Well, looks like this is the End. By Evan Brock

Hello there! How are you? I hope you are doing well. Oh me? Well, …I don’t know how to tell you this, but I am getting ready to move out of Steamboat Springs. As you are reading this I am attending St.Pauls for one last morning service and then will have one final meal with my house mates. After that I will drive to Denver to stay with some friends from the St. Columba house for one night , then I will begin my road trip back to Alabama.This will allow me to reconnect with old friends and family who I have not seen for awhile.

Why move? Why leave the beautiful setting that is Steamboat? To be honest I have another job starting in August. It is out state and will require me to arrive on July 28th. That seems a bit early, and you’re right. That is because I will serve with the Creation Care ESC program at Camp Mokule’ia in Hawaii. Essentially, I will have a 2 week vacation.

The work will be different. I will be living and working outside and I will share living space with 2 other ESC members, but we will be separated in yurts. The work is whatever the camp needs at that time; from sustainability projects to leading programs to different camp groups. The camp is remote so I won’t have instant access to Internet or cell service, as far as I know. But, there is a blog site for this program, so you’ll here from me again.

I will miss Steamboat and all it has offered me. I will miss living in Colorado and being a witness to its natural wonders. Friday was my last day at the Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. The day started like most days in the summer ,M,W,R,F I work 9:15-5:30 and T from 2-6, except that I was instructed to come to work early so that I can my supervisor where all my saved files were located on my work laptop. I did that, and then progressed throughout the day as if were normal. I was monitoring a gym game, I had lunch at the club, and I went on a field trip. Myself, and 3 other staff took a group of 35 kids to a local movie theatre to see Despicable Me 3. I was halfway paying attention because I was making sure the kids were behaving. Overall it was a good field trip.

When we returned to the club most of the kids went to the Computer lab to play games. This was around 3:30 and it lasted until 4:30. The last activity I was a part of was in gym. Thankfully, the games that block were games that I remember. For most of the year Gym was my biggest challenge so it seems fitting that it was my last. We played wall ball ,kick ball, and we had some time to play with scooters. Being that it was Friday the rest of the kids in other rooms came to the gym early for Open Gym. This was around 5:20. Soon, my time would end. As kids and more staff were in the gym I felt prompted to make sure that I didn’t leave anything at the work desk. I noticed on the laptop a note for me. This was from my supervisor, I will not say what it was about, that is personal. But there was nothing else left. I walked out of the office and noticed the janitor in the hallway. We chatted and exchanged our goodbyes, and then there was a kid who left the gym looking for a toy and need the janitors keys. I watched over the kid and of course nothing was there, this took close to 10 minutes. I walked back to the gym with the kid. Most of my stuff was put into my car earlier that day so there was not much left to take; it was 5:30. I said my goodbye to my other supervisor, who shook my hand and gave me a hug. I simply said thank you. When I was walking to my car she stuck her head out of the front door of the club saying that there is something she wanted to give me. I soon followed her to the back of the club. When I met her she gave me a poster that some of the kids wrote on Thursday. I didn’t read it yet, but I took it with me. Again, we said our goodbyes.

When I sat in my car I began to feel the emotions, but they didn’t surface. I drove by the front door of the club for seems to be the final time. I drove home like I normally do ,nothing exciting. Then I came in the door and one of my house mates clapped her hands. She told me “you did it”. I was reluctant to respond. With my poster in hand I sat on our couch and I began to unfold. I opened the poster and there was the message that made every emotion I had surface. The message read “ Goodbye Evan, We will miss you”. Surrounding that message were kids signatures. Looking at that message reminded me of the roller coaster of the 10 month experience at the club, both beginning, middle, and end. I am proud to say that everything at the club ended on a good note.

I still feel emotional. This blog will be posted on Sunday July 16th. That is my last official day as a member of Colorado ESC. Like the BGC there were ups, downs, and in betweens. But I am proud for stepping out of my comfort zone to moving to CO, I am glad that I met so many cool people, and I am proud to have served at the BGC. Maybe my faith is still unknown. There were other aspects of this year that took my energy and attention. But, maybe that is something I can work on next year. Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for tagging along this blog experience. I can say without a doubt that this year had left me transformed.

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5 Reasons Why a Year of Service with Colorado Episcopal Service Corps is the Best Idea You Have Ever Had – Mariana Diaz

I have done three years of service now in three different cities in three different states. You probably think I am scared of joining the work force and you might be right. And as our economy continues to improve it might be easier for you to enter the workforce than it was for me in 2012. However, I am here to tell you that I would not change a thing. Yes I have accumulated very little wealth in the last few years, none at all actually, yet if I had the opportunity to do it all over again I would not do it any differently.

