Return to Denver: Calling All AmeriCorps*NCCC Class IX Alums!
Today’s guest post comes from Rebecca Pizzitola, an AmeriCorps Alum, event manager and writer based in Los Angeles. She has been an avid volunteer since middle school, and has continued her passion since serving with AmeriCorps*NCCC in 2003 to advance health policy and improve fundraising efforts for charities. When she’s not working or volunteering, she is running, doing power yoga, or Yelping.
In 2003, 300 humanitarians traveled to Denver, Colorado to start in what would become what many have called the “best year of their life.” The beginning was rough, as teams were made and then broken, team leaders trading team members like playing cards. During several hours of training and plates of mediocre campus food, we pondered our fate, mentally preparing ourselves for working, playing and living in tight quarters with nine seeming strangers with little more than a backpack of belongings and earnings of about $1.70/hour.
After a week or two in Denver, most of us left with our teams on our first assignment, headed somewhere within a 17-state radius of the Mile High City. With every awkward meal, shared hotel bed and additional hour on the highway traveling to do anything from cutting down trees to prevent non-native species from taking over America’s prairies… and fighting forest fires alongside FEMA to teaching math in inner city schools… and rebuilding houses during one of Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builder Blitz programs, we grew closer.
We went through a roller coaster of emotions. Starting with an infatuation with the idea of joining a program that would help us make the world a better place—and perhaps escape our parents or familiarity, we journeyed through the power struggles of butting heads with folks from all corners of the U.S., faces we saw from the very moment we woke in our rooms of five bunk beds to the moment we slept after a long day’s work, dinner and play alongside our omnipresent bunkmates.
Eventually finding our place in a world now all AmeriCorps, we firmed up body and mind, expanding our understanding of ourselves and others, and came out the other end with at least nine best friends—but likely more from those first days, the middle days, and the last days on campus. All of us were hesitant to leave Denver upon graduation; in fact, many stayed on another year as team leaders or stayed back to become residents of the city.
To this day, many of us consider our time in AmeriCorps irreplaceable. And, many of us have continued our service by becoming leaders in the educational system or working outside of our jobs to share our wealth and time for a variety of causes. In an effort to relive the best year of our life and catch up on the tales we all have to tell, let’s return to Denver this coming June 21-23, 2013 for our ten-year reunion! More information will be posted on our event Facebook page as the event draws near. Click here to register and share the event with your fellow AmeriCorps NCCC Class IX team members.
Are you an Alum looking to reconnect with members from your service year? Register at www.americorpsalums.org to find your teammates and alumni of your AmeriCorps program!
If you have also have a team reunion coming up and want AmeriCorps Alums to help spread the word, please share with us in the comments below!