By Ali Salzer
Since beginning my term of service in rural Oregon, my motto, maybe you could consider it a mantra, has been: Just Go With It. Serving in a rural community as part of the RARE Program is a way of forcing yourself out into something often messy, unpredictable, and constantly fluctuating. It will require you to consider your own preconceptions, reevaluate your own goals, and draw from a skillset that is more diverse and developed than you thought.
When you show up on your first day and you don’t even know your way around your little town yet – just go with it.
When you need to organize one meeting with the University President, three mayors, two superintendents, and five other government officials, and you have to find a time and place that works for all of them – just go with it.
When you have the chance to travel all over the state of Oregon to participate in trainings, forums, symposiums, summits, and conferences – just go with it.
When the afternoon meeting turns into beers at the local tap house – just go with it.
When you realize there are some real people genuinely interested in the work you’re doing – keep going with it.
You will learn the talents of being spontaneous and present. By participating in and observing the community around you, you will begin seeing what matters to people, and see changes in yourself. Being deeply involved in a community is a life skill, and one that can only be developed through practice.
When I finished my undergraduate degree, I was seeking somewhere I could apply my ideas and thoughts in a real way. It mattered to me to do something I felt would have a tangible impact on individuals or a community. The RARE program has surely been that, and has taught me things I could not have learned any other way.
A bit about Ali Salzer:
- Currently Serving as Tourism Development Coordinator with the Polk County Tourism Alliance – A Travel Oregon Sponsored Placement
- Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, University of Arizona Honors College, May 2016
- People may be surprised… “when they learn that I lived in ten houses by the time I was ten years old.”
Does community development work interest you? Are you looking for a life changing experience in rural Oregon? Learn more about serving with the RARE AmeriCorps Program via our website: https://rare.uoregon.edu/application-process