 am- All three alarms go off. We all gather our warmest workout clothes, PT Belt, and brave the outside for PT.
6:00-6:45- PT. This involves running, stairs, sprints, miles, yoga, belly dancing…there are a lot of different activities depending on the day, but it’s catered so that everyone can get a good workout at their own physical pace.
6:45-7:45 am- Our hectic rushing to the shower (we share a bathroom with 4 other girls), eating breakfast, packing lunches, making coffee, and cleaning up the kitchens.
7:45-8 am- Morning Welcome. This is when a staff member gives a speech to kick-start the day on a positive note.
8 am- 12 am- Training. Each day provides new and helpful information. Examples could be anything from diversity, to FEMA Basic training, to some sort of hands on team activity. Coffee and caffeine pills are recommended for this…I wish I was joking about the caffeine pills….but, sadly, I am not.
12 am- 1 pm- Lunch. We’re not allowed in the kitchens during training days, so this is when we eat our packed lunches. Or if you miss packing lunch like I do, this is when you head out for some California taco places: Aldabertos is a popular favorite.
1 pm-5 pm- Death by powerpoint continued.
5-8 pm- Dinner. Nap. Team meetings. Team grocery shopping. Depends on the day, and depends on schedule.
8-?- We spend this time winding down, squeezing in personal time, and talking to friends and family back home.
5 am- Alarm goes off. Press snooze.
So, you could say that these past three weeks have been eye-opening, challenging, exhausting beyond belief, and over all absolutely incredible. There’s something so thrilling to be thrown into a random team with people from 4 different time zones. Different cultures. Different walks of life. Different views. I might be biased in saying this, but I think I luckily got the best team. We’ve brought out the strengths in each team member, and we’re working towards getting rid of the weaknesses. So no, I don’t get much sleep. I don’t get much free time. I don’t get much space. And no, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I’m on this crazy roller coaster we call Amerilife, and I am so excited to see where this new adventure takes me. Next stop: San Luis Obispo and then we’re off to Denton, Texas to show off what Green 6 is made of!