FWP recruiting applicants for AmeriCorps program
HELENA –After Hunter Sickerson graduated from MSU-Billings with honors, he knew he wasn't ready to settle down in a typical 8-to-5 job. He worked in the field of archeology, conducting surveys on archeological sites for a private firm until he heard about an opportunity for national service through Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks AmeriCorps.
“AmeriCorps is a unique opportunity that can open a person's view of the world in a new way,” Sickerson said.
As a heritage program specialist, Sickerson rerouted trails on Wildhorse Island at Flathead Lake State Park, renovated a native plant garden at Travelers’ Rest State Park, accompanied a paleontology dig at Makoshika State Park and served meals to the community of Pryor at Chief Plenty Coups State Park.
“My favorite part of my service this past year was the friendships that grew out of a group of seeming strangers at first.” Sickerson said. “By the end, it felt like a small family.”
FWP is currently recruiting individuals to serve in 10-month AmeriCorps positions beginning in January. Applicants range in age from 18 to 80 and will serve and connect with the public at state parks, FWP regional offices and outdoor recreation sites across Montana.
Since the program’s inception in 2012, FWP’s AmeriCorps members have taught thousands of school children in outdoor classrooms, developed interpretive trail guides and signs and presented programs to diverse audiences from around the world.
FWP AmeriCorps members:
- Receive a living allowance of $19,538 over 44-week term of service and a $300 housing stipend per month.
- Receive an AmeriCorps education award of $7,395 upon successful completion of service. This award can be used to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education, for educational training and resources or to repay qualified student loans. Members aged 55 and over may transfer the education award to a child, grandchild or foster child.
- Are eligible for deferment on qualified student loans.
- Receive guaranteed health benefits and childcare assistance if qualified.
- Gain experience and training working in the fields of outdoor recreation, park management, interpretive services, education, community outreach and volunteer management.
“The payoff of the AmeriCorps program is only as good as the effort and dedication you put forth,” Sickerson said. “I’m happy I took the risk and the opportunity to join the FWP AmeriCorps program.”