- Andy Clubb

The advantage to having twelve Second Years is self-evident: a large body of experience, a plethora of knowledge with a developed skill set... and ready to serve.

This advantage was on full demonstration in South Carolina for Year 25's first disaster deployment. The team was composed of Kim, Jason, Alex and myself--all Second Years. Our purpose there was to cleanup the Crisis Cleanup database, get it up to date and integrate our efforts with A-DRT operations; afterwards, we'd train an incoming team on the entire process. The four of us worked extensively with Crisis Cleanup during Year 24's response to Hurricane Irma in Florida, so we were the self-labelled (or, as I called it at least) "Dream Team" for this assignment.

Like you'd imagine, the experience showed during our 12-day deployment. Despite the logic, it kind of felt unreal to be considered an "expert" in the room, others acting like we're wizards with magic skills or something. The fact, though, was that the system developed in Florida was a big hit to our partners in South Carolina. Our first day in Columbia reports were being handed out, cases updated, operations integrated: we hit the ground running, knowing where to head and how to get there. Happy to serve, we got things done.

I saw the advantage firsthand while watching a teammate present their slide. As they presented, a grin steadily expanded upon my face. I couldn't contain it! I was so impressed by the practical knowledge being dropped: so succinct, so smooth, and regarding some pretty intermediate stuff too; it was readily pouring out, start-to-finish. Phenomenal stuff, truly it was.

And, it can be a phenomenal year too. There is a lot of opportunity and promise for having so many Second Years on board. In camaraderie and partnership with the First Years, we can better serve the communities our program effects with our collective knowledge and various skills. I've got full faith in the capabilities of Year 25, especially after this first deployment. Our civic service out of St. Louis continues, but this time with a notable advantage…