The Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) is an AmeriCorps service program that develops skills and experiences for conservation professionals. LRCC members are the driving force behind the Squam Lakes Association’s conservation efforts. The program provides hands-on conservation work experience and numerous certifications over a broad range of areas, which ensures that LRCC members are capable of independently approaching a variety of tasks in the environmental conservation field. Members remove invasive species from the Squam watershed, manage and act as caretakers at our backcountry campsites, maintain the SLA’s 50+ miles of trails, educate the public on local and regional conservation initiatives, spearhead reports on conservation efforts, lead SLA volunteer crews and ensure the daily functioning of the Squam Lakes Association’s programs. Click here to learn more about the LRCC program.
March 2, 2018
With such a large space between journal entries it is easy to cherry pick the best moments of a month or a couple weeks and relate them to the SLA mission in a positive way. The ease of attaching great moments to the SLA’s mission is a good thing. It exemplifies that the work we do is directly related to the mission and that it shows that our work has great moments as any good work should. However, I don’t really believe that the best moments are a good example of why our work as AmeriCorps members is so important.
Many of our best moments come after overcoming a challenge, and our jobs as conservationists is to overcome those challenges. I would never want to diminish successfully conquering a difficult task, but I truly believe that it’s what you do to finally reach that success that matters. For instance say your goal is to make a great salad. You go to the store and you buy all the necessary ingredients and you make a salad that turns out delicious. You succeeded in your goal, but it wasn’t very difficult. Compare that to someone looking to make a great salad who grows their own vegetables and makes their own dressing. Even if it is the exact same salad, the journey to get the second is much more rewarding than the first. But then you have to take context into consideration. What if the person who made their own salad ingredients has lived a lavish life and was easily able to afford and maintain a nice garden, and the person who bought the ingredients from the store did so with their first paycheck after living on the streets for years? The more I think about these types of situations the more I realize that it’s the comparison itself is an issue. Both worked hard in different ways and both are happy with the outcome. The only possible way you could begin to understand something like this is through comparison.
So is comparison bad? Absolutely not. But, comparing yourself to others is bad. You should compare yourself to yourself. That’s the only way to really understand your limits. Constant success probably means that you’re likely not living up to your full potential. Constant failures probably mean that you aren’t learning or changing in any definable way. Failure that eventually becomes success is perfect. It means that you shot high, you missed, and you learned and grew enough from that failure to transform it into an eventual success. That right there is a great moment. At the point of failure you know your limit and can identify what needs to change in order to succeed. That’s my favorite type of moment.
You may be wondering how this relates to our work as AmeriCorps. It’s the journey. It’s everything that happened before the salad. As AmeriCorps members we have a goal, much like the salad maker. Our goal as members is the same: to “get things done for America”. But our paths are all different. Our experiences, even if they are the same, are all seen from a different perspective. It’s how we build ourselves and how we learn from our mistakes that form us into our ideal self, and AmeriCorps allows us to do that. It seems kind of selfish to say that my best moments are when I’m helping myself, but if I can’t figure out how to improve myself then there is no way I am going to be able to help someone else. That’s why AmeriCorps is so great. You can do both simultaneously. Compare that to any other job and ours is the best! Actually, don’t do that.
Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.
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