By Callye Foster:
September 14, 2016 marked my one year anniversary of moving to Helena, Montana. That day was just like any other but when I look back on the short 365 days I have spent here I am undoubtingly proud of the progress I have made in Energy Corps and my personal life. I decided to return to Energy Corps as the SMART Schools Coordinator for my second year in AmeriCorps. The SMART Schools Program is making great strides in public schools throughout the state. Within the first month of the SMART Schools Challenge, a friendly competition between participating schools to conserve the most energy, divert the most waste, and implement innovative ideas within their school’s environment, the schools participating in the Recycling Challenge have managed to recycling over 10,000 pounds of materials. It truly amazes me to see the progress and ownership these students and faculty are taking to make Montana a better place for all.
Beyond my pride and achievements within Energy Corps I have recently been focusing on the feeling of what some like to call FOMO (fear of missing out.) Being so far from home and my family I have missed out on many things and the fear of missing out on much more is slightly daunting. My first nephew was born in January 2016. I did not have the opportunity to meet him until he was almost 9 months old. I was not there to witness his first steps and will not be there to hear him say his first word. Multiple of my childhood friends have gotten married and I couldn’t afford to celebrate with them. My father has recently retired and started many new hobbies such as refurbishing a Chevy Luv, created a local hot sauce business, and turning his entire back yard into a fruit tree and pepper garden. I was extremely excited to move out of Florida. It seems like no one likes the place they grew up in until they move away – that is true for me. During my last visit to Florida I kept thinking “gosh this place is so beautiful, why did I ever leave?”
Things are not all gloomy. Moving to Montana has given me the chance to further grow into adulthood and accept responsibility for my life and where I am headed. I have been able to experience things that I would otherwise never have imagined possible in Florida. I have helped a state wide program excel and gain traction within Montana public schools. I have seen Yellowstone National Park; fly fished the Yellowstone River, rafted the Mad Mile, picked up skiing, and learned a great deal about the ecosystems of the west.
Although I may be a bit bummed about my mild case of FOMO I am concrete in knowing my life has a tremendous amount of milestones and progress to lead me through and to celebrate what my future holds.
Callye Foster has a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a policy concentration and a minor in Energy and Sustainability. During her time at the University of Central Florida, she held three officer positions with non-profit UCF Chapter I.D.E.A.D (Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions): President, Treasurer and Clean Up Coordinator. Callye was the 2015-2016 Montana SMART Schools Coordinator through Energy Corps and will continue her second service term this year.