Every year, all of the senior corps and staff from all 21 City Year sites across the country come together for a week in Boston, MA, hosted by Northeastern University. 800 young idealists came together to learn, lead, and transform. After completing my first year of service, I was ready for more. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the van ride down to Boston, but I knew I was going to meet amazing people from across the country and learn many new things about our organization. From the moment I was greeted at registration I knew that it was going to be one of the best weeks of my life.
The days were long, yet fulfilling. Each morning we did PT (Physical Training) where we do various exercises to get our bodies and minds ready for the day. Doing this with the entire City Year network (over 800 people!) was powerful. It was a very cool experience, having only done PT before in New Hampshire with no more than about 60 people. I felt a sense of togetherness with all of these people from across the country, and it really made me feel like I was connected to a cause greater than myself.
After PT we would go to Matthews Arena where we had the General Assemblies. These assemblies were filled with organizational updates, inspirational guest speakers, and really cool presentations. The General Assemblies were one of my favorite pieces of Academy because they were all so different yet each one managed to inspire and motivate me to be a better person.
Each day was filled with influential, intellectual, and fun conversations. It was nice to know that if I saw someone in uniform I could easily talk to them for hours because we already have so much in common thanks to City Year. While it was great to reconnect with friends I miss and love from all over the City Year network, my favorite part was to meet new people each of whom had their own story to tell. Listening to representatives from each site say why they serve during a general assembly was truly inspiring (photo at top). Hearing stories of people from across the country and being able to share my own made my experience magnificent. I gained so much insight and knowledge simply through talking to people. Knowing that there are people who care about their work as much as I do helped me realize why I joined the National Service Movement.
During my time at Academy, an idea came to me: “One day the world will be a better place, but until then I need to be better for it.” This has become my reason for serving and something I live by. I don’t think I would be the person I am without it.
Thank you Summer Academy!