As our ten-month service term comes to a close, Charter Corps has spent a lot of time, formally and informally, reflecting on our year. We have had plenty of highs – a successful new vacation camp program, an exciting and hilarious service project, accomplishments by our students – and some lows – disharmony among the group, losing a number of members, struggling with communication. But, when we put it all together, there is one thing that comes out across the board as one of the best things we got out of our year of service.
Back at the beginning of the year, as we came into the program, we talked at length about our strengths and weaknesses, our personality types, and how we could get along most harmoniously as a team. We set goals for how we wanted to interact, and we organized a system of values that we aimed to stick to. Finally, we each set a number of goals for the year. Some were personal goals (“I want to accomplish X this year,” “I want to speak up more”), some were professional (“I want to learn to write a lesson plan”), and some were silent, unspoken goals (“I want to step outside of my comfort zone”).
At our end of year reflection, and in most conversations we have had as we near the end of our service, the one thing that came out most clearly is that throughout our service year, most of us at least took steps toward the goals we set, and many of us succeeded in reaching our goals. It is a really wonderful thing, when a group of diverse people can come together as a team, help and support each other, and in 10 months, come out feeling as though they have grown as people and moved their lives in a positive direction.
As I reflect on the year, its ups and downs, the thing that will stay with me, even as time passes, and the memories blur, is that sense of pride, that we accomplished something important, something personal, something great.