Thankful for Parks
As the holiday season quickly approaches the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving can feel like the calm before the storm. Soon we’ll be focused on friends, family and avoiding that one Mariah Carey song, you all know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes it can feel like that time of the year gets earlier and earlier and the focus on the holidays can completely consume your mind. I know I’ve fallen into that trap in the past, but each year I try to take this break before the holidays actually start to reflect and focus. I find it extremely helpful when you get that anxiety filled question at Thanksgiving dinner “what are you thankful for?”
I can say with complete honesty that I am thankful to be part of Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. I had no idea what I was getting myself into back in 2016 when I decided to serve a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. All I knew was that I needed a change in the direction my career was heading and doing something crazy like a year of service sounded like the perfect reset point. That decision started a journey that has led me to where I am now as the communications manager for TMPF. I’ve learned so much along the way as well, mostly that being an AmeriCorps member is much harder than it seems and we should all be thankful for the individuals in our community who make the sacrifices a year of service entails.
I’m lucky enough to get to manage AmeriCorps members in my position, and I think that lucky is the only way to describe how I feel about the people on the communications team. The members who chose to serve on my team have been nothing short of outstanding, heck even two of them have won statewide awards for the impact they made during their time serving with TMPF. I don’t know if there are words that exist to describe how awesome it is to be working alongside such amazing people that are making a difference in our community every day.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to be involved in the future of our parks, trails and open spaces. In the past year I was able to work with people in our community that are truly making a difference by utilizing our open spaces. I met an artist who created a massive art installation along the Truckee River that tells a story about water. I had the opportunity to help call the community to action in creating an access ramp in the Tahoe Meadows that will make it so that alternately abled people can experience the outdoors in the same way most of us are able to without a second thought. I met a tortoise named Pete who is helping us promote the Rosewood Nature Study Area in a fun and unique way that engages everyone in the community.
None of these things were on my mind when I started my journey as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I was just a guy that really enjoyed being outside and was looking for something that was different than what I'd been doing. So I'm thankful for AmeriCorps, thankful for TMPF, and thankful for our community. Most of all I’m thankful for our parks, trails and open spaces, because if I hadn’t been introduced to them when I was growing up I would probably still be trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Or I'd be taking this time between Halloween and Thanksgiving arguing with people who started playing Christmas music on November 1st.
About the Author
Matt is the Communications Manager for Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. After serving with TMPF as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2017 he worked to promote AmeriCorps programs throughout Nevada for four years and is excited to be back at the place that started his journey in the nonprofit world. Matt studied Radio Television Production at the University of Montana and brings over a decade of experience to the TMPF communications team. When he isn't working you can find Matt watching baseball, hiking with his family, or being pulled behind a boat.