Almost exactly four years I ago I made the walk down the concrete breezeway and scanned the porch pictured above filled with a hundred or so college-aged seasonal staff catching up with old friends or making awkward introductions with the many new faces surrounding them. When I stepped foot onto the porch, I was as "green" as they come not having a clue of the change that was going to happen inside of me over the course of the next 3 months.
Like the many other surrounding me, I greeted those around me in assembly line fashion saying who I am, where I'm from, and the school that I attend. Almost everyone on the porch had previously volunteered with the organization, but I heard about this opportunity through the grapevine, randomly applied one evening, and somehow ended up getting hired. This porch was the cornerstone of all facilities, yet I didn't have the slightest clue of the history or the importance of the elongated wooden structure that I was standing on.
We spend the next two weeks on this porch learning about various construction techniques, conflict resolution, project management, and a variety of other topics, which helped us prepare for the summer where around 15,000 volunteers from all over the country would travel to serve in some of the most forgotten areas in America. These two weeks were mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting, but it ignited a flame within me that's impossible to extinguish.
Looking back on that day four years later I can say that my passion for service and understanding others began to slowly, but surely evolve during that time on the porch. At the end of that summer, like many other "summer staffers" for the organization, I thought that the summer of service would be my last because of other responsibilities, but that summer began a tradition of stepping onto that porch every May for the next 4 years.
Last night I arrived back on the porch to start a new chapter of my life but on the other side of training. Being given the opportunity to use my experiences and skills to train almost 130 "summer staffers" is an opportunity to help ignite passions within each person in the same way that these passions were ignited within me four years ago.
Regardless of the late nights, long training sessions, and overall hectic days, I am glad to be "burning the candle on both ends" while working on the porch and running this coffee company because passion and love for what you do trumps all.
Kyle Ducharme - Co-Founder