by: Chris Stauffer We have come full circle. Today as we were driving out of our campsite I realized why the area seemed familiar: the campground was the final mile of Quest for my team. Fond memories ensued after that epiphany and the good times carried on throughout the day. There was one point that we had to hike out of the woods to avoid a thunderstorm and we managed to do so without getting so much as a drop on us. Don’t worry, Mother Nature made sure we got our dues. After returning to work on the trail for the remainder of the day we were caught in a sudden downpour. All of us were soaked through in a matter of seconds because of the surprise attack. Most of the trail before our maintenance site turned into a moat to complicate our return, but we overcame the obstacle with ease.
That seems to always be the end of our stories with AmeriCorps: we overcame. There are always unexpected obstacles and detours, but in the end the Emergency Response Team finds a way to get things done. Many of us entered these woods long ago with little knowledge of the service that was expected of us and we are all emerging as experienced leaders in the field of nature conservation. While I was not among those sent off on disaster relief, I feel that the spontaneity of our program has armed each and every one of us with problem solving skills that will make the transition to that profession, or really any career choice, that much easier.
We started this year together and we will end it the same way--there are not many jobs that can claim that sort of retention. I feel like that is what made this year such an amazing experience. Through thick and thin we stuck together and that camaraderie, I believe, is what drives AmeriCorps St. Louis to success. Thank you one and all for the memories. We came, we saw, we conquered... we overcame.