20th Anniversary

ac20Celebrating 20 Years of Service throughout Montana

We are commemorating two decades of service to Montana communities on Friday, September 12th. Join us in service and in celebration in 7 different communities as we reflect on the contributions of AmeriCorps over the past twenty years.

Plus, when you volunteer, you receive a free 20th Anniversary t-shirt!

The public is encouraged to attend!


Join Governor Steve Bullock, the Montana Commission on Community Service, AmeriCorps Alumns, and current AmeriCorps members for birthday cake, a simultaneous swearing-in, and a 20th Anniversary celebration at the State Capitol!
When: Friday, September 12th at 11:00AM
Where: Governor's Reception Room, Montana State Capital

Participate in a service project with the Montana Conservation Corps and the Prickly Pear Land Trust, AmeriCorps members and alums, and an appearance from special guest, Governor Steve Bullock. Volunteers will help build a bridge and perform trail maintenance at the corner of Oro Fino Gulch and Arrastra Gulch in the Helena South Hills Trail System. Please view the map for directions.
When: Friday, September 12th from 8:00AM-10:45AM
Where: Oro Fino Gulch and Arrastra Gulch

*Please park at the parking lot 1/4 mile up Arrastra Gulch


Join the Montana Conservation Corps and the City of Billings on Alkali Creek between Aronson Avenue and Main Street with clearing out debris and trash, moving displaced soil, and laying down and staking erosion mats.
When: Friday, September 12th 9:30AM-12:00PM
Where: meeting and parking location TBD
*lunch will be provided


Join the Montana Conservation Corps and the City of Bozeman with a project of clearing out barb wire from the Story Mill Park before it is transitioned over to the city!
When: Friday, September 12th, 3:00PM-6:00PM
Where: Story Mill Park, in the northeast section of Bozeman
*project will be followed by a BBQ


Help beautify the parking lot at the Central School Museum with the Montana Conservation Corps, the Kalispell Downtown Business Association, and the City of Kalispell.
When: Friday, September 12th from 10:00AM-1:00PM
Where: Central School Museum, 124 2nd Ave E, Kalispell
*t-shirts, food and drink will be provided


Assist in a weed pull with Big Sky Watershed AmeriCorps members from Trout Unlimited-Clark Fork Watershed Project and Clark Fork Coalition on the afternoon of September 12th.

We will meet at 1:00pm on September 12th behind the PEAS farm where Mountain View drive dead ends above Woodland Drive. Volunteers should bring water, work gloves if they have them, and boots or shoes they don’t mind getting mucky and wet. We will be pulling buckthorn along Rattlesnake Creek for about 2 hours during the afternoon. Volunteers can e-mail Larissa Lee at llee@tu.org or call 973-975-6409 if they have any questions.


Ennis School Garden Shed Construction
Join Food Corps and the Big Sky Watershed Corps in a garden shed contruction at the Ennis School.
When: Friday, September 12th beginning at 8:00am
Where: Ennis Elementary School
Contact: Ethan Kunard, bswc@3rivers.net; 682-7289


Eurasian Watermilfoil Weed Pull
Join the Big Sky Watershed Corps, Fish Wildlife and Parks, and Broadwater Conservation District for a weed pull of the Eurasian Watermilfoil.
When: Friday, September 12th, 9:00am-12:00pm, lunch from 12:00pm-1:00pm
Where: Cottonwood Channel, North of Townsend in the Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area
For questions on directions, please contact 266-3146 ext 104

Since its inception in 1994, AmeriCorps has provided a cost-effective solution to some of the toughest problems. Montanans appreciate the support when natural disaster strikes, enjoy the clean parks and vast trail system, and embrace the tight-knit community of volunteers. As a pathway to economic opportunity, AmeriCorps has built community leaders that serve Montana each day. AmeriCorps will continue as a pipeline to public service while providing valuable skills and experience to keep Montana at its best.

Since 1994:

  • more than 7,900 Montana residents have served
  • members have served more than 7.4 million hours
  • members have qualified for Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $17,010,000.
  • Members have tutored and mentored children, supported veterans and military families, provided health services, restored the environment, responded to disasters, increased economic opportunity, and recruited and managed volunteers.


20th Anniversary Spotlight

For the next year, the Governor's Office of Community Service will be spotlighting key contributors to AmeriCorps in Montana from the last 20 years. Be sure to look for the spotlight each month on this page or in our newsletter to learn more about the impact and history of AmeriCorps in Montana.


Steve Nelsen, first Executive Director of Montana Conservation Corps

As the Montana Conservation Corps arrived at the AmeriCorps "Kickoff" in Sept of 1994, we were overwhelmed with the size and aura of the crowd that filled the front of the Capital lawn. The Office of Community Service was less than  3 months old yet the Director Mary Blake and the newly appointed Commission had managed to convene the Governor, University Presidents, Legislators, and a couple thousand enthusiastic folks for a rousing launch of Montana's National Service endeavor. It had the feel of a pep rally with a righteous, virtuous cause.  

A couple of MCC's Corps members had signed up literally the night before and none of us really understood what this AmeriCorps thing was. MCC received its formal grant award about 30 days earlier and had been frantically putting together the components of our program - hiring staff, finding vehicles, securing projects and recruiting Members. It was like we'd been running a marathon and the Kickoff event was the finish line where we could look around and see that we were part of a truly amazing happening.  

The preceding spring/summer had been filled with 16 hour days putting together an AmeriCorps grant application based on Guidelines that were still being refined. I would have to compare it to building a house while the blue prints were being drawn. The saving grace was a young, bright and passionate staff at the newly formed Corporation for National Service who put the meat on the bones of AmeriCorps based on President Clinton's legislation. In Montana we were blessed with a newly elected Governor, Marc Racicot, who embraced national service in his first State of the State address and created the Office of Community Service as Montana's vehicle to implement AmeriCorps.

In retrospect, the AmeriCorps launch was a true highlight of my professional career. The optimism and passion of everyone involved with the beginning of this national movement was exhilarating and contagious. I applaud the efforts of those who have continued to build and grow this effort, and thank all those involved in those early days.

Bobby Grillo, Regional Supervisor, Montana Conservation Corps

Bobby Grillo, Regional Supervisor, Montana Conservation Corps

I was fresh out of college in the Fall of 1996 and was determined to make my way out West- far away from my home ground on Long Island and my years of undergraduate schooling that had me living in the Midwest. I was looking for new adventures and the promise of working hard in the outdoors (much like the AmeriCorps members I currently supervise with the Montana Conservation Corps). Based in Oregon, EnviroCorps was a program of the now defunct Northwest Service Academy that was focused on putting crews on the ground to restore watersheds in Portland's metro area.

That season eight strangers came together, toiled in the always soggy Pacific Northwest, to make lasting contributions to the health of several previously hammered urban waterways. We spent much of the time battling the invasive Himalayan Black Berry - lopping, tearing, and grubbing our way to bare ground on the banks of small streams in which we could recreate healthy riparian conditions by planting native shrubs and trees. It was hard work both physically and mentally - people get grumpy working in the rain every day, breaking their backs. Somehow our Crew Leader always knew the right things to say and do and by the time it was all over, the eight of us felt like a family.

That first year with AmeriCorps I learned that so much about myself, the values of service, and the importance of giving back to your community - the experience changed the course of my life. Almost twenty years later, it is a privilege for me to provide a similar experience for young people that want to work hard and serve the great state of Montana. The National Service experience continues to positively impact the places in which young people serve. However, more importantly, the members themselves continue to find personal growth, come to understand the values of service, and participate in one of the most formative experiences of their lives - here is to another twenty years of AmeriCorps.

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