This past week, Rhia, Nathan, and I, Bay Area-Houston Habitat for Humanity’s 3 resident AmeriCorps members, were shuttled off to the National Service Leadership Conference in Shocco Springs, Alabama. We spent our days discussing, brainstorming and learning; shifting from one classroom to the next to be taught a lesson in what it is to be an effective AmeriCorps member. It was quite the event, with over 600 service members and staff gathered together to share exciting new ventures their affiliates have taken on, or not so exciting struggles they have come up against in the months and weeks they have been in their positions. It was a long week, and we are still trying to digest all of the information (and all of the snacks they fed us! It was a non-stop smorgasbord of free chips and cookies…brainfood, as we liked to call it!) that was given to us by some of the best and brightest Habitat for Humanity International and National Service staff members.
While our days were filled with an overload of information, night was ours for the taking! The conference center accomodated many activities on site, such as indoor movies, outdoor campfires, rock-climbing, and ultimate frisbee, just to name a few. But the real action took place about 1 mile away from the conference center, at the Talladega Bowling Alley! The only happening place in the area open after 9 PM, the bowling alley offered us a haven of rest and relaxation from the day’s mentally exhausting class schedule. And after 9 PM, it was a definitely a site to see, as the majority of the Conference attendees gathered to eat, show off their bowling skills (or lack-there-of), and just “hang out”.
There is something to be said about a group of similarly minded individuals gathering together, whether it be to learn more about the things they deem important, or just to spend time with one another, talking and enjoying each other’s company. All AmeriCorps members share a common goal: to serve. To serve our communities; to serve our nation. No matter what the cause or the reason behind it, we feel compelled to make a difference in our lifetime. It is our privilege and honor to be a part of this program.
Overall, our trip has left us rejuvinated and excited, and ready to put what we’ve learned into action to help serve the families of the South East Harris and North Galveston Counties to the best of our abilities, to fulfill as many of their needs as we can.
Thank you to Shocco Springs Baptist Convention Center for hosting us and feeding us, to the Habitat for Humanity International and National Service employees who helped make this all happen, to Talladega Bowling Alley for offering us a place to get away from it all, and most importantly, to the amazing members of the Bay Area-Houston Affiliate, including its’ staff, volunteers, and partner families, for giving us a chance to make a difference, and for accepting and supporting us as we try to do just that.
Your Loving and Grateful AmeriCorps
Rhia, Nathan, and Jackie