The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the procedures in everyone’s daily lives, including the members of the AmeriCorps Cape Cod program.
After ensuring enough housing for the 16 new members of the AmeriCorps Cape Cod program to social distance safely, the 22nd year of the program has become fully functional.
This year’s AmeriCorps Cape Cod members were sworn into duty virtually during the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners meeting on October 7.
“Due to COVID-19 we will be conducting our AmeriCorps Cape Cod year 22 service members swearing-in ceremony virtually,” said Ronald Bergstrom, chairman of the commissioners.
The 16 members joined the commissioners on Zoom that morning from their different locations.
“The cool thing about having a virtual ceremony was that members were able to call in from their individual placements from all over the Cape,” AmeriCorps Cape Cod said in a statement on social media.
A chorus of members smiled as they raised their hands to become visible on their Zoom screens and repeated after Mr. Bergstrom during the AmeriCorps pledge.
“Welcome to the AmeriCorps Cape Cod crew,” Mr. Bergstrom said after they finished the pledge.
Before the ceremony, the 16 members had completed a month of training, including invasive species removal and identification, CPR, first aid, disaster response, marine mammal rescue and power-tool training.
“These 16 members will spend the next year serving the Cape Cod community and addressing the critical disaster preparedness and response as well as the many environmental issues facing our region,” Mr. Bergstrom said.
These 16 AmeriCorps members come from all over the United States, “even as far away as California,” Mr. Bergstrom said.
“Over the past 21 years the AmeriCorps Cape Cod program has provided a benefit of over $29 million in volunteer services to the Cape Cod Community,” he said. “We have served on just about every public-held land, trail, beach and waterway that spans all 15 towns of Cape Cod. The AmeriCorps members have leveraged volunteers and helped foster an atmosphere of collaboration to address the pressing issues facing the environment.”
Nearly 500 people have dedicated a year of their life to serve the Cape Cod community through AmeriCorps.
And more than 1 million people have taken an AmeriCorps pledge and served somewhere in the United States.
“These members are also carrying on a legacy as we enter year 22 of the AmeriCorps Cape Cod program,” Mr. Bergstrom said.
County Administrator John “Jack” Yunits Jr. said he appreciates the work done by the AmeriCorps members.
“We welcome you with open arms,” Mr. Yunits said.
Mr. Bergstrom concluded, “On behalf of the rest of Barnstable County, please know that we couldn’t be prouder to have each of you here, and we anxiously await to see the positive ways in which you will impact this place that we call home. Go forth and do your thing.”