Maine Conservation Corps – End of Season Celebration

Originally at Simple is Working – 8/12/11

Do you ever wonder, who are some who maintains and creates some of the trails that we hike on?

In a different life when I was the Maine State AmeriCorps Program Officer, I learned that the Maine Conservation Corps does an awful lot of trail building and trail repair (including parts of the Maine Appalachian Trail) and that they do a great job of it.

Check out the MCC website here for further information.

Most of the MCC Field Team crew members are AmeriCorps volunteers and back in May 2009 when I was their AmeriCorps State Program Officer, I participated in their orientation, pretending to be a member (I TOOK THE AMERICORPS OATH TODAY tells the story), where I picked up the nickname of the “old guy” and then came back to speak at their end of season celebration, much like today’s celebration.

I kind of wished then that I had gone through with the Field Team experience instead of being the AmeriCorps Program Manager, I would have enjoyed it more, but that is another story 🙂

Today was the 2011 MCC Summer End of Season Celebration and their Director, Linda Shapleigh sent me an email and invited me to attend today.  I didn’t have to think twice, I wanted to go and when she was doing introductions I was introduced as the “old guy” by Linda and she gave a bit of the background on my nickname (while I was doing bat removal – a bat flew down and was roosting on a wall a little ways from one of the tables).

It was great seeing many of the people who I haven’t seen since 2009, when I went back to teaching and hearing the stories about what the teams accomplished, overhearing them talking about things that they had done over the summer and watching the friendships that had been made.  Most of them had not met each other before MCC orientation in May and yet by the second week of August, they had formed many friendships and made memories that will last a lifetime.

Maine Conservation Corps has one of those missions that I support fully.  It does a bunch of things:

  • the most obvious is the creation and maintenance of trails, many of which I have and will be using as my knee gets better.
  • being able to work as a member of a team,
  • while being able to work independently,
  • the value of hard physical labor (and the corresponding body shaping),
  • the ability to make it through some really difficult situations: rain, bugs, mud, heat, steep trails, being out in the wilderness

Members get to see the results of their labors, how much they have accomplished in a very short while and the knowledge that many people benefit from their hard work on the trails that they have built or repaired.

I salute each member of the Maine Conservation Corps who completed their term of service today and look forward to attending the November End of Season Celebration for the rest of this year’s MCC Field Teams.

Sometimes I really wonder what it would be like to do a term of service in a Maine Conservation Corps Field Team – maybe someday I will find out.

But until then here is to the Maine Conservation Corps for another season – complete.