Click HERE to our registration form!
For more information, click HERE for a brief PSA about the event.
Interested in living and serving on Cape Cod for a year? Want to learn about yourself and others in a profound way all while gaining knowledge and experience? Feel like affecting a community in need and protecting the environment?
Post by Jairus Burdick (Year 15 – Bourne House)
Working outdoors is one of the best aspects of being a member of AmeriCorps Cape Cod, but sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle as well. New England is capable of throwing nasty weather at us, including blizzards, freezing rain and whipping winds, and when these days occur consecutively, it comes naturally to hope for a day indoors. WetFest, a day-long education festival designed to teach students at local schools about water and what it means to be a “Groundwater Guardian,” provides us a day of warmth when winter comes howling.
Beginning and ending with a short sketch involving a wizard, a talking lobster and a particularly rude dude, these endeavors are centered on education for fourth to sixth graders. The goal is to have children leave with a basic understanding of some important issues pertaining to water, and the necessity to conserve it. One booth engages students by having them toss bean bags (labeled with different forms of water, i.e. sleet, vapor, rain) into bins labeled with the three states of matter, while another booth dives into the complexity of artesian wells and the water table. The fan favorite is undoubtedly “Edible Aquifer” which teaches students about where clean water comes from by having them construct their own model aquifer from soda, sprinkles and ice cream (you can imagine their excitement). For approximately five minutes, small groups of students attend each of our 20 booths, learning about topics ranging from dissolved oxygen to the problems with pollution. By the end, they have attained a wealth of knowledge and advice, and we put them to the test! “We need to hear some of the things you learned today,” says our WetFest Coordinator, Jen. Although the answers are often muddled with “umms” and “uhhs” they inevitably come forth to share what they’ve learned.
The students are able to interact with knowledgeable college graduates to ensure they are being taught accurate information, but instead of feeling like they are at sixth period, they get a festival atmosphere. It shines a light on AmeriCorps’s ability to create win-win situations for all involved, from the top to the bottom. Teachers are given a chance to allow others to do the teaching, AmeriCorps members gain valuable childhood education experience (and can stay warm), and the children acquire important information that benefits future generations. By the time we have left the schools, we have made an impact that could spread to many others. “My mom never turns off the faucet when she brushes her teeth, but now I’ll tell her she’s supposed to,” a child once said after leaving the Tooth Booth. While the effect cannot be quantitatively measured, it can be felt by any who attend. WetFest makes a difference, and if you do not believe that, perhaps you should come to one!
Post by Andrew Bagnara (Year 15 – LeHac House)
My name is Andrew and I am one of the 13 AmeriCorps members living in what is called the LeHac House in Wellfleet. In AmeriCorps Cape Cod’s 15 years of existence, I am sure that our house has proved to be just as crazy, fun, and downright hilarious as the other years. Seriously, living with these people has been one of my favorite aspects of AmeriCorps. I remember moving-in back in September thinking this was going to be a fun year. I never thought though that we would have such great friendships this early on in the service year. Everybody brings something different to the house dynamic to keep us far away from reaching the mundane. One of the things I always find myself laughing about is the multiple alarms we wake up to in our room. Somebody will have heavy metal, somebody else will have the Top Gun theme song, and somebody else will have the Circle of Life. Another thing I like is how the kitchen, not the living or family rooms, is our place to have conversations. Everybody just gravitates towards food which means if somebody is making a big meal, at least 5 other people will be there; it’s pretty funny. One last thing would simply be our ability to get along so well. Our house is fueled by jokes and pranks. It is really hard to go more than 10 minutes in LeHac without bursting out laughing. We have our differences and own personalities, but we ALL agree that we need laughter in our house daily. I look forward to the rest of the year, and I am proud to call these people my friends and family of Cape Cod.
Post by Jairus Burdick (Year 15 – Bourne House)
One of the reasons many young people elect to compete for a spot with AmeriCorps Cape Cod is the residential aspect of the program. Living in a house with likeminded people is attractive to those who are seeking not only to serve their country for a year, but also to build long term relationships with those they will be working with. Especially because of the diminished population Cape Cod experiences in its off-months, it is safe to bet that people in this program get to know each other quite well. With this in mind, it is understood that a small community will come to form in only a few weeks. Some people begin what will be long lasting friendships and others stumble upon more intimate bonds. Whichever form they take, our relationships become a web that is a microcosm of AmeriCorps.
These connections are easy to see and sometimes even to predict. However, there are other relationships that are potentially more important to our professional lives. With a limited amount of service projects available (especially in winter), AmeriCorps group service days often occur with the same partners multiple times. The first time we met one of our partners, Alex, he provided us with training in trail maintenance. Little did we know that this type of work would make up a significant portion of our group service days. Now, after the third project with this particular service partner, we have learned much more about him, including his academic endeavors, career interests, and even a past that includes serving with another AmeriCorps program. When asked if his experience with AmeriCorps had provided him any benefit when searching for a job, he revealed that he felt it had led him directly to his current job working with The 300 Committee of Falmouth. This is a concrete example of how our community has been strengthened by our program. From full time volunteer to employee, Alex has helped us bridge a wide gap. As a member of both the professional community and now ours (from multiple dealings), he brings us all closer together.
In a role that so often allows us to see the tangible fruits of our labor, we can sometimes forget to look at the abstract benefits of our year of service. Yes, seeing piles of invasive Bittersweet that has been eradicated is a pleasant sight, but looking a step deeper is something we must remember to do from time to time. Any steps that bring us closer to the community we serve should be valued and appreciated; after all, every member pledges to “bring Americans together to strengthen our communities,” when they are initiated into the program.
Our event could not have achieved the measure of success it did without the many artists who donated their talent and time, the countless businesses who pledged their services to help fund our raffle, and the community at large for supporting us! The money raised will enable us to plan and execute more engaging projects.
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Still interested in submitting something to our essay contest or Art Expo? Great!
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AmeriCorps Cape Cod presents our MLK Day of Service:
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