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Here’s to New Experiences

by Kayla Wagner, Central District Field Crew Member/AmeriCorps Member

Before I came to Conservations Corps Minnesota & Iowa, I was sharing my new opportunity with a previous co-worker. I shared all about the Corps, and how I would be doing natural resource projects while gaining experience with power tools such as chainsaws. My co-worker reacted with surprise and could not believe I would be using chainsaws, saying they could not see me in that role. I know her comment was not meant to be offensive, but still, I was taken aback. The reality was, at that time, I had a hard time picturing myself using chainsaws too. But my coworker’s comment sparked a whole new train of thought.

In fact, I was nervous and excited to learn. I remember the first time I picked up a chainsaw. Here was this powerful machine that could cause serious harm to me and those around me while in my hands. That is the beauty of trying new things. The fear and exhilaration being felt simultaneously. And this is what the Conservation Corps is all about. To give their members the training and experience needed to continue their careers. My crew’s first official week with our project host had us cutting pine trees. Suddenly, with continued use of my chainsaw, it did not seem so scary anymore. With consistent practice, I now have the confidence to operate a chainsaw. As a woman in this field, this is especially empowering. Despite any limitations you put on yourself or people put on you, know that every day is a learning opportunity. We all have what we need inside of us to keep growing and be empowered.