Member Blog – Scouting Out Emergency Preparedness

Post by Carolyn Meklenburg (Year 16 – Bourne House)

The 8th Annual Scout Emergency Preparedness Fair was a great success! On Saturday, January 10th, 2015, we had about 100 Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts come to the YMCA Cape Cod to learn about first aid and various emergency situations. Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod (ACC) members, Emily Meshumar and Carolyn Meklenburg, have their individual placement at the American Red Cross in Hyannis this year, and organized this popular event for the Cape’s scouts. All 32 ACC corps members helped with the event by running 15 of the 16 activities that helped the scouts to earn a first aid badge. A Red Cross volunteer, Roland Hatch, brought the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) for our final station—he has attended the event for the last five years, and loves seeing the excitement of the Scouts as they tour the ERV.

Carol and Em SF

This year, Emily and Carolyn were able to purchase American Red Cross promotional items through a grant provided by the Red Cross chapter to make giveaway bags for each scout. These bags included key chains, pens, and patches. For each activity that the scouts completed, they each received a different color bead to add to their key chain—by the end of the event, each scout had a colorful souvenir of what they had learned!

Schmander and Sasha Biking

Emily and Carolyn revamped many of the activities this year with the hopes of making each station as interactive as possible. For example, during the car and bike safety activity, members Amanda and Sasha (above) led the scouts on a virtual bike ride while quizzing them on their knowledge of road signs and hand signals.

Carl and JB SF

Yells could be heard from the serious bleeding activity, at which members Carly and JoBeth (above) pretended to be badly injured so the scouts could help to bandage them correctly.

Andy SF

While we unfortunately could not get a fire department to come to the fair due to a scheduling conflict, Andy , the ACC FireCorps member leader (above), was able to fill-in at the last minute to  give the scouts an engaging CPR demonstration. FireCorps member and Program Supervisor, Cody and Eric Lefevers (below), also brought in expired fire extinguishers to show the scouts what they are like.

FireCorps SF

We were fortunate to develop a relationship this year with the YMCA while planning our Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event. Our previous location fell through, but the YMCA was able to work with us on short notice. Various Stop and Shops across the Cape and Trader Joe’s in Hyannis were able to provide us with food for our snack break; the scouts enjoyed pretzels, granola bars, fruit leathers, and juice. The Green Lotus Café generously provided us with coffee for our AmeriCorps members and any accompanying parents and scout leaders, and  Cape Cod Bagel provided fifty bagels!

We would like to thank all of our sponsors and partners for the support, and the ACC members for engaging the scouts; we could not have done it without you!

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Member Blog – Secret Beach Stranding

Post by Matthew Rusnak (Year 16 – LeHac House)

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On one of the first days in the program a majority of members from the LeHac House decided that it would be a good idea to check out some of the area surrounding our newly adopted home. Little did we know the headache that would soon ensue.

As we drove down the road (in the wrong direction) it became apparent to us that there were no signs of any beaches, and after debating for a minute we decided to turn around and go back towards the way we came. We finally got to the sandy, ragged driveway that would be our enemy for the next several hours.

On the short drive to the beach parking area we encountered two other vehicles that were much more suited to the soft terrain than our Honda Civic, but nonetheless, we put the car in reverse and crawled to a spot in the road that was wide enough for the other cars to pass. The parking lot came into view and we were pleasantly surprised as to what we found – a beach all to ourselves with one car in the parking lot, but no one in sight.

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We hiked over the first dune and climbed over the second, and as all of us saw our first glimpse (and smelled our first whiff) of low tide in the bay we knew we were some place special. The sunset over the horizon was breathtaking and our excitement of things to come in the next year was palpable. After a few photos and much conversation we decided to head back to the house, which is when our real trouble began.

