By Lauren Franklin
This February our CA AmeriCorps Disaster Team members came together from around the state for their annual Mid-Year Training Retreat. This retreat gave our AmeriCorps team an opportunity to decompress from a busy six months of national service, receive specialized disaster response training through our partners at CaliforniaVolunteers, and share their service experiences both in their host Red Cross chapters and through disaster deployments around the country.
This year’s retreat was a completely unique experience, even by AmeriCorps standards! Through the HI USA’s Great Hostel Give Back , our AmeriCorps were given the opportunity to stay in the Marin Headlands Hostel just a short drive outside of San Francisco. The gorgeous scenery of the Marin Headlands provided a perfect backdrop for our teambuilding activities and allowed our members to see a whole new side to the Bay Area.
The team spent one day of the retreat giving back to the local community by helping to restore the historical integrity of the Nike Missile Site in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Under the supervision of the local park ranger, the CA AmeriCorps members pulled invasive plants, removed 320 gallons of overgrown vegetation, and repainted 5 historical features of the site. Now that’s getting things done!
The definite highlight of the trip was the incredible tour of San Francisco’s legendary De Young Museum, generously donated by Museum Hack . No stranger to community service, Museum Hack jumped at the opportunity to provide our AmeriCorps with a unique teambuilding experience designed to develop the communication, collaboration, and adaptability of the members on our team.
In addition to providing a completely unique spin on the classic museum tour (for instance have YOU ever heard the backstory of the Blood Tub gang or America’s first female private eye?), the Museum Hack guides inserted a ton of unique icebreakers and activities into the 2 hour tour that had our team thinking on their feet! From one-minute challenges (which sculpture has the best hair in this gallery?), to partner guessing games, to an intense multi-floor scavenger hunt , Museum Hack created a transformative experience unlike any other.
Now a stronger, more cohesive team, our CA AmeriCorps Disaster Team members returned to their host Red Cross Chapters ready for the second half of their service term. Whether they face hurricanes, wildfires, mudslides, or other natural disasters, we know our AmeriCorps members are ready to dive in to serve their community and can count on their teammates to do the same.