- November 18, 2015
- Posted by Merlin
Driving down Spotted Bear Road for the last time, my eyes fixed on the dirt-road winding ahead of me, I make a mental checklist: Gas receipts. Check requests. Incident reports. PLACE lesson for next week. Project accomplishment sheet. Thank-you cards. Pens. How did we lose ten pens? Replace water filter cartridge. New member next week. Stay awake. You only have to stay awake for five more hours.
I glance in the rearview mirror, and see that one of my crew members has his head – his whole head – sticking out of the window. Laughing to myself, I remember those days: my greasy forehead pressed on the glass, staring dreamily out at the mountainous landscape. But, no more, I think. I look over at my co-leader, who is finishing up our paperwork with one eye half-shut. Maybe both. “This program isn’t for us anymore,” I think to myself; “It’s for them.”
As crew leaders, we do a lot of invisible work: logistics, paperwork, finances, training, paperwork, supporting crew dynamics, lesson planning, paperwork. Repeat as necessary. If everything goes well, by the time our members arrive there is a well-oiled machine of adventure called “this week’s project.” I remember during my first months as a member that I had absolutely no idea what even went into preparing for taking 6-8 people into the Wilderness, or how I could get to a place in my life where I would know where to begin. Everything was so new, and so different, and I was too caught up in figuring out how to perform my own role to the best of my ability.
I think about our own members getting ready for weeks of Crew Leader of the Hitch. They know what needs to get ready; they are getting paperwork in order, they are talking with our project partners, they are buying pens. Even before that, I remember there were moments of “Aha!” when one of them would help another figure out how to perfect a drain or section of tread before we could step in. All season, they have been amassing leadership skills and confidence in their work, and now here they are ready to take our jobs.
And that’s when I realize: we helped them get there. I think about my first crew leader, who now works in the office doing some of that “invisible” work for MCC’s youth programs. She now has the joy of watching her hard work unfold as she trains leaders to train future leaders. She was a member too, once upon a time, and moved through different positions as she needed greater challenges. And really, that is what we are all doing. And we are able to do it because MCC provides opportunities for growth; for greater and greater challenges down the line.
The rewards are still great, they are just different. My co-leader and I are lucky enough to be mentors that get to see our crew members grow and learn throughout the program. We are still gaining from this program, just in ways that are different now and that change all the time. And in that way, this program is still for us. MCC offers ways to define personal development for people from a variety of backgrounds, with varying levels of experience.
MCC has a lot to offer us now, and will continue to do so into the future. MCC isn’t just for them; MCC is for everyone.
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