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We walked back to the cars and got in, and we watched the other car drive away at the same time we discovered that our car wouldn’t start. We chased after the car to stop, but to no avail, and as the last glimpse of the tail lights were lost to view we knew it was going to be a long evening. We had cell phones but no service and we had yet to exchange numbers with anyone in the house except Sebastian the house supervisor. We try to contact AAA, but we didn’t have any luck. We tried to get in contact with Sebastian, but, again, we didn’t have any luck. The sun had set below the horizon at this point, and the mosquitoes had acquired a taste for our blood, so we decided to wait in the car until help finally did arrive.

In the hours we had to bond, we reflected on our situation. We were lucky to have been left behind. We were lucky for this moment which was, unbeknownst to us, a catalyst for lasting relationships with complete strangers and beautiful Cape Cod.

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Member Blog – Paws-ing to Appreciate with Mission Wolf

Post by Amanda Carron (Year 16 – Bourne House)

Also seen in the Year 16 Fall/Winter 2014 Waypoint

On a weekend much like any other in the middle of October, a handful of AmeriCorps Cape Cod members from all three houses gained service hours, and learned about and met live wolves. Hosted by the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT), Mission Wolf is a travelling wolf show to educate the general public about the history, behavior, recovery, and mystery of wild wolves. Upon arriving at the Harwich Community Center, AmeriCorps members helped HCT by setting up chairs in the gymnasium as well as distributing informational sheets about upcoming HCT programs and directing audience members to their seats. After completing these tasks, members were asked to stay and enjoy the program.

JB Wolf Shot

To describe the experience in a word, it was breathtaking. The show started with Executive Director and Co-Founder Kent Weber and his wife Tracy explaining how Mission Wolf began. It was formed in 1988 with federal and state licenses to open the nonprofit in the Colorado Rockies. The sanctuary encompasses 50 acres that allow up to 40 rescued wolves and wolf-dog mixes to live out their natural lives. Every year, the Webers hit the road with “wolf ambassadors,” several wolves from the sanctuary, who provide people with a rare opportunity to see these magnificent animals up-close.

After thoroughly explaining the “education vs. extinction” ethic of Mission Wolf, Kent and Tracy brought in two wolves and one wolf-dog mix. Everyone held their breath as Maggie first strolled in, the strong female of the pack with a shockingly white fur coat and blazing yellow eyes. She was followed by Zaeb, the largest and youngest of the three with a primarily black coat, and Abraham, her wolf-dog mixed mate whose coat was a pleasant mix of tan, black, and white. The most memorable moment soon followed when the wolves, still leashed, walked around the members and volunteers sitting cross-legged on the floor of the gym. The wolves would then decide if they wanted to meet you by getting extremely close to your face and making point-blank eye contact. If you were lucky, they would give you some lovely wolf kisses. I was lucky enough to share a smooch with Maggie.

AmeriCorps Cape Cod Bourne member Dave Riddell staring down Zaeb as he casually pets his fur.

AmeriCorps Cape Cod Bourne member Dave Riddell staring down Zaeb as he casually pets his fur.

Not typically awake during the day, the wolves soon got over the excitement of seeing everyone and plopped down in the middle of the circle to rest as Kent continued to educate the audience about wolves. Kent ended the show with having the wolves howl alongside the audience members. As the howls echoed and dissipated, a roaring applause finished our time with the wolves. I walked away from Mission Wolf with a better understanding and respect of wild wolves, the memory of staring into bright yellow eyes, and a tye-dye Mission Wolf tee shirt.

Zaeb

 

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AmeriCorps Cape Cod Week RFP

AmeriCorps Cape Cod Week Request for Proposal (RFP) now open!

AmeriCorps Cape Cod Week, May 18-22, 2015, is an inaugural event that will provide a week of intensive service to a specific town on Cape Cod at a time of year when a wider variety of projects may be completed.

Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod builds on past success by focusing on member service, grant resources, leveraged community volunteers, and service partner agencies to collectively serve hundreds of hours in one Cape Cod town over the period of 5 days. This new week of service and volunteerism will be in addition to AmeriCorps Week (March 2015, dates TBA) and National Volunteer Week (April 13-17, 2015). 

