March 12th marked the beginning of AmeriCorps Service Week, a nation-wide event that serves as a celebration of the work AmeriCorps programs do all over the United States. Squam Lakes Association’s Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) AmeriCorps program is one of many programs serving communities and developing their leadership skills throughout their service term. Each year, AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn work skills, receive an education award, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.
Friday, March 16, was the culmination of the week with volunteer service sites all around the state of New Hampshire. SLA’s Lakes Region Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Program Manager, Katri Gurney, with assistance from Volunteer New Hampshire, coordinated service sites for AmeriCorps members in the Lakes Region. LRCC, Student Conservation Association (SCA), AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program members volunteered together at four different service sites.
One of the sites was at the annual M.J. LaFoley Memorial Ski Race, which took place at Cannon Mountain. This foundation provides opportunities to deserving students in New Hampshire to achieve educational or amateur athletic goals through special programs. Three members helped set up for the event, timed the ski racers, and supported the overall running of the day.
Four members had the opportunity to serve at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, a non-profit organization working to advance the understanding of New Hampshire’s ecology through education and science. These members assisted with animal care staff cleaning cages, and even (to their great delight) had the opportunity to hold the turkey vulture!
Other members served with the Plymouth Area Regional Energy Initiative (PAREI) at the Communities for Alcohol and Drug-Free Youth (CADY) headquarters in Plymouth, NH. PAREI, a local renewable energy non-profit encouraging energy efficiency practices in the Plymouth-area community, is collaborating with CADY, another mid-state non-profit working to promote healthy school environments by reducing alcohol and drug use, to prepare for a new net-zero energy project at the CADY facility.
Members also served at Pemi Bridge House, a local organization that provides emergency shelter and support for individuals and families. Here, our AmeriCorps team assisted with cleaning the interior of the shelter and interacted with the staff.
“It is amazing how much quality service they provide to the community,” said LRCC Program Manager, Katri Gurney. “Every service site was a remarkably rewarding experience for both the AmeriCorps volunteers, and hopefully for the organizations they worked with.”
In the afternoon, AmeriCorps members from across New Hampshire met up in Concord at the State House. Governor Chris Sununu talked about the merits of national service and led everyone in the AmeriCorps pledge. Lakes Region Conservation Corp member Meghan Christie spoke at the closing ceremony, and painted a picture about the importance of national service and the daily life of an LRCC member.
“This was a truly inspiring event to see what other programs are doing for their communities,” said Christie, “and to also celebrate our accomplishments together.”
The SLA is proud to be working with Volunteer New Hampshire, AmeriCorps, the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, and the Squam Lakes Conservation Society, partnering with our Lakes Region Conservation Corps members in service to America and helping us conserve the tremendous lands and water of the Lakes Region.
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 is based out of the Squam Lakes Association with host sites at the Squam Lakes Conservation Society and the Lakes Region Conservation Trust and 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. Click here to learn more about the program.