Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Staff Training Tales

When we say training, we don't take it lightly. 
CSM Philly summer hosts
We've got our hosts out from 9 am until at least 9 pm, and every second of the day we are pumping them full of information about Philly, having them build community with one another, or testing their understanding of maps and one-way street grids.

I may have semi-maliciously gotten them lost a few times to see how they could handle it.  "Oh, did you want me to turn left here?"


"Well, it's a left-turn only lane, so I have to now."  It was moments like these that made them request to have "Smart Nicole" back as I pretended I didn't know where I was.  But you know what?  Now they'll always remember to stay in the right lane on that road.  And they got a nice tour of the Horticultural Gardens.

And it's busy for Brittany and I as well.  My desk starts to look a little like this as we attempt to train and keep up with the demands of the rest of our job:

Despite the craziness, my favorite things about having the hosts finally arrive is... everything.  They bring a new energy and excitement to the CSM house.  They get excited about this city that I love along with me.  They have inside jokes before we've even officially started training.  They laugh and shriek with joy when we hand them their schedules for the first week as they compare where they get to go serve.

How blessed are we!  I just can't get over how excited they are to serve and daily make small differences in this world.  I just pray that their energy and commitment to positive relationships can make a difference in the many lives they will meet this summer: people who may be homeless, hungry, or far from home on a mission trip.

So training is finally over, and students are already out serving.  These guys are helping MANNA reach what will soon be their 10 millionth meal served to those with terminal or life-threatening illnesses!  It's so great to be able to be a small part of that.

This quote is attributed to Margaret Mead, and I've got it hanging over my desk: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

This summer our "small group" consists of two full time staff, six dedicated city hosts, 31 groups representing over 600 students and amazing leaders, 27 non-profits including ones with over 200 employees all the way down to ones run by single individuals, and the thousands upon thousands of people that will be served this summer.

Some say Philly is a broken, hopeless place, filled with murder, disease, drugs, and trash.  But I think I, and the hundreds of others involved with CSM this summer, choose to see the opportunity to love one another, clean a street, or simply enjoy life in the community that we create.

- Nicole Engelhardt, CSM Philadelphia Associate City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Philly!

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