Projects can range in size and scope. A regular schedule will be adhered to, meaning on Monday and Friday of this week in May, 32 members will be available for service, and 10 members will be available on Tuesday-Thursday. Members will report to their  Individual Placements as scheduled.

Based on proposals submitted, ACC will select organizations in one town to collaborate on service projects with a focus on natural resource management, disaster preparedness and response, and/or environmental education during this week-long celebration of Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod. 

Submit a proposal online, HERE!

Open application period will close on February 6, 2015

Contacts of chosen projects will be notified by February 23, 2015 

Contact Brittany Quaglieri (brittany.quaglieri@barnstablecounty.org) with questions.

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Member Blog – Eyes of the Beholder: A First Day Experience

Post by Kevin Richards (Year 16 – Bourne House)

Coming into my first day at National Marine Life Center (NMLC), it was safe to say I had some first day jitters, but felt extremely excited to delve right in. As first days go, I thought I was going to be stuck with obligatory paperwork/orientation/training/other tedious first day necessities; and I was mistaken. I met with my supervisor, Kate, and right away she brought me into the animal clinic where I met my very first seal, Scout.

Scout

Scout, cute as they come, is a 5 month old harbor seal that was rescued on October 10th from Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable by International Foundation of Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the poor guy had multiple lacerations located throughout his body.

I came into the clinic where the staff and volunteers were assessing Scout and testing him for various things. I was so excited I could barely take it; I couldn’t fathom the fact that I was actually in the same room with a wild seal! Then I had the luxury of carrying the smelly mammal back into the hospital so he could get his morning feed.

Kevin - Seal Nebulizer Treatment

I thought the fun would stop there and it would be back to the office for me, but again I was mistaken. Instead, I watched the staff and volunteers restrain Scout and tube him so he could get his ‘gruel’ (a combination of herring, electrolytes, and other vitamins and minerals), and for newbies like me it was a sight to see. Once Scout got his feed, it was then time to clean and sanitize his surroundings and other parts of the hospital – part of the regular morning chores here at NMLC. I didn’t mind scrubbing the floors since I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome this was and how exciting this service year will be.

I was then pulled aside to help feed/clean the tanks of the diamond back terrapins we have down by the office. Turtles I have seen and have always been fascinated with, but these sea turtles were extra fascinating. Just their colors, their shells, their adorable faces; I couldn’t get enough.

Kevin - Turtle Intake

What happened next put me over the edge with excitement, we got in another harbor seal! I got to witness the triage that takes place on a marine mammal when it first comes into the hospital. This new seal was named Kennedy and she was rescued on the 14th of October by the Sea Coast Science Center up in New Hampshire. I was trying to play it cool by not showing my ear-to-ear grin since everyone triaging was acting like it was just second nature. Once the excitement of a new animal coming to the hospital dwindled, it was back to the chores.

Kennedy

 

By this time it was almost 4 PM, and I thought I was going to just coast to closing time of 5 PM when I would then call everyone in my phone book to tell them how cool I was. But it was no coast. One of our freezers broke, and, of course, it was the freezer with all the herring. With all the highs of my first day obviously there had to be a low. The majority of the fish boxes had defrosted and leaked fish juice, so the volunteers and I had to hold our breath and plug our noses while transferring these fishy boxes to another freezer location. We were doused with all the fish juice and smelled horrible, but I just didn’t care – I was still on cloud nine! As first days go, this will go down in the books as number one.

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Join us at Cataumet Arts Center, Friday, Oct. 24, 5-8 pm

Together We Grow: 15 Years, 15 Towns, 15 Trees

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To celebrate AmeriCorps Cape Cod‘s fifteen years of service in Barnstable County, the exhibit will be on display from October 24 – November 9, 2014 at the Cataumet Arts Center, 76 Scraggy Neck Road, Cataumet Village in Bourne, MA.

