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By Lisa Donahue

The five support team leaders (STL) of the AmeriCorps NCCC campus in Vinton Iowa left their posts last week to serve at Camp Hitaga. Due to numerous teams being pulled for disaster assistance, STLs stepped up and took on this project which was originally intended for Oak 7.

The STLs are a distinct group on campus and each one has a different role. Sarah Williams serves as the Community Relations STL which deals a lot with public outreach. Corey Kaye serves as the Program Office STL where he coordinates independent service projects and assists the program office. Cole Russell serves as the Operations STL and assists in running the service building on campus. Kathryn Burkhart and Lisa Donahue both serve as Unit STLs; Kathryn supports the Cedar Unit and Lisa supports the Oak Unit which deals with a lot of administrative work.

The STLs stepped out of their traditional roles and came together to form a team to head into the field. Their work at Camp Hitaga was predominantly trail building. They constructed a quarter of a mile of equestrian trail for their new advanced horseback rider program. This consisted of vegetation removal, tread leveling, and waterbar installation. The STLs also aided in activities with the children who attended the camp. Lisa Donahue from Wakefield, Massachusetts states, “It’s a win win situation because we not only gave back to the community but we were also given the opportunity to get some direct experience as opposed to always supporting the teams.”

Camp Fire Iowana is home to Camp Hitaga. They provide a safe environment for kids ages 6-18 to find their passions and gain leadership skills. They offer a wide range of activities such as archery, horseback riding, and theater. They encourage the campers to explore new interests that they might not have had the opportunity to before so they are able to “light the fire within”.

Once Oak 7 completes their disaster service, they will report to Camp Hitaga and resume the work that the STLs began. AmeriCorps NCCC gets things done, and when disaster strikes, the organization finds a way to serve the pressing needs, but also works to find ways to fulfill previous duties and the STL team is more than happy to step up and get some hands on experience.


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