The Student Conservation Association's Online Community
Well, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service was a great opportunity, both personally and professionally! Met some cool folks, heard some great speakers, and went to some interesting and informative workshop sessions, AND talked up SCA!
It was my first time exhibiting for SCA and a great chance to share my story of how I connected with SCA. The following is a little longer version of what I told people at the conference. If you're up for a good story, read on!
I found SCA back in 2005 when I was looking for a way to work in Alaska for the summer. My family had already gone on vacation there a few years before, and I REALLY wanted to go back. That summer I didn't get chosen for any of the positions in Alaska, but I did get one in Colorado (Curecanti National Recreation Area). My supervisor there was great! She mentored me and guided me into my current career path. At that time I was earning undergrad degrees in International Relations and German from Michigan State, but my SCA internships all ended up being in Interpretation and Environmental Education, so I credit the work experiences I had with SCA for changing my career focus to Education/Environmental Education.
The next summer, 2006, I applied to SCA again and this time got a position in Alaska (Denali National Park), which I LOVED. I was sad to leave, but excited to go on my next adventure - Peace Corps. I served 2 years, 2 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, where I taught English at my village school and at a university in the city. When I came back, I knew that SCA would be a good way to transition back to life in the US and prepare me to be more competitive for the grad school programs I was applying for.
While waiting to hear back from grad schools, I did two SCA internships in 2009, at Pinnacles National Monument in California and Lake Metigoshe State Park in North Dakota. Then I got into a graduate school program at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point that fall. For two years I worked as a graduate assistant at Conserve School in Land O' Lakes, WI and took online classes towards a MS in Natural Resources - Environmental Education. I graduated from UWSP about a year ago, and about two months ago I was offered the position as the Great Lakes Regional Recruiter with SCA.
So, it's been about 7 years since I first became involved with SCA, and I am very happy to be working for and continuing to support an organization that played a huge, positive role in my life and literally changed the course of my career.
I'd love to hear your stories and how you became involved in SCA! You can post to my blog, send me a message on my wall, or maybe even start your own blog if you're currently serving in the field!
Take care and stay cool this summer...it's been a scorcher here in the Chicago/Milwaukee area!