The exhibit  “Together We Grow:  15 Years, 15 Towns, 15 Trees”, showcases a series of posters designed to commemorate a tree given by AmeriCorps Cape Cod to each of the 15 towns on the Cape.  The exhibit’s theme “Together We Grow” celebrates simultaneously AmeriCorps’ fifteen years of service on Cape Cod, the fifteen towns on the Cape that AmeriCorps members have partnered with, as well as the fifteen trees planted to highlight these partnerships and the environmental focus of the Cape Cod branch of AmeriCorps.

The public is warmly invited to meet and help welcome the newly arrived 2014-2015 season AmeriCorps members during the opening reception at the Cataumet Arts Center on Friday, October 24, from 5-8 pm. Enjoy viewing the commemorative tree posters over refreshments while informally talking with  new members and staff, and learning about how and why they chose to sign up with and serve in AmeriCorps Cape Cod. Also present at the reception will be AmeriCorps Cape Cod’s Executive Director Darlene Johnson Morris, Resource Development Officer Ashley Look, and members of the 2014-2015 staff.

Exhibit viewing hours in addition to the Friday October 24th evening reception are Saturdays, 10-5 and Sundays 1-5 through November 9.  Gallery admission is free and wheelchair accessible. For information or directions visit: www.cataumet-arts.org.

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AmeriCorps Celebrates 20 Years of Service

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In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act, creating AmeriCorps. Just one year later, on September 12, 1994, the first class of AmeriCorps members began their service in communities all over the country. Since that first day when 20,000 members took the pledge, AmeriCorps has expanded to meet the nation’s most critical needs. Today over 75,000 new members dedicate their lives to service every year.

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Exactly 20 years later, on Friday, September 12, 2014, Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod members and staff, joined by Barnstable County Commissioner Sheila Lyons, the Resource Development Office, and program alumni, met up with service and volunteer programs from across Massachusetts to celebrate this new milestone. The event was hosted by the Massachusetts Service Alliance at the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center at Tufts University in Medford, MA.

The audience heard from Congresswoman Katherine Clark; Mora Segal, C.E.O. of The Achievement Network (ANet) and daughter of Eli J. Segal; Alan Solomont, Tufts University alum and current Dean of the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at the university; and Keynote Speaker Robert L. Gordon, III, President of Be the Change, Inc.  As if hearing from all of those people was not inspirational enough, all the new AmeriCorps members participated in a simultaneous swearing-in ceremony with programs nationwide during a simulcast from Washington, D.C.

Opening Ceremony

The C.E.O. of The Corporation for National and Community Service, Wendy Spencer, led the AmeriCorps Pledge of Service, which was followed by speeches from former President Clinton and President Obama. President Clinton shared an anecdote about the pen he borrowed from Sargent Shriver, the first director of Peace Corps, to sign the National and Community Service Trust Act. This pen was the very same pen President John F. Kennedy used during the founding of Peace Corps in 1961. 

SpencerPledge

Please enjoy this video from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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Year 16 Members Have Arrived!

Year 16 Members on their first day of the new corps year.

Year 16 Members on their first day of the new corps year.

The staff welcomed 29 new members and 3 returning members to the Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod family for our 16th corps year  yesterday, September 8, 2014. Handbooks were discussed, forms were signed, and A’s were donned at the Craigville Conference Center in Centerville. Welcome to the team, everyone!

Learn more about our new corps, HERE.

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15th Anniversary Event & Graduation

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The last picture together! (Year 15)

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Veteran/visiting and seasoned staff of AmeriCorps Cape Cod – these are some of the “gears” that turn the machine!

What a whirlwind it’s been for AmeriCorps Cape Cod these past few weeks! We had to say goodbye to Year 15, and welcome back alumni from year’s past to celebrate 15 years of service on Cape Cod. There is certainly more to be said, but for now let us just say “THANK YOU!” We cannot express the totality of our gratitude for all the alumni, service partners, sponsors, and supporters. Stay tuned for more information about our 15th Anniversary celebration!

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15th Anniversary Event – Join Us!

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Can you believe it’s been 15 years since AmeriCorps Cape Cod began serving Barnstable County? Have you RSVP’d for the celebration? If not, please visit our Facebook page OR contact our office directly!

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