Hello to all my fellow Branching Out bloggers and readers,
My name is Theresa Jean Francois and I am Branching Out’s Field Team Leader for the summer of 2016. I was a participant of the Branching Out Field Team in the summer of 2014, gaining a lot of hands on experience with many National parks and sites. I am very honored that I was offered the opportunity to be Branching Out’s Field Team Leader, as I believe I can provide support and aid to this years’ excellent field team. As a kickoff to a wonderful and productive summer, Branching Out field team members from Boston and New York, participated in a weekend long camping trip to Noble View in Russell, Massachusetts. This camping trip was set up as kick starter to our 7 week summer and meant to provide the field team members with useful information that they will need to know and abide by when the program begins. Although it was an orientation based setting, Branching Out made this weekend very fun and interactive for all of its participants. After an introduction from both the Boston and New York Field Teams, we participated in many team-building activities and games. We wanted participants from both Field Teams to become acquainted and feel comfortable with each other, being that in the fourth week of the program we will be meeting again to complete a project at Valley Forge National Historic Park. As a team, if we want optimal success, it makes sense to get to know our team members and become comfortable around them. Apart from all the fun we had and memories that were shared, we had a very insightful and informational-filled orientation. We went over the program’s expectations and guidelines in the manual and what we should expect from this summer. I got to learn a lot about the individuals in both field teams respectively and they also got to learn a lot about me as a field team leader. I’d say the highlight of this weekend had to be the bonfire towards the end of Saturday night where everybody got to sit down and enjoy each other’s company. We created connections with each other and got to see what everyone was like. I’d also like to say the short hike to the waterfall at Noble View was very memorable. It was a brief time of reflection and a time to appreciate nature in its most natural form. It was an experience that I would not change for the world, and I could not have asked for a better start to kick off our upcoming summer! Stay tuned from Branching Out, we have a lot of things to accomplish!