Dayton Daily News

Area MetroParks offer many fulfilling experience­s

- By Hallie Hayden Hallie Hayden, Kettering.

I have been serving with Notre Dame Mission Volunteers Americorps for two years, and my time here is just about up. This has been one of the best experience­s of my life.

Iam positioned at Germantown MetroPark as a naturalist, but it is so much more than that. While here I have learned so much about Ohio’s natural history, native plants, and animals, and ultimately how important just getting outside is.

The benefits of outdoor education and play have physical, emotional, and mental benefits and that is true for people of every age! I’ve learned how to care for our native animal ambassador­s and how to present with them. There are turtles, snakes, and raptors that are all beautiful and interestin­g creatures.

I’ve had the fulfilling experience of working with many local preschools in our county, including underserve­d population­s. While in these classrooms I brought some of our animals and

I got to help children connect with nature and possibly even overcome fears.

The excitement and pride in the student’s actions and words is something that never gets old. I have developed leadership skills, public speaking, time management, and a newfound confidence that I am so grateful for.

There is a consistenc­y that keeps the job manageable, but so much room to make the job your own. Five River MetroParks is a welcoming agency with respectabl­e goals that make working with them feel like you are really doing your part in benefiting your community.

Not only is Five Rivers MetroParks amazing but being an AmeriCorps volunteer is also just as rewarding. There are group meetings biweekly where you get to know all the other members in your area. We connect through different activities and outings that always feel like more fun than work and all count towards your hours. There are also multiple profession­al developmen­t opportunit­ies, workshops and orientatio­ns that are offered.

Through AmeriCorps you receive a $6,495 education award that can be used towards student loans or continuing education. There are schools that will match that as well if you choose to continue your education. This is on top of your living stipend as an AmeriCorps Volunteer.

One of the best parts (in my opinion) is the threeday national training event “Midyear” that addresses classroom tools and social justice issues. Members are put up in a hotel, and the event is catered. I got to meet people from across the nation serving in all different areas of education, non-profits, and community centers.

I can’t explain the hopefulnes­s and calm energy that this event encapsulat­es as you are surrounded by people with pure intentions and hearts of gold. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I have learned so much about outdoor education, profession­alism, networking, and ultimately myself in the past two terms.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, I highly suggest applying at ndmva. org. This specific position will start in September! It is part of the Dayton team. This is an amazing opportunit­y to learn about nature, community, team building, leadership skills, and yourself.

 ??  ?? Hayden

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States