Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I checked in with Coral Thede (pronounced TAY-DEE) to see how things are going down in Gillette, WY.  She is serving with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming.  Coral is finishing her service in January and we are excited to see what great things she will do next!  

Get To Know Your VISTA

Who: Coral (like the reef)
Where: Gillette, Wyoming
Age: 310 months
Originally From: Is this Heaven?    ..........No, it’s I O W A!
College: University of Northern Iowa Major: Communication Studies Minor: Spanish
Hobbies: Playing my guitar, bonfires, road trips, snail mail, blogging, Netflix.
Fun Fact(s): New Year’s Baby, natural ginger, once cut my hand ice skating (turns out I’m no Tara Lipinski)

Favorite Quote: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why did you join AmeriCorps? A family friend suggested I look into it. I wanted to try something new and give back in some way, so becoming a VISTA seemed like a good idea. I think the empowerment of young women is especially important as well, so I was eager to serve alongside an organization like the Girl Scouts.

What has being an AmeriCorps VISTA taught you? My year of service came with a lot of ups and downs. It taught me to be more humble and grateful and gave me a better look into the modern day struggles everyday Americans are facing. It’s definitely been a year of growth and strength; including a lot of learning experiences. While this has probably been one of the toughest years for me, I can honestly say I’ve never given back more.

VISTA Service Accomplishments: With it being a huge rebuilding year, basically from the ground up for our Girl Scouts office, I focused mainly on service projects, revamping programs and creating partnerships.  Our main partnership is between the Boys and Girls Club and the local Gillette Community College. We had the Boys and Girls Club troop lined up and with my MTCC focus on College Positive Volunteers, I reached out to the college and luckily their Executive Student Senate decided to lead the troop. We had a very successful first semester and look forward to continuing this partnership!

In addition; we put on a camp that had been non-existent for two years and made it Reduce, Reuse, Recycle themed, received a grant for $2,000 from the Indian Education Committee to start a troop at the school on the reservation in Lame Deer, Montana, received another grant from the United Way for $5,000 for the girls at the Boys and Girls Club, participated in numerous community service projects including planting a garden in front of the Community Art Center and sending care packages to my Adopt-A-Soldier overseas, and had the most registered Girl Scouts in the whole state!

Post VISTA Life: After I complete my VISTA service, I fully plan on being rich and famous. Until then though, I will go back home to Iowa, find a full time job of sorts, pay off those student loans (eventually) and begin building my very own tiny house on wheels!


Monday, December 21, 2015


Montana Campus Compact January VISTAs gather in Missoula for their Close of Service.  We had presenters and sessions to prepare them for life after AmeriCorps.  All sessions were held at the University of Montana in the Payne Family Native American Center and the Mansfield Library.   We had delicious lunches and dinners donated by local restaurants Five on Black , Pie Hole and coffee from Starbucks.  Our members exiting service are:

Constance Johnson- Garfield Literacy Project- Montana State University Billings

Kate Johnson-Student Marketing and Outreach- Bitterroot College


As always, we wish you all the best of luck with life after AmeriCorps and keep in touch!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Deanna Linn is a Montana Campus Compact VISTA serving with the Girls STEM Collaborative at Montana State University.  She began her service in July 2015.  Below is a press release about the amazing work Deanna is doing at MSU.

BOZEMAN, Mont.—An annual Halloween festival for children received an infusion of nanotechnology when an AmeriCorps VISTA member based at Montana State University brought science outreach activities to the university’s Family & Graduate Housing.

FGH hosts an annual Pumpkin Festival near Halloween, and Deanna Linn, who serves via Montana Campus Compact within MSU’s Extended University, recruited undergraduate and graduate students from MSU’s Chemical and BiologicalEngineering Department to volunteer at the Oct. 17 event.

The team presented several hands-on science activities to approximately 115 children and their families who attended the event, which also included a costume contest, pie-eating contest and pumpkin catapult along with pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, bean bag toss, arts and crafts, sack race, tic-tac-toe, cookie decorating, science experiments with bubbles and dry ice, and face painting. This is the first time the annual event has included a NanoDays outreach component. MSU Extended University is part of a national program that helps the public better understand nanoscale science and engineering

Families from around the world live in MSU’s Family Housing complex, where children range from newborn to 18 and who hail from all backgrounds: single-parent families, low-income families, military families, etc. Many countries are also represented, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India, China, Japan, Nepal, Lebanon and Brazil as well as families from around Montana and the U.S.

The partnership was a success and has opened up possibilities for future NanoDays and other STEM outreach projects between MSU Family and Graduate Housing and MSU Extended University. Linn shared information about the partnership with the national project, the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, to inspire other organizations to partner with their local Family Housing complex.

Great work, Deanna!  We can't wait for our next check in to see what all you have accomplished. Keep up the amazing work!