Barnstable County AmeriCorps Cape Cod members are divided between three residences. The Bourne House and the Wellfleet House each accommodate 13 members and a Program Supervisor, comprising the general Corps. The AmeriCorps Cape Cod Fire Corps is made of up of 6 members and a program supervisor who reside in another house in Wellfleet. The experience of a General Corps member and a FireCorps member are quite different and are explained is separate sections below.
Below is a chart diagramming the structure of a typical week for a General Corps member. Following are definitions of the three primary programmatic elements that each member engages in throughout the week. A similar explanation of the experience of a Fire Corps member can be found below. Following is an explanation of the role of ACC’s member leaders, both residentially and during service.
For the General Corps, Group Service projects involve serving alongside you housemates and often with members from another residence to meet the needs of a Service Partner organization. Typically, these projects are focused on land management activities (such a removal of invasive plant species), aquaculture (assisting municipal shellfish departments with propagation and harvest of shellfish), or environmental education (teaching elementary and middle school students about water conservation). For more information on our focus areas or for more examples of group projects click here.
The Individual Placement program places General Corps members with a specific Service Partner organization two days per week for the entirety of the program. Each member is assigned a placement based on the needs of the partner organization and the member’s background and interests. The list of Individual Placements varies each year based on community needs and includes a wide range of municipal and county agencies and nonprofits that work within one of ACC’s four focus areas (for more information on the Individual Placement program click here).
Community Outreach and Development Day (COD Day)
Throughout the year, four General Corps members will receive individual placements in ACC’s offices at the Barnstable County Complex, known as the COD placements. Other members will join them on Thursdays for a COD Group Service Day. The core focus of the COD Day program is to enable members to plan and organize ACC’s signature volunteer recruitment events (for more on our signature events click here); however, members are also afforded the opportunity to design projects of their own, implement environmental education lessons in local schools, and complete small service projects in-the-field. For members interested in initiating more significant projects or programs, the officers of the Barnstable County Resource Development Office provide invaluable guidance, support, and technical assistance in program design and implementation and grant writing and management (for more information on the Resource Development Office click here).
A FireCorps member’s average day differs greatly from that of a General Corps member. The FireCorps serves 5 days a week with the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Fire Management Office. These service projects primarily relate to the focus areas of natural resource management and disaster preparedness and response.
There are 3 primary land resource management and disaster preparedness activities that the FireCorps completes:
Prescribed Burning (April – July)
The Spring and Summer portion of the FireCorps’ service year is dedicated to prescribed burning in order to restore heathland habitat and to mitigate severe wildfire risk.
Cut/Pile/Burn Projects (Late January – March)
The FireCorps’ winter is almost completely dedicated these projects. Using chainsaws, members remove trees, subsequently piling and burning in order to reduce fuel loads and to restore habitat to rare and endangered species.
Chainsaw Clearing (September – Late November)
The Cape Cod National Seashore is restoring coastal heathland habitat that is home to many unique species. Members clear land in order to restore this native habitat to the Cape Cod landscape.
During the months of November, December and January the FireCorps leaves their placement with the Cape Cod National Seashore to broaden their service horizons. Members have the opportunity to serve with organizations throughout Cape Cod, to explore their own interests, and to take initiative in creating their own projects. Examples of previous Winter Outreach projects include: inventorying wildland fire engines for the state of Massachusetts, mapping trail heads and trails, creating fire roads in state forests, maintaining watershed land, developing training materials such as fire safety videos, and preparing land for future prescribed fires.