September 30, 2019
Time is a strange thing. It’s one of the most steady and constant things in our lives, but our situations can drastically affect how we experience it. There were often days where I found myself talking with a crew member about the length of P-CREW, and how just saying it’s five weeks really doesn’t mean anything. It really doesn’t give you an idea of the duration. P-CREW is, simultaneously, an eternity and a brief moment. While you’re in it, slogging through another 90 degree day with little shade swinging a pick; tool-up seems like a distant dream. To say nothing of graduation and going back home. And yet when that day does arrive and we all stood around the vehicles being loaded up with bags and people who had become family it seemed that just about everyone looked back and had the thought “It feels like I just got here.”
Now I’m sitting here, over a month has passed since the ending of the second session of P-CREW. As the days continue to move, more and more perspective is gained to realize just short those ten weeks actually were. Over the course of a lifetime five or ten weeks is merely a blip. Most often they pass without us really even noticing and with little chance of being remembered down the road. However, length of time doesn’t relate to impact and meaning of an experience. My ten weeks that were spent with P-CREW are a time that will be carried with me always. During that two and a half months I worked, I learned, I cried, I laughed, and I grew. That’s more than enough about me, though, I would much rather talk about why this experience was what it was for all involved. The crews.
I am so proud of you all. Whether I had the pleasure of being one of your crew leaders or you got to spend your time hanging out with Elliot and Alana. Whoever is reading this, know and be proud of the struggles you overcame, the strength that you realized, and the person that you are. And a quick (but huge) thank you to the parents and guardians that trusted us enough to send your child into the woods with a group of strangers for over a month. Now back to the crews; y’all are an inspiration. The way that you all made such conscious and meaningful choices on how to spend your summer, growing personally and giving back to the earth around you is beautiful. You stood by one another during tough times, you worked side by side under the hot sun, you encouraged and picked others up when they were struggling; you became a family.
There’s a lot of hard news out there in the world, and working in conservation can be discouraging at times. But seeing you all gives me so much hope and happiness. Please keep developing the skills you learned and the strengths you realized. Remember the strength you have in your voice and your actions, stand strong for who you are and what you believe in. Always be kind. I am a better person for knowing you all. This world needs people like you. Even though it was five weeks in the field, the impacts that were made and that you continue to make on everyone around you will stretch on for so much longer and further than any of us can truly realize. Thank you all.