The Day I Met Charlene and CJ


Today was our first day volunteering at Bastrop State Park. I am exhausted and I’ve got cuts and bites all up and down my legs and arms. We were out on the trails for about five hours and we’ll be out there even longer tomorrow. This trip has been so different from any other volunteer work that I’ve done. I’ve never laid new trails or even cleared old ones for that matter. My balance is also terrible so hiking definitely is not my thing. I did it though! I was a little slow and slipped a few times but I walked away injury free. There also isn’t a bathroom. Uhh I refuse to go in the woods. Not happening. Not today. Not this week.

We have the opportunity to work with summer pretty cool people this week! There’s a group of volunteers from Ameri Corps who were assigned by the Texas Conservation Corp the task of clearing and laying trails for this specific park. They’re from all parts of the United States and only met about two months ago but they act like they’ve been friends for years. They joke with each other, cook dinner together, and come up with random games when they’re bored. They even do calisthenics and stretch together before they start working!

So today I had the pleasure of working with Charlene and CJ, two of the Ameri Corps volunteers. These ladies are badass with their chainsaws, goofy, and twenty something year-olds trying to figure out life just like I am. Charlene recently accepted a new job and will be leaving her Ameri Corps pals on Friday for an office position working with kids. Her degree is in International Relations and before this she spent time teaching English to kids in China and France. CJ has her degree in Film and was recently an employee at a country club and then briefly unemployed before serving with Ameri Corps. She saw an ad on Craigslist and just decided to apply. Neither of these ladies had ever thought about doing conservation work; they just weren’t being fulfilled in their previous situations and decided to make a change.

I applied for a few Ameri Corps positions before I graduated. The first was Food Corps, an organization that educates children on healthy eating using classroom curriculum, implementing gardens, and improving the quality of food for lunch and after school programs. My application made it through the first selection process, but not the second. I applied for a similar program called No Kid Hungry, where I interviewed and was asked to interview again, but turned it down to work for the university.

After today a part of me wants to apply for those programs again or maybe a similar one. If Charlene and CJ can leave everything behind to pursue something new and exciting, why can’t I? Oh yesh, because I’m afraid of rejection.

But Lysa reminded me that, “One rejection is not a projection for future failures.” If it’s something that I want then I just have to put myself out there and give it all I got. God has plans for me. Plans to prosper. Plans to give me hope and a future.


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