You join a conservation corps with expectations. Expectations like meeting a bunch of interesting people, forming your own little community, discovering things you never knew about yourself when faced with adversity in the face of the seemingly endless expanse of nature. People quit because it’s too much! The proximity of camping with the same people was too intense – thrust into a community; the work too exhausting. the wilderness inconsiderate of the physical comforts and the proximity inconsiderate for the emotional. And when you overcame that you felt like you won something, like you overcame a weakness you didn’t know you had and you walk with your chin up, ready for anything.
Now reverse that. What happens than. Take the boulder from Sisyphus, what does he do the rest of the day? When your crew hears about your tales from hitch, the drama, the intensity. You use that as the carrot to get them excited for the first 2 weeks of cutting Ligustrum – the unforgiving expanse of nature replaced with the hum of passing cars, the intimacy of the group replaced with 9 other people who you complain about money with while doing menial labor. And it works… kind of – every week they ask ‘when will we go on hitch?’, because you’ve built it up so much – this is why people do corps. This is why we come back even though the our backs hurt and our cars are falling apart. Why our bank accounts are bare and we don’t care. Because we do something not everyone can do, and that’s what we want.
Robert Ryan – Conservation & Disaster Crew Leader (Silver Crew)