Here are 5 reasons why a year of service is the best idea you have ever had and why if you haven’t submitted your application to Colorado ESC you should probably stop reading this right now and do it:

1. Community 

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” – Ani DiFranco

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When you hear living in community you might, like I did, think what the heck does that mean? Or you might have some idea because you come from a religious background, or maybe you did some really good research… anyway I don’t know what you think, but it probably is a little off base regardless.  Living in community is difficult. I won’t sugarcoat it. There will be times when you cannot stand the way a person breathes. However, it can be the most rewarding and enlightening part of your year.  I grew up in a house that was just my mom and I always praying for siblings my age to play with who would understand me. I can honestly say that in Esther, Becca, Veronica, and George I have found more love and empathy than I have found in my own family.

2. Connection. 

“Discovering our purpose in life is never complete unless we discover it in relation to the rest of the world around us…” Joan ChittisterpastedImage

In this modern age we are “connected,” to hundreds of people at any given moment and yet we are so far away from each other. Colorado ESC gives you the opportunity to meet people where they are. To see the humanity you share with people from all walks of life. At Urban Peak, a nonprofit who works with homeless youth and young adults, I have met some really incredible people.  The youth and young adults I have worked with are some of the most kind and caring people I have met by far despite the trauma that has upturned their lives. I remember being the only one at the housing site on a snow day and all the youth in the building coming to check on me throughout the day – telling me to go home because it was too dangerous to be out. I will carry the relationships  I have had the opportunity to build with them forever. They have taught me more about myself and who I want to be than many others I have encountered who might be more “similar,” to me.

3. Investment. 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Ghandi

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A year of service is an investment in yourself.  I have so many friends who look at me and cannot comprehend how or why I would do what I do for so very little money. They are the same friends who are unhappy with their jobs and even their lives. In these last few years I have had the opportunity and most importantly the time to get to know who I am, what I love, what I value, who I want to be, and what I would never want to do even for a million dollars. Colorado ESC, especially, makes sure we are learning about who we are. Like I said before I have done several service programs– and despite their emphasis on developing leaders Colorado ESC is the only who truly invests in their corps members not just while they are in the program, but in the human beings/leaders we are going to one day become. The leadership of this program, Rebecca, Catie, the Board of Directors and I would even venture to say all of the stakeholders of Colorado ESC truly care about us and where we want to go.

4. Simplicity.

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” – Bruce Lee

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You have read all of this and are still are thinking “Mariana, you don’t get paid!” What if I told you that is one of the best parts? Money is a driving force in our world if you don’t have it you are looked at as less than. Many incredibly talented and brilliant people live in poverty and their voices will never be heard because of their lack of money. You will probably never be one of those people. However, in this year your eyes will be opened to the fact that you can be okay with very little, and that despite your lack of money you are still incredibly privileged.

5. Mountains. 

“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” – Jeffrey Rasley

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How could I write anything about why applying to Colorado ESC is a great idea without mentioning the natural beauty of Colorado? I couldn’t.  The Rockies will floor you every time. Not to mention the incredible sunrises and sunsets, the wildflowers, the lakes, the rivers, did I mention the mountains? The mountains remind me every time that humans are infinitesimally small in this big wide beautiful universe. Tiny flames that will undoubtedly burn out. That might scare the crap out of some of you, and I will remind you that a bit of fear is a good thing.  And some of you like me might find that awe inspiring. I look at the mountains and I am reminded that I have been given this incredible privilege to be here.

So what are you waiting for?

 

An Old and New Beginning: Veronica Farrell

The end of this service year is just one week away. This past month has been one of intense reflection and I have no idea how to put any of it into words.

Instead, I am posting a blessing we read during our first week orientation from John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us. Finding this passage from the beginning of the year to re-experience has been helpful in my reflection. It’s amazing to recognize how different I am from one year ago, but how similar my situation is with a new beginning just around the corner. Comparing how I felt while reading the first blessing to how I feel while reading another blessing that is relevant to me now has been a great help as well. Further below is another blessing from O’Donohue’s book that I feel summarizes the work I want to continue once I’m away from the spiritual structure and support of this program.

 

For A New Beginning

 

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

 

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Notice how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

 

It watched you play with the seduction of safety,

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

 

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

 

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

 

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul sense the world that awaits you.

 

 

For Presence

 

Awaken to the mystery of being here

and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

 

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

 

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

 

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to

follow its path.

 

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

 

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

 

May anxiety never linger about you.

 

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

soul.

 

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek

no attention.

 

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

 

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven

around the heart of wonder.

 

If you’d like to read more of O’Donohue’s blessings I highly suggest buying the book. If you want to really dive into understanding and living his blessings for a year with the support of some amazing people I highly suggest applying for Colorado Episcopal Service Corps. Really wanted to fit a little plug in!