What do you want to get out of service?
This question is often asked when members are at the beginning of their service year. Some members say professional development, others may say the experience to travel to a new community. When I think of service, expanding my comfort zone comes to mind. It is human nature to want to stay in a familiarized state. Being pushed into a new situation can be scary sometimes. Last week Montana Campus Compact (MTCC) hosted a training called “FRAME: Expanding your Comfort Zone”. This training is to help challenge our AmeriCorps Leaders and VISTAs to get outside that comfort zone and tackle topics that are not easy to discuss.
MTCC had several different speakers that brought up difficult topics that our members may experience at their host sites. EmpowerMT had Heidi Wallace come in to discuss diversity and inclusion. She did an amazing job highlighting what it is like having “glasses” on when looking at diversity. Ivan and Ivy MacDonald spoke with us and showed us film about missing indigenous women in Montana. These stories show what is happening on reservations and how not much is being done to help. It was eye opening! Lydia Schildt from the YWCA presented about Historical Trauma and Healing. She gave insight on what indigenous people went through and how they are still experiencing hardships and healing. All the members participated in a service project for Lubrecht Experimental Forest. We cleaned up waste on the side of the highway. It wasn’t glamorous, but service isn’t meant to be glamorous, it is about rolling up your sleeves and “Getting things done”. Marc Moss was a speaker on our last day who taught us about how telling your service story is important. He gave wonderful tips on how to do that, while also sharing some of his own personal stories.
At the end of each training, you hope that each person takes something away to use at their host sites. With all the amazing speakers at this training, I don’t see how you couldn’t. In service, you have to lose your comfort zone. You will be challenged and pushed to your limits at times, but, at the end of the day, it isn’t about you. Service is about serving the needs in the community you are in.