By: Kamene Dornubari-Ogid
The meaning of an August, 2016 at the outset of service was impossible to imagine. At the beginning of something unknown, in a new environment among people who are likely like you but… different, 11 months later is irrelevant. Now I’m here – we all are like the series of Energy Corps cohorts before us. There were moments in my term of service that I struggled to bridge the gap between my projects and the direct community building I value in the sustainability movement. Taking ownership of certain projects like the statewide social media photo project, #MTearth16 or co-organizing a capitol city Earth Day Expo allowed me to operate according to my value systems and beliefs around meaningful, shared community building.
The most challenging projects, and those of which I am most proud, were ultimately projects that resulted in new, inspiring and effective relationships. These projects functioned as vehicles through which I came to understand the professional spheres and personal motivations of long-time scientists, planners and educators within the vastness of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, passionate high-level staff at Montana’s two most highly attended universities, invested Helena community members, and organizations and individuals across the state.
Upon reflection, I’m very grateful for the structure and support of the Energy Corps program. Beyond Energy Corps, as before it, I will continue to be “civically engaged” – a term I find obtusely clinical, especially in light of my passion and awareness of my duties and inherent connectedness to the wellbeing and prosperity of all others sin fronteras.
Montana is a wide a beautiful place in which I found particular niches of greater comfort, more acceptance and support. I’m looking forward with a heart better seasoned by the lovely, genuine and powerful personal connections that I’ve been blessed with while here in Montana.
A few words of advice to the next cohort that will commence their internal, intra-personal & professional journeys in the following two months:
- Take initiative from the very beginning. If you are unsure, become confident in asking
- Develop an understanding of the dynamics of your host site, of the Energy Corps program, and your role in each sphere
- Get clear on what your service plan entails. And do so periodically, throughout the term of service.
- Make sure you are near 100% on inspired or challenged or enthused about your projects. If not, there is space to make change
- It is OK to be critical and to reserve critiques
- Things may not develop according to plan. Do not be afraid to turn on your heels, go in to the brush, and cut a new path