When asked to create a blog post, I almost had a heart attack! If there is one thing you need to know about Marcus it would be, Marcus does not like to wright (write)... Good thing my outstanding bosses have only asked me to create one or two. Given that, I will overcome and conquer my fear of writing and put down a few words.
When contemplating service with a conservation corps you need to ask yourself, why? If you are considering doing it solely for the stipend check, you might want to think deeper and longer. There has to be more to it or you will not last long. Understanding the mission and fostering a deeper love for the sustained outcome of the experience will get you through the trying times. Throughout my 13 years of service and multiple deployments with the Colorado Army National Guard I was able to see the bigger picture. How dedication, devotion and a calling can change you.
Now that all that is out of the way let’s talk about the Army Values and how these 7 principals can change a city, county, state, country and you.
You have to bring loyalty to the table. We have to be loyal to the world we live in. We only have one and if we do not sustain it, the damage can be irreversible. Understand that I am not asking you go to extreme ends but to be loyal to the idea that we need to conserve through conservation.
Duty in the Army means to fulfill an obligation. We at the WCCC do education awards through the AmeriCorps program. To gain the education award you have to fulfill a term of service. You sign a document stating that you will complete so many hours of service, but all too often members fold and quit. Can you dig deep and push on when the times are hard because you said you would?
At a basic level you will need to have respect. Respect for the conservation corps, staff, crew leaders, crew members, equipment, project partners, and the environment of which we strive to conserve. You will be on a crew with members who come from many different backgrounds. If we hold true to the ideals of conservation we can overcome simple personal differences.
When performing conservation service you are performing a selfless act of service. Selfless service is putting the needs of something else over the needs and comfort of yourself. There is no amount of money that can be placed on the work we do. You are working in the environment to sustain it for all time to come and the life forms that rely on the environment.
Honor the environment by holding it with high respect. Treat it right and it will be good you. Put thought into your actions. Care for it as you would a highly prized possession. Something as simple as recycling goes a long way.
Have integrity by doing the right thing. A task is much easier when there are many hands to make light work. Pull your weight within the crew and do your part to sustain earth’s longevity in all actions, including personal actions. Don’t dump your trash in the desert just because you can. Don’t take your TV to the shooting range. Don’t dump your car oil down the drain. Know the disposal protocols for electronic devices. Let going the extra mile to do the right thing become a way of life. At first, change never becomes easy, but over time becomes second nature.
Practice personal courage by standing up and doing what is right. Face your fear of hard work or uncertainty of trying something new. Embrace the call to the wild and learn how to operate in an environment without electronic devices. Push yourself both physical and mentally to achieve a goal for the greater good. Just remember the environment does not owe you anything. It can get by without you but you cannot survive without a good environment.
Wrapping up, I want you to understand a few things. First, I hope no one sees this as degrading the Army Values. I respect them and hold them with the highest esteem to the level of applying them to everyday life and attempting to share them. Second, I am not a tree hugger or activist. I am an avid hunter, fisherman, fire burning, truck driving, Dr. Pepper drinking, former oil field, combat veteran, environmental protecting, red blooded American, just trying to do my part to create a better environment for all generations to come.
Western Colorado Conservation Corps