House Inspections / SOS

I cleaned my side of the room tonight and helped clean up the house a bit-- we have house inspections at 7 am! Wahoo!

I'm exhausted and I'm looking forward to getting some sleep next week before the Summer of Service (SOS) participants arrive at our site to kick off the program. We have preparation to take care of through next Sunday and I think I'm going to spend my 4th of July doing some independent service project (ISP) work. AmeriCorps requires that 80 of my 1700 hours be completed in projects outside our regular work schedule. That is, projects we set up as corps members. There are guidelines we must follow in seeking out service opportunities and each project must be approved. These are great opportunities to get out and try work we may not have access to otherwise AND in order to deployed on any disaster response we need to be up to par. And I'm not.

In order to be deployed on wildland fire response, trained AmeriCorps members must be up to speed-- or above-- the minimum required hours at this point (the minimum of ISP hours is set at 50 right now). We were told today that all NCCC members need to be "fire ready" as the national preparedness level has been raised from a level 3 to level 4. All of NCCC deployment assignments come from headquarters in Boise, ID and filter down through the agencies we partner with. There is high possibility some of our members will be deployed within the next couple weeks.

And.... drumroll..... NOT ME! While participating in the Summer of Service program in New Orleans, LA, I am automatically exempt from any firefighting opportunities that arise. The SOS program is a 4 week intensive project, with 2 weeks of training and setup and a week to get everything back in place afterward. So, the soonest I could be deployed would be August 11, and only if I pick up more ISP hours.

In other news, everything is in order and we are taking off for our road trip to New Orleans on Saturday morning! We will be traveling in caravan style-- 31 people, 9 or 10 vans, all in order. Because of the way funds work we will all be eating and lodging together so traveling ahead and behind each other is not an option. We must stick together the entire time. Oh, 10 vans for 10 crews-- there are 100 SOS youth participants (plus the 30 crew leaders) divided into 10 teams and we need transportation for all.

Today we had crew leaders from last year speak to us about their experiences in SOS (just so happens all three were also fire fighters and were deployed on fire directly following the summer program), and one young woman said in ONE WEEK of SOS she work 118 hours. In attempts to lighten the load and relieve some stress, the staff have given each team 3 crew leaders instead of 2, and hopefully with the rotation of work schedules we will get a little more time off.

A rough version of our daily schedule:

6 - 7:00 AM -- Mandatory Physical Training (5 days per week)
7 - 8:30 AM -- Showers & Breakfast
8:30 - 5:30 -- Work @ Project Sites (plus lunch break)
5:30 - 6:30 -- Dinner
6:30 - 8:30 -- Night Activities/Classes
8:30 - 9 PM -- Snack
9 - 9:45 PM -- Free Time
9:45 - 10 -- Room Inspections
10:00 -- LIGHTS OUT!

10:00 PM onward: Meetings, Duty (making rounds, checking rooms), paperwork, etc.

This is a residential program. We will be living in dorms with the participants 24/7. There is one weekend they are allowed to go home if they choose, but all other weekends activities are planned and we will be expected to keep them busy and having fun. I'm excited.

PS. I picked up a random book from a book store, titled Monique and the Mango Rains. It's a story about a peace corps volunteer who spends two years in Mali with a midwife. Oh man, what a great read. I couldn't put it down and stayed up late to finish the same day I started.

And I figured out the plan of action for my return home to Utah this winter. 3 more years of school. Sigh. And hopefully another stint of AmeriCorps while I'm there, but with a STATE or VISTA program so I can stay in one location.

Comments

  1. Did you know that Kylie is fighting fires? She is in California right now. Wouldn't that be weird if you did go to do fires and you ran into her?

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  2. Hi Mandi, it is great to read about your exciting adventures. I admire your dedication to service and helping others. You are a great example for all of us. I can't wait to see you and hear your stories firsthand.
    Lots of love, Aunt Ronda

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