Hello again Project Spotlight readers. Its been a busy summer. We’re excited to bring you another installment of the spotlight series. P-CREW will be featured for the next month -maybe even two if we can make it happen. This week we’re bringing you a journal entry turned public press release from Cecely. From the Session 1 Group Journal, she writes,
“Driving up to De Anza High School to be picked up, I had no idea what to expect. I was the last to get picked up, so everyone was already there waiting, and I immediately knew it would be a unique and diverse group just from introductions.
The car ride up was filled with awkward silence and I remember Jamie commenting that she enjoyed these awkward pauses before we all knew each other. The awkwardness continued on the first day as the rural and urban kids met. Through many games and training lessons on those first few days however, it quickly dissolved. By the time we were ready to go out into the field three days after arriving, I already felt like I had known the group for weeks.
Our first field project was fuel reduction in Round Valley. This mostly consists of gathering loose branches and logs into large piles which will later be burned. I remember being surprised at how tired I was after those first couple work days, and falling asleep everyday on the car ride back to camp.
When we got back to camp after a work day, we would usually have about an hour of relaxation time before beginning chores. If we were near a body of water, we’d take the opportunity to swim and wash clothes, as well as play card games and read/write letters.
After we have taken time to re-fuel, we’d begin our daily chores. Everyone rotates chores every day, and some of the responsibilities are organizing the trailers, and foot, setting up breakfast and lunch, refilling our water containers, cooking dinner, etc. We struggled the most with dinner prep, and it took us a few days to figure out how to cook enough food for 13 people.
These first few days were a major adjustment period for everyone as people got used to our work schedule and daily routine around camp. I think the group really came together on our first backpacking trip the weekend after arriving. We bonded over swimming in ice cold water, building campfires, and spending real quality time with each other outside the worksite. These things were all amazing but what I think really cemented the bond between us was beginning the tradition of personal stories. We’d all sit around the campfire, and each person would get as long as they want, usually 15-30 minutes to tell their life story and talk about whatever is on their mind.
There is so much we did not know about each others’ backgrounds and lives and the uninterrupted time gave us an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and compassion for each other. I think this is what I will take away most from P-CREW, as coming in I had many misconceptions about what rural kids would be like. Working alongside and building friendships with them, I learned that we are much more similar in interests and experiences than I expected.
I came to P-CREW to learn about environmental science, enjoy the outdoors, and stay in shape without actually having to workout. I am happy to say that I will take away all of these things as well as the ability to connect and bond with people whose opinions and outlooks on life differ from mine. I will go home with a deeper understanding and passion for environmental restoration as well as life-long friends and relationships that P-CREW has given me a chance to form.”
Thank you for reading spotlight on P-CREW. Stay keen on more posts from our crew out in the field and on the road. Session 1 ends this week and Session 2 begins next week. Signing off for now and may your summer settle into a routine of balanced work and recreation.