- What did you do before the C’s?
- How did you find out about the C’s, and how did you join?
- What did you do in the C’s? What centers were you at? Was it a residential center or non-res? What kind of projects did you do?
- What have you been doing since you left the C’s?
- How did being in the C’s help you after you left?
This is the most basic type of story to write, and one of the most popular that people like to read. It shouldn’t be long, only about 500-1000 words. Include a photo or three. You can write about yourself, or you can interview other people you knew in the C’s and write profiles about each other. The more the better! The guiding philosophy for this blog project is that every Corpsmember has a story worth telling. And I do mean every Corpsmember!
Ian’s was the first CM profile submitted to the blog. It did need a revision, so don’t feel that you need to write it perfectly before you send it. Getting it down on page in the first place is the hard part. I will help you edit your piece to make sure you tell your story in the best way possible. Ian’s story hits all of the major parts for the profile: what he did before the C’s, what he did in the C’s, and what he did after the C’s.
The last booth I found belonged to something that said “CCC – Hard Work, Low Pay, Miserable Conditions, and more!” along with some pictures showing the sort of work and wilderness living conditions experienced by the Corps, past and present. The chance to have a full work week, get paid to camp, get in shape, and explore the great outdoors of this great state? Irresistible.
So I joined up, with my love of the Rams football team leading to me being placed on then Crew 29 under C1 Aaron Dunson, another Rams man, and last I checked, the Statewide Trail Coordinator for the Corps. My first foray into the program was a spike at Mt. Tamalpais overlooking the Bay Area, with an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant dry stone masonry rock wall project near the peak parking lot. Before my COMET (Corpsmember Orientation, Motivation, Education, and Training) group had arrived, the crew had already partook in six spikes on this project already, with another five after we joined.
Not too long after the spikes at Mt. Tam ended, Aaron Dunson got his marching orders, and Crew 29 would be getting a new C1. Being new and getting used to the crew dynamic, and Aaron as a supervisor, I was hesitant at first, because the gentleman being assigned as C1 was not known to me. I hadn’t yet met him around the Center. His name is Terrance Johnson, the trail building, spam loving, Bronco footballing legend.
During one of our first encounters as Supervisor to Crewmember, he said I would be his red-hat, if I wanted to take on the challenge. Having been impressed by “T”, and wanting to learn more from this font of life experience and trail knowledge, I decided I would go all the way. Three months after T took over and rechristened us as Crew 25, I earned the official position of Crewleader I on the day we left for my longest project with the CCC, the Lassen Peak Trail Restoration.
I experienced twenty-three spikes, four fire camps for five fires, no floods, no stint in Backcountry, and a career-topping experience as part of the most recent Australian Exchange, thus ending my 37 months in the Corps, in October of 2016. Of that time, I was a boy in the blue hat for 8 months, rocked the red hat for 16 months, and finished out as an orange overseer for 13 months. Along the way I made some invaluable friends, while constantly gaining new experience with hand and power tools, trail building, brush cutting, roadside maintenance, tree planting, invasive species removal, safety practices, and so much more as anyone who experiences the CCC can relate to.
These days I look for my next job experience to enjoy, while being signed on as a volunteer for the CCC in Redding so I can still come in and bug the staff and possibly help out on a project or two with my old, now almost entirely different crew. I’m also sure to honk at Terrance Johnson’s house since we live in the same small town about twenty-miles out of Redding. Old habits, and worth it just to see that big grin of his. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to take on the Corps, to do so in earnest.