By Ted Miller - High School Program Manager - Washington DC, CLC (Conservation Leadership Corps)
Normally, for a SCA sponsored service event, a program manager or staff would provide and introduction and safety talk. Last Saturday, that was not the case. Local volunteers' heard this instead, "Hello, my name is Caroline Hackett, and I'm a DC High School students and an SCA crew member, welcome to Kingman Island and thank you all for coming! Standing next to me are my five friends, also High School students, who organized this event and we will be your crew leaders for today. My friend Richard, also a High School student, will now give the safety talk". On Saturday April 4th Five DC High School Students, known as "Old Faithfull's" or second and third year students from the SCA DC CLC program organized 100 volunteers and facilitated a clean-up of 1 ½ tons of trash on Kingman Island as part of the Potomac Watershed Clean-Up Initiative.
The CLC High School students had to prepare all promotional materials advertising the event, solicit donations for bagels and coffee, complete a site assessment for the clean-up area, create direction signs to be posted at the metro, and on the day of the event give the introduction and safety talk and then facilitate a wrap-up discussion at the end of the day. All in all the five students were able to gather over 100 volunteers and take out 1 ½ tons of recyclables, not-so recyclables, and an exercise bike, from the Potomac Watershed.
The purpose of having students' facilitate the event was to give them a sense of ownership of the program and to gain leadership skills. Tommy Wells, a local council member from District 6, did not expect to see High School Students running the show, and was quoted, "DC students organized all of this? That's any amazing accomplishment for adults let alone High School students". At the end of the day, although exhausted, the five students, Tomas Deza, Michael Bokingo, Caroline Hackett, Richard Adamson, and Brenda Lopez, felt a tremendous amount of accomplishment and ownership. The CLC students where also quoted saying to the DC SCA staff, "we never realized what it takes to do your job as crew leaders and mangers and today we got a taste of that". The fabulous five won't be stopping here as they are currently helping the DC SCA staff plan for the Earth Day event only a few short weeks away.