Meet Jonathan “Jay” Fennell (pictured above on the left), a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska. As SCA encourages our friends to triple the impact of their gift to SCA, we thought it was a perfect time to engage this three-time SCA alumnus in a short, three-question interview.
SCA: What three words come to mind when you think of SCA?
Jay: Friendship. Service. Connection.
SCA: Do you still have any keepsakes from your SCA days?
Jay: One memento that comes to mind is the SCA sweatshirt I received during the orientation for my Delaware Water Gap NRA corps program. This sweatshirt will be six-years-old next June and is my designated “field sweatshirt.” It has provided me with protection, comfort, and inspiration since 2014, and has traveled with me from New Jersey to California, Colorado, Arizona, and Alaska. This garment is more than just the embodiment of “wear and tear” – it is a recording of the three most impactful years in my young-adult life while working with SCA.
2014 was also my introduction to the world of rock-climbing and bouldering while part of SCA’s Desert Restoration Corps. I continue these activities to the present day, and bought my first pair of rock climbing shoes during this program. A handful of crew members had some experience climbing, but the majority of us were completely new to the sport. I still remember each climbing trip vividly as we struggled and learned together. I do not use the shoes any more, but I still have them for the memories they hold.
Embracing new challenges as a crew was a fun way to relax while also continuing to grow as a community. November 2014, DRC 2014-15.
SCA: Speaking of SCA memories, which one do you hold most closely after all these years?
Jay: Midway through the 2014-2015 season of the Desert Restoration Corps, my crew members and I during were tasked with retrieving a log book from one of the summits in the El Paso Mountains Wilderness. The hike was not particularly long or strenuous, but it gave us an opportunity to take a break from collecting vegetation transplants, and simply enjoy one of the wilderness areas our crew monitored. This simple day trip turned out to be a powerful team-building exercise that boosted our mid-season morale, and helped carry us through the first half of our program.
June 2015 All Corps Orientation, DRC 2014-15.
I found that there will often be times, especially in the professional world, where daily duties become mundane to the point of demoralizing. I think learning about self-awareness and actively exploring how to maintain a positive mental attitude were concepts that I did not really explore until I worked with SCA. Each program I participated in provided an environment where these kinds of self and group explorations are encouraged. I still practice these kinds of self-awareness and care habits almost daily, mostly due to SCA.
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