AmeriCorps St. Louis September 2015 e-Newsletter
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Montana Moments
First Time Camping
by Emily Jack

On the night of September 28th, I had my first big Montana adventure-camping! Believe it or not, this was my first time ever sleeping outside in a tent...and it was quite an experience to say the least. As we sat around the fire at Fleecer Cabin, making S'mores and listening to Bruce's stories, I excitedly told anyone who would listen about how my parents never wanted to take my younger brother and myself camping as children; how they refused to view sleeping on the ground for a week with no amenities as a vacation-thus depriving me of what I had always seen as an essential rite of growing up. All of my friends went camping with their families, so it couldn't have been that bad right? 

Read about her experience!
An Unexpected Offering
by Alex Smith

On the way up to Montana we were stopped at a gas station to fill up the convoy. While a couple of us were standing around, a gentleman came up and began to talk to us. He was a local pastor and wanted to thank us for all the wonderful work we were doing and appreciated the effort we were putting in. He joked with us and talked with us for a few minutes, said he would pray for us and we'd be in his thoughts, and went back to his car. At this point, we hadn't done any work. We had just been learning in classrooms and driving. But the program itself is what he was talking about, and he wanted to thank us because of the great history of service that the St. Louis ERT has. 

Hear the rest of Alex's story...
Crushing the Pack Test!
On a cloudy October Saturday in St. Louis, Year 22 members took their first crack at the pack test: a 3-mile walk carrying 45 pounds in under 45 minutes. Some completed the challenge with ease, while others (apparently) barely survived. Regardless of individual outcomes, we are proud of all of our members for getting out there and training hard!


Fire Helmet Fundraiser Update

 

So far this month we have raised almost one half of our $1500 goal! 
Visit our fundraising page to see our progress!

Untitled
by Liz Glasser

35 people fall in line
Laughing and talking like old friends,
While asking where they came from.
Tossing bags into trucks
They discuss who they are and why they're here.
There is no avoidance of others, no cliques and judgement
Just an eagerness to learn.
Everyone has a different story,
A different reason for coming.
Some love this way of life
and others have only dreamed it.
None truly know what to expect,
but they are all willing to flow.
And to grow with the year as it flies.
All their stories fuel them.
It ignites laughter and intrigue.
Each new word calms their own nerves
And their own worries of this time.
Despite previous experiences
All are in the same boat
All are excited for something different.
As time goes on, how far can they go?
As far as they can carry each other.
Mark Your Calendar!
Even if you cannot attend our Share The Warmth event, you can still make a difference by giving a monetary or in kind donation to our Winter Warming Shelter. Any contribution, large or small, is greatly appreciated by our shelter guests and those working to give them a safe place to stay on cold nights. 
 
 
***For in kind donations, please call our office at 314-772-9002*** 
We Need Volunteers!!!
We CANNOT run our Winter Warming Shelter alone! We need your help! Please please please, if you live in St. Louis and can get to Soulard, come hang out with our shelter guests, watch movies, serve meals, and play games. YOU are the game changer! The shelter is officially opening on December 1st, but we may have to open early if the temperature drops below 25 degrees. 
Call Lori at 314-772-9002 if you are interested! 
A huge thank you to these wonderful organizations who have made generous donations to Share The Warmth:
Blues City Deli
Connections to Success
Mardi Gras St. Louis
9th Street Deli
The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
Purina Pet Foods
Schlafly Beer
The Shaved Duck
Traditional Congregation
We would like to give a special shout out to ERT alum Alfredo Lagos for his continuous generosity. He donates every month to AmeriCorps St. Louis through JustGive.org. If you would like to make recurring monthly contributions like Al, visit the website and search for Partnership For Youth Inc.  
Member Reflections
Over the first month of Year 22, ERT members have been trained on a variety of subjects, including disaster response, VRC operations, ICS, wild land firefighting, invasive species identification and removal, and chainsawing. It's been a whirlwind of a month. Check out the following reflections from a couple 1st Years:
First Two Weeks in ERT
by Dan Faris

The first two weeks of ERT can only be described as a whirlwind. Traveling to a new city, meeting all new people, learning about the program, and riding out to Montana have made this an eventful period of time. This program is unlike any other program I've been in. Everyone here is so accomplished and brings a unique skill set to the team. This almost feels like an AmeriCorps All-star team. I've already made some pretty good friends and look forward to getting to know other people more. I look forward to working with everyone in the upcoming year.

Read what else Dan is looking forward to...
 
First Day of School
by Tiara Johnson

The morning of September 21st was reminiscent of the first day of school. As a fresh group of 30 First Years trickled through the ERTHQ doors, we sat anxiously at the tables having the same conversation over and over again… Where are you from? What did you do before this? Why did you join the program? Kathleen proceeded to break up the day’s presentations with “1 Minute Stories” – an elevator pitch of sorts where we attempted to describe ourselves under the heat of the clock. 
By the end of the week, I was able to rattle off everyone’s name, where they lived, and where they came from. At that point I knew we had a diverse crew hailing from East Coast to West Coast...
Alumni News
Megan MacDougal and Mike Wood got married! The happy couple first met when they joined AmeriCorps St. Louis for Year 17. They married in Florida earlier this month surrounded by family, friends and fellow ERT members. Congratulations Megan and Mike!
Kendall Gosch and Kelsey Johnston tied the knot in a Back To The Future themed wedding on Wednesday, October 21, at 4:29 pm, which is the exact time Marty, Doc and Jennifer arrive in 2015 in BTTF 2! The following Friday they threw an Enchantment Under the Sea Dance with their family and friends, complete with shimmery foil, 50's theme, flux capacitor, and a DeLorean Time Machine! Kendall was in ERT for years 17, 18 and part of 19, and #kelseysnotinamericorps.
Best wishes to Kendall and Kelsey!
*If you are an alumni with big news, let us know! We want to keep your AmeriCorps family updated.  If you have any announcements, please email them to acstl.web@gmail.com
Please consider making a financial donation to AmeriCorps St. Louis to ensure our Emergency Response Team is able to continue responding. Every dollar you give means that our team is able to be out there, meeting the needs of people whose lives have been turned upside down. 
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