Cascade is currently looking for some awesome young people (between the ages of 18-25) to serve as our AmeriCorps members for 2012-2013! The AmeriCorps program is a 10.5 month service opportunity to work in communities to actually make a difference. The AmeriCorps positions at Cascade range from working with the Major Taylor youth to helping plan Bike to Work Month and running summer camps (read more details here). The deadline to apply is coming up this Friday July 6 , though, so make sure to get your application in ASAP! I’m currently serving as the Community Programs Assistant AmeriCorps member, and I put my head together with my fellow AmeriCorps to come up with the TOP 10 reasons why being an AmeriCorps at Cascade is the absolute best:
1. You get paid to ride your bike! Well, yes, there is other work involved, but working at here means that riding to and from meetings, happy hours, etc is very much encouraged. There are also times you’ll get to drive our sweet vans around town, but the vast majority of your commutes will be able to happen on the bike if you so choose.
2. Your opinion is valued. I can remember thinking the first few weeks of my AmeriCorps stint, “Wow, why are these people so enthusiastic to have me here? I have no idea what I am doing!” This feeling still hasn’t totally faded, but there is so much freedom to suggest ideas, dream up new projects that I’ve always felt like a full staff member and part of the Cascade team.
3. Kids rides! There really are few better things in life than getting a kid on a bike — especially for the first time. The simple joy and enthusiasm they have for riding is totally infectious, not to mention you will be constantly entertained by their antics
4. You’ll get all kinds of practical experience during your AmeriCorps term here. From getting certified in CPR and First Aid to learning bike maintenance skills and creating professional reports, you will walk out of Cascade with a lot of essential tools to succeed in the post-AmeriCorps stage of life.
5. Awesome co-workers. This is probably pretty evident from reason #3, but the group of people working here is likely one of the most dedicated, engaging, and fun-loving groups of ALL TIME. It is seriously awesome to look forward to seeing your co-workers on a daily basis. Working on major events like the Bike Expo or STP really brings everyone together, and we have an awesome “Social Committee” who plan awesome happy hours and out-of-office excursions to reward us for all that effort.
6. You get to speak with the voice of America’s largest regional bicycling organization. OK, this probably should have been higher on the list but having the support of Cascade and our 14,000+ members makes a HUGE difference in the impact you can have on the community. Of course, there is still plenty that depends on you but you basically get a GIANT head start since Cascade is already such a well-known and well-respected name in the bicycling world.
7. Connections. Through conferences like SERVES as well as local partnerships, you will get to meet all kinds of other AmeriCorps (AmeriFriends as we like to call them) and have the opportunity to work on lots of projects in collaboration. We commonly work with Feet First, and I got the chance to help develop a women’s summer ride series through a connection with the Help Heart Institute this year! You might even get to meet people like Congressman Earl Blumenauer (the speaker at our Bike to Work breakfast this year), forming relationships that will help you in the post-AmeriCorps world.
8. Freebies! Been wishing to ride the STP or Flying Wheels? Need a new bike rack or saddle bag? As an employee, you get to ride all of our events (assuming you aren’t working them), and there are so many opportunities to get fantastic gear at really really good deals from our friends in the bike world. Plus, no one will ever make you pay for a drink at happy hour.
9. Independence is valued. As I mentioned above, you’ll be collaborating with others both inside and outside of Cascade a lot, but the AmeriCorps here also get the chance to develop your own projects and take the lead on existing efforts. This creates a real sense of ownership over your work, and also means that if you don’t think something is going well, you have the power to change it. That is a pretty incredible opportunity for a job right out of college, eh?
10. A beautiful ride to work. The Cascade offices are in beautiful Magnuson Park and just off the Burke-Gilman trail, so you are guaranteed to get an eyeful of mountains, trees, and maybe even some wildlife (there are some crazy crows but also beautiful herons and brids of prey that live around here) on your trips to and from work.