So this, my friends, is the second to last blog post that I will be writing as a Volunteer Maryland Regional Coordinator.  I’m a little sad, a little forlorn, but mostly nostalgic.  As Regional Coordinators, Megan (the other RC) and I are also preparing to say goodbye to our service year.  Our days are filled with finalizing on-going projects, checking in on the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators (VMCs), and planning the last of our regional outings.  Another important part of year-end preparations is cleaning out our desks and files.  For me, this sort of task would normally be the equivalent sticking my hand down the garbage disposal and flipping the on-switch.  Surprisingly though, I am enjoying going through the papers and items that I’ve collected over the past year. 

The files that I’m currently organizing hold some really fantastic memories.  For example, I ran across the tablet that I used to take notes on during this year’s Pre-Service Training, a 2-week training session that starts off every Volunteer Maryland Coordinator service year.  I remember being so nervous about meeting my region.  Would they like me?  Would they understand my role?  Would I like them?

I also came across an old to-do list.  I’m assuming (there is no date) that this particular list was created some time in January because one of the items was “MLK Day Materials Gathering”.  Half of the list was typed and half was hand written, signifying my on-going battle with disorganization.  I looked at this to-do list, and then I looked my current to-do list, neatly written out in a planner and organized by month, date, and time.  Oh, how far I’ve come!  Further, looking at this to-do list, I had a realization that many AmeriCorps members serving with Volunteer Maryland have done a good amount this year.   From recruiting volunteers, to starting peer-mentoring programs, to facilitating trainings; VM Class 23 has done some great things! 

I pulled out a folder entitled “VM24 Site Visits” and opened to my notes for discussion.  Every year, Volunteer Maryland schedules visits with organizations interested in partnering to receive a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator for the following year.  The organizations are required to apply to the program, giving a detailed record of their mission, vision, community need, and setting some parameters for the future Volunteer Maryland Coordinator’s responsibilities.  My role during these visits was to support the conversation by asking questions and getting clarification if needed.  I remember being very nervous on this particular visit.  When Maureen (our Program Director) and I were greeted, I realized that I knew the person we were meeting with!  What a small world!

Cleaning and organizing my files in preparation for the end of my service year is a  sad process, but positive at the same time.  I had the opportunity to meet so many different and incredible people throughout this year!  I remember planning for each regional meeting.  After one particular meeting in February, I wrote “Keep it Positive”.  This meeting stands out because it took place during the miserable throes of winter at Volunteer Maryland’s monthly In-Service Training Session.  I met with my region for about 50 minutes and it was fantastic!  We started the meeting off with an Affirmation Circle; sort of like the name game.  The first person said a positive adjective that started with the first letter of their name and then said their name.  The next person would say the previous person’s adjective and name and make one up for them self.  This would continue until the last person recited everyone’s name and adjective.  I live for mushy-gushy, feel-good moments and this was one of my favorites!  My region left refreshed, invigorated, and ready to face the difficulties of their service years. 

As this year winds to a close, I’m interested in making sure I preserve the many memories that I have to use for future motivation.  What about you, AmeriCorps Alums?  How do you preserve your memories from your service year?  Please share with us the ways that you have used your memories for motivation!

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