At Nevada Outdoor School (NOS), national service is at the heart of what we do! Since NOS was founded in 2002, AmeriCorps members have been serving with our organization. In 2007, NOS received our first AmeriCorps grant, providing opportunities for people to bring out the best of America, specifically in Nevada. The national AmeriCorps program enrolls more than 250,000 individuals to serve, making a difference all across America.
AmeriCorps is a federal agency that connects individuals to organizations. AmeriCorps has a rich national history, starting in 1964 when the Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) program was instituted to help combat poverty. In 1973 the Domestic Volunteer Service Act authorized the creation of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and in 1992 the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program was developed to assist communities in recovery after a natural disaster or to meet other critical needs. In 1993, AmeriCorps was created as the government agency overseeing national and community service, incorporating the previously created programs. In 1994, the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps individuals took the pledge to, “Get things done for America”. Since then, AmeriCorps members have been involved in efforts associated with 3rd grade literacy, assisting with 9/11 devastation and recovery, natural disaster recovery, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, combatting the opioid crisis, and most recently COVID support.
The AmeriCorps Program relationship at Nevada Outdoor School can be a bit confusing, because Nevada Outdoor School is the administrator of the Program, as well as a host site. What does that mean? Nevada Outdoor School is granted money through Nevada Volunteers each year to administer or place AmeriCorps Members at host sites throughout rural Nevada. What is a host site? A host site is a nonprofit organization that has formally requested an AmeriCorps member to come serve at their site to fill a need in the community. Currently, Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps Director, Zulma Mayorga, oversees members at 6 host sites. The host sites are, Friends of Black Rock High Rock, Pershing County Senior Center, Pleasant Senior Center, Frontier Community Action Agency, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and Nevada Outdoor School. Members at these host sites assist their nonprofit organization with daily activities ranging from trail maintenance to teaching children to helping seniors fill out paperwork to manning food pantries. In total, in 2021, twenty-four AmeriCorps members placed by Nevada Outdoor School provided 16,824 hours of service in the state of Nevada, helping 483 people, and improving 445 acres of land.
Peter, an AmeriCorps Member serving at Friends of Nevada Wilderness through the NOS AmeriCorps Program
While AmeriCorps members do get paid for their efforts, it is not a lot. Monthly stipends are low, but the real benefit comes in the Segal Education Award that changes lives. Depending on the number of hours served, members can earn up to over $6,000/year that can be used to pay of existing student loans, pay for tuition at most universities, colleges, or trade schools, or other education opportunities.
The AmeriCorps Members placed at Nevada Outdoor School serve as Outdoor Educators and are our teachers and summer camp counselors. We could not do what we do in our communities without the AmeriCorps program! What to learn more? Visit americorps.gov or nevadaoutdoorschool.org