Just over one year ago, Jade represented Groundwork Southcoast along with Jay by going on a trip to Yellowstone Park for a week. Trips like Yellowstone are one of the exciting things that Groundwork Southcoast can offer for teens from the region because we are apart of the larger Groundwork Network.
In her words, Jade reflects on her experience:
It was exciting to arrive in Yellowstone and meet a variety of over 30 people from all over the U.S. who are doing the same kind of work that we do on Green Team in the South Coast. I loved being in a welcoming atmosphere while meeting and bonding with people from other places to make a difference and learn new skills. We did a lot of off trail work, hauling tools up hills and mountains to cut, debark, and move wood to be used as “water logs” which were to help direct the flow of water in support of trail maintenance. We also dug out and dragged a bear box out of a camp site so it could be replaced with an updated version of a bear box along with repairing damaged stairs around the campground. It was hard work and I sweat a lot in the hot sun using muscles I didn’t know I had. Groundwork Southcoast and Groundwork Hudson Valley were assigned to work together. I liked that I got to bond with the people who were from the Bronx in New York while doing meaningful work that helped make a difference at Yellowstone.
Besides work, I also got to do educational and enjoyable things. One example is that I got to go to see Old Faithful which is a huge geyser or hot-spring that expels water. It was beautiful and fascinating to see a different kind of natural landscape which is so different in the west than here in the east and to learn about the fragile balance that exists in our ecosystems. Besides this, we also went and saw a grizzly bear and black wolf in the wild and got to learn a lot about how they are studying the animal behavior of the bears and wolves. The rangers shared with us some stories about what they had observed. It was fascinating to learn about how animal behavior is similar in a lot of ways to human behavior. The park rangers also took us to a viewing spot to see the full lunar eclipse.
Going on a trip like this helped me to have a new perspective to further develop my leadership skills. This helped me to build upon what I started in Green Team in the South Coast over the summer, but I was able to take it to the next level and in new hands-on ways. I had the opportunity to take the initiative to lead group activities and I also got to practice some skills that I think are really important to my leadership because it was such a diverse group of people. In particular, I got to practice: listening, observing, being open-minded, and engaging with others.
This trip was special to me because I have REALLY wanted to travel and be able to immerse myself in a completely different setting. The Groundwork Southcoast Trip made this possible. This kind of trip is special because it gives kids an opportunity they might not be able to have otherwise and helps to raise awareness and build skills in an enjoyable way.