Things to Consider
AmeriCorps Members are most successful when they have had the opportunity to explore their motives and learn the facts before they commit to a year of personal and professional growth, challenge, and opportunity.
On this page, our members have expressed what they think you need to know if you are interested in being a part of Intermountain.
- An AmeriCorps term is quite a commitment! To earn 1700 hours, you need to invest at least 8 hours per day and may need to accumulate extra service hours outside of your regular service site. For those placed in schools, you will need to serve during school breaks. Occasionally, you are required to volunteer your time on weekends.
- A position can usually not be re-filled if a member does not finish his or her year. The site loses the support of an AmeriCorps member for the rest of the year.
- All Intermountain AmeriCorps members must travel to a central location (usually Wenatchee) quite often for full-day meetings on Fridays. Meetings are held 1-2 times per month. Depending upon where you are placed, you might have to travel up to two hours to attend these meetings.
- AmeriCorps members must live on a limited income.
Skills and Qualities
- Our members say that organizational skills are important for AmeriCorps members, and that if they don't have them at the beginning of the year, they will by the end!
- There is daily paperwork connected with our project that measures the impact of the work you do.
- You will be responsible for compiling information using specific evaluation tools with students or clients and staff. You will be asked to write monthly reflections of your experiences.
- AmeriCorps members have found that they must be flexible in the time they invest in their service. One service day may be seven hours long, and the next might be nine.
- Strong interpersonal skills are very important! Regardless of the team you choose, you will often work together with a group of AmeriCorps members, teams of teachers, or community groups. You will have the opportunity to work with many different personalities, styles, and philosophies. Being able to learn and grow from these types of experiences is important.
- Basic computer skills are necessary to complete timesheets, reports, and communicate with the team via email.
- Finally, past members say the ideal member possess or is willing to work towards these qualities:
Dedicated to youth or families in need
Understands the concept of "service"
Strong work ethic
Open to new experiences
Sense of humor
Tolerant of bureaucracy
Understands the importance of paperwork
Compassionate and understanding
- At your site you need to be able to "go with the flow:" handle stress, fast-paced work, and changes in direction-- all the aspects that go along with developing and implementing an innovative project.
- As an AmeriCorps member, you will have incredible enthusiasm and ideas, and will be placed within a site setting where systems, protocol, and values sometimes differ from what you envision. Sometimes, members feel frustrated that they cannot change the academic or social climate of the site. Being able to approach such situations constructively is important.
- Our members feel that they often make personal sacrifices for the improvement of the site they serve. They don't earn much of a living allowance, and people may expect them to go "above and beyond." On the other hand, sometimes members sense apathy from site staff who don't seem to know or care why they're there. Being able to maintain positive enthusiasm while not overburdening yourself is important.
- Many of our sites are located in rural towns (with the exception of positions in Wenatchee). There are bus lines between a few communities, but services are minimal. Members have appreciated the rugged beauty of our communities, and many have become a part of their small service community, but some find it slow and boring.
Your Knowledge of Intermountain AmeriCorps
- Members sometimes wish they had reviewed the individual position descriptions more closely before choosing a specific placement.
- We hope that our members will be highly visible in the community to "sell" the whole volunteering concept and build sustainability of their effort in the community, so the community can continue to provide services when the member is gone. This might include attending community meetings, being active in community events, and submitting regular publicity of your AmeriCorps efforts.