Thursday, August 24, 2017

Preparing to Serve on AmeriCorps's Conservation Corps

Two Tuesdays ago, the 15th, I spent another evening job hunting. This time, I came across a really cool 3-month AmeriCorps position on to serve on ACE's Conservation Corps in Arizona. The position is based in Flagstaff, AZ, but corps members travel around the state and the southwest region in teams of eight for 8-9 consecutive days (camping) to complete conservation projects (trail construction/maintenance, invasive species removal, fencing, and habitat restoration).

This description got me really excited, so I spent most of the day last Wednesday putting together my resume and cover letter, plus getting a hold of three references. Then I sent in my application.

On Friday (18th) I received an email asking if I was available for a Skype interview the next day, Saturday. I was, and interviewed at 6 p.m. Then this Tuesday afternoon I got a call from ACE and was offered a spot to serve on the corps. (I accepted!)

It's been a whirlwind since then, because I start on August 31, which is ohsosoon and there's all sorts of gear to get (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, leather boots, work pants, rain pants) and things to take care of before then (health insurance, fingerprinting/background checks, etc.). A lot has happened in the past two days alone, so I'm going to keep updating here as the week goes on, to track my progress of preparing for this next adventure.

Tuesday, August 22

+ Receive call with offer in the afternoon. Accept!
+ Cancel October PT appointment since I won't be in the state.

Wednesday, August 23

4pm - Got hair cut; touched up quotes on my train (I'll be gone when it's auctioned off)
6pm - Received packing list and arrival details via email. During the evening I:
+ Booked flight from Chicago to Phoenix
+ Bought bus ticket (Madison - Chicago)
+ Bought shuttle ticket (Phoenix - Flagstaff)
+ Searched Craigslist for backpacks, sleeping bags, and other gear. Emailed two people about backpacks.
+ Ordered replacement social security card online

Thursday, August 24

+ Ordered a headlamp on Amazon
+ Was on hold for over 30 minutes; found out Badgercare will not cover me out-of-state, but also that serving on AmeriCorps does not count towards your income, so I can still stay on Badgercare while I'm gone.
+ Talked with social security rep and found out it can take up to 2 weeks for online requests to be completed; she said it would take 3-5 days if you apply in person.
+ Made plans to meet Craigslist backpack person tonight.
+ Got cash at bank.
+ Went to the Social Security Administration office in Madison to request a replacement card.
+ Bought insurance through Volunteer Card
+ Bought a 4L DromLite bag on Amazon for water
+ Met with woman from Craigslist for backpack, got it!
+ Emailed guy from Craigslist selling sleeping bag

Friday, August 25

+ Met sleeping bag Craigslist guy (from Arizona!) in Madison and buy the bag
+ Stopped by Farm and Fleet on the way home; no luck
+ Swung by Gander Mountain's store closing—bought leather work/hiking boots

Saturday, August 26

+ Went to Target and bought baby wipes, watch with alarm, lunchbox
+ Went to Cabela's and bought sleeping bag pad, 1 pair wool socks, sleeping bag liner, and rain pants
+ Drove to Duluth Trading Company in Mount Horeb to get work pants; no luck
+ Tried Menards; no luck
+ Check out St. Vinnies—luck! Find a pair of Duluth Trading Company work pants for $8
+ Stop by Goodwill on the way home—more luck! Find two pairs of Duluth Trading Company pants in my size for $8 each.

Monday, August 28

+ Print some necessary documents
+ Em helps me adjust my new backpack correctly, and gives me her old fleece, yoga pants, and sun hat—which will all come with me to AZ!

Tuesday, August 29

+ Social security card arrived in the mail
+ Email ACE because I haven't received fingerprinting docs in the mail yet...

Wednesday, August 30

+ Packed suitcase to the 50lb limit and Tom Bihn backpack as carry-on
+ Print boarding pass and shuttle confirmation
+ Fingerprinting info arrived in the mail around 2 p.m.
+ Got prints taken at local police department at 3 p.m.
+ Return library books
+ Set cell phone to autopay
+ Talked with ACE Coordinator and made appointment in Flagstaff, AZ to take digital fingerprints on Sept. 5, since there won't be time to do it here as I leave tomorrow !

Here we go!
• • •


  1. How was your experience with AmeriCorps? Have you stopped blogging?

    1. Pardon the delayed response -- my experience with my first AmeriCorps conservation corps gig (ACE in Arizona) was so excellent that I went on to serve on another conservation corps this summer and fall: RMYC - Rocky Mountain Youth Corps based in Steamboat Springs, CO. You can read more about my time with ACE here.