By Jackson Chan
My name is Jackson; I have been working with the Green Team for three summers. During my first summer, in 2009, I worked as a crew member; that was my first job working outdoors and helping to preserve the parks. The many hours working in the sun and under the trees passed quickly. After each day of hard work, the visible results were very satisfying. That summer, a particularly rewarding project that I worked on was clearing up tangled bittersweet and grape vines near Ward’s Pond in Olmsted Park. After removing the vines, the view of the pond was very beautiful. In addition to fieldwork, each week the Green Team went on field trips such as kayaking. Preserving the parks and going on engaging field trips is a unique summer experience.
I was determined to continue working with the Green Team. Thus, after my first summer, I participated in the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s first academic year Youth Leadership Program, through which I learned a great deal, ranging from leadership skills to environmental science. Through role-plays and workshops, the Leadership Program sufficiently prepared me to become a Crew Leader for the coming summer.
In 2010, in my first year as a crew leader, I guided my crew members and worked alongside them in preserving the parks. At first, my crew was quiet and shy. However, as the weeks passed, I saw my crew laughing and bonding with each other. In addition to the positive atmosphere my crew members formed, they were hard-working and time-efficient. I was proud to see them transform the Green Team’s Student Learning Through Urban Gardening plot into an organized and admirable garden. Even after the Green Team had ended for the summer, my crew came together several times to organize our own camping trip and reunions.
This summer I returned as a Crew Leader. The crew I have worked with this summer clicked very quickly. This crew has two returning crew members, Jeffrey and Lisa. With their help, the crew has been energetic and positive since the first day of the summer. Like last summer’s crew, this crew has been hard working and time-efficient. I was proud to see our crew fill up at least three bags with invasive plants each day we removed invasive species. This summer, the three separate crews interacted with each other more than in the past.
Overall, my experience with the Green Team has been a magnificent one. Even after my role as Crew Leaders concludes, my connection with those I worked alongside will continue. These three summers have been very successful and unforgettable. Thanks to the former and current youth program directors Kate England and Julia Golomb for believing in me and guiding me, and to all the Green Team members for sharing me with their lively and positive energy.
Jackson, a Green Team and Youth Leadership Program alum and two-time Green Team Crew Leader, delivered this speech at the 2011 Green Team end-of-summer reception on Wednesday.