Each year, The Corps Network (TCN), a national association of service and conservation corps, selects a group of outstanding corps members from across the country and honors them at their annual conference in Washington DC.
According to TCN, “These young men and women have exceeded the expectations of their Corps by exhibiting outstanding leadership skills and demonstrating an earnest commitment to service and civic engagement.”
Elamon White began her journey with the VetsWork AmeriCorps program of the Mt. Adams Institute in 2017, after serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy. VetsWork is a career development program for military veterans interested in a career within the public lands or natural resources fields.
“It seemed too good to be true; the VetsWork program was exactly what I was looking for in a career change,” said White. “I wanted to pursue a job in the environmental conservation field and begin a career where I would feel passionate about the work I was doing.”
White has served two VetsWork AmeriCorps terms and has demonstrated dedication to environmental stewardship and community engagement. Serving as a partnership and volunteer coordinator intern, White has increased volunteer work capacity and coordinated many essential projects on the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest.
The district relies heavily on community volunteers to complete projects that allow safe and enjoyable access to recreation activities on public lands. White created a volunteer engagement tool that facilitates communication of volunteer leaders and tracks the progress of projects. She has strengthened existing community relationships and developed new ones on behalf of the district.
In addition to coordinating these outreach efforts, White also led community groups in service and served as the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew leader over the summer season for her district. Volunteer projects she has led include partnering with the Chattooga Conservancy to rehabilitate native river cane along the Chattooga River and working with the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) to enhance the safety of visitors by completing necessary trail work projects within wilderness areas.
White has a deep-rooted belief in the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship.
“I have found purpose in my life and want to continue efforts in protecting and stewarding our public lands so that we have them for future generations.” Through her determination, White obtained a Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator certification and within a year, became the LNT South Carolina State Advocate by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
Outside of AmeriCorps, White has continued her passion for spreading the importance of LNT ethics by engaging, educating, and empowering community groups, particularly girls and women. She has participated with local Girl Scout troops to provide experiential lessons and has also organized hikes with the national group Girls Who Hike to educate and lead by example.
As a result of her outstanding accomplishments during the VetsWork program, White has accepted a permanent position with the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests. “It is amazing the opportunities I have been given in this internship as I serve my community and get things done for America.”
White will be honored for her award at The Corps Network National Conference in Washington, DC on Feb. 13.