Here they are, all together, student-produced Harlem Shake vids from all three NPS Academies: Alaska, Great Smoky, and Grand Tetons.
Which one reins supreme? Tell us in the comments!
Written by Kate Hagner, SCA’s AmeriCorps Program and Evaluation manager, in celebration of AmeriCorps week, March 9 -17th.
SCA and AmeriCorps share a common history: President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). During the Great Depression the CCC provided opportunities for unemployed young men to engage in meaningful work, mostly on conservation projects in the nation’s public lands.
In the 1950’s SCA’s founder, Elizabeth Cushman, modeled the original student conservation corps on the CCC, based on the idea that the hard work of young people could solve some of the most critical challenges facing our nation’s public lands.
Over the next forty years SCA became part of a movement of national service in America that included the creation of the Peace Corps, VISTA, and Youth Conservation Corps, and eventually, in 1994, this national service program that we know as AmeriCorps. Both SCA and AmeriCorps can trace their roots back to the CCC and that original, brilliant idea that regular Americans can help our country do amazing things through service.
Every year around 75,000 Americans enroll in AmeriCorps, serving with non-profits and community organizations like SCA and doing all kinds of work – everything from supporting veterans’ families to responding to floods and forest fires to tutoring students to restoring parks and protecting watersheds.
At SCA more than 1,500 of our members enroll in AmeriCorps. What ties all of these members together – and what ties SCA’s AmeriCorps members to AmeriCorps members serving with other organizations – is a common commitment to strengthening communities and the environment through service.
One of the greatest benefits of AmeriCorps is the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which has helped thousands of SCA alums pay for college or pay back student loans. It’s a partnership that helps SCA do more of what we do best: build the next generation of conservation leaders.
This year’s theme for AmeriCorps Week (March 9-17), AmeriCorps Works, reflects AmeriCorps’ triple bottom line return on investment -- for the recipients of service, the people who serve, and the larger community and nation. AmeriCorps improves lives, strengthens communities, expands economic opportunity, bolsters civic and faith-based organizations, and engages millions of Americans in taking responsibility for solving problems in their communities.
SCA is proud to be a partner of the AmeriCorps national service network. Please join us in celebrating AmeriCorps week.
Learn more about SCA positions that are AmeriCorps eligible.
Join our online AmeriCorps group on jointhesca.org.
Help support AmeriCorps week by sharing stories and photos with hashtags #ACweek, #AmeriCorpsWorks, and #MadeinAmeriCorps. You can also check in with AmeriCorps on Facebook for fresh badges and graphics every day this week.
By Apoorva Mahajan, NPS Academy 2013
This week on Conservation Nation, we're bringing you blog updates from session 2 of NPS Academy 2013. Here, Apoorva Mahajan reflects on his first day at the Academy in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
After an exhausting day (and often night) of travelling to Gatlinburg, TN and settling into the Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft, the SCA NPS Academy moved into full gear. Around 30 SCA orientation go-ers, a host of SCA Peer Mentors and Facilitators, and NPS guides and staff convened and set out for a day at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
First on the day’s itinerary, however, was a hearty breakfast at Arrowmont at 7:30 AM. Matt Kulp introduced himself and his passion for wildlife and all manner of swimming creatures, as well as his own journey in the National Park Service. We then forayed into the Great Smoky Mountains. An hour-long drive on the Cades Cove Loop led us into the heart of the National Park, where we partook in a number of interpretation-based activities. The goal was not only to experience the culture and heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains, but also to orient academy attendees with the ins and outs of interpretation and cultural immersion at the National Parks. Among the activities in which SCA members participated were a tutorial in period blacksmithing, a guided walk through a preserved, late-1800s village, and making our very own pinch pots. Like happy school children, each attendee left with a dinner bell to show for his or her efforts.
A movie viewing and visitor center stop were in order to further expose SCA attendees to the background of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During the presentation that followed, Dale Ditmanson, Superintendent of the Park, spoke on his experiences with the National Park Service, the mission and aims of the organization, and the challenges and rewards that come with working in the NPS. A hand-packed sack meal later, we started to make our way back to Arrowmont for the remainder of the day’s activities.
At Arrowmont, we organized leisure activities around the daily, unstructured ‘community time’, after which we were treated to a keynote presentation. Lance, our facilitator, spoke on the importance of a key element in all relationships, including our own with the NPS: trust. Without trust, Lance explained, few personal and professional relationships can take root and thrive. Within the SCA, being entrusted with caring for our nation’s natural resources is the first step in becoming an active and successful intern.
Our individual cultural backgrounds, too, play a role in shaping our service in the NPS and SCA. Even as a diverse group with various backgrounds and upbringings, we found that what we have in common - a commitment to preserving the environment - far outweighs our differences. By appreciating and embracing our diversity, we can provide the best possible service to our nation’s diverse people and landscape.
So ended the first day of the NPS Academy at the Great Smoky Mountains. With any luck, the rest of our week will prove equally informative and enjoyable.
FIELD TRIPS ARE OFTEN the highlight of any student's day, but many schools can no longer afford them. So, SCA takes the field trip back to the classroom. In Manchester, NH, intern Scott Baumwald enters a fourth grade class with a small sandbox, a watering can, and a large stone covered in mud. He instructs one student to roll the rock while another showers it with water. The stone leaves a mix of soil and pebbles in its path, "just like the glaciers, thousands of years ago," Scott explains. As other pupils blow on the sand to illustrate erosion, he asks what the puddle in the corner of the sandbox might represent. One boy's eyes widen as his right hand shoots high the air. "A lake!" he shouts.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
This is the sort of imaginative, interactive lesson that SCA interns have provided to every Manchester fourth grader since 1994—an entire generation of school children, more than 12,000 students in all. "There is no doubt that my kids learn from the lessons," says Carolyn Tartsa, a teacher at Webster Elementary, "but more importantly, the SCA members are role models in the truest sense—young persons the children can respect, admire, and aspire to be."
SCA interns also host an after-class servicelearning program for high school students. Those who do well go on to assist their instructors when the SCA NH Corps turns to repairing trails and campgrounds in state parks over the summer. The more these teen learn, the more they do: serving in SCA internships, majoring in environmental studies, and entering in green careers.
"What you're seeing here is a microcosm of the SCA program continuum," says intern Tyler Laue. "We're putting these students on a path to lifelong stewardship."