Story by Patrick Alves, Photos by Kayla Parr, AmeriCorps members serving on the MFS Investment Management team with Dever-McCormack Middle School

It is very important for teams to bond, especially those who serve as closely together as we do in City Year. It allows us AmeriCorps members to get to know others who we may not get to talk to much when we are at school. Since September, a common request amongst our team, the MFS Investment Management team serving at the Dever-McCormack Middle School, has been to bond more outside of service. Well, ask and you shall receive…

In February, the team found an opportunity to spend a day ice skating. My teammates were nervous and hesitant that day—many of us, including myself, had never skated before. This caused quite a few of us to fall a fair amount. Despite this, we were still enjoying ourselves, laughing, and helping each other out.

I was a slow learner, but finally started feeling comfortable near the end of our time on the ice. Because of this, I became over confident with my abilities and ended up wiping out--I landed on my side, leaving both my legs and one arm in pain that got worse throughout the day. Despite being in so much pain, it was still great fun to learn how to skate. I was surprised how easily it came to me, even though I wouldn’t say that I am a professional skater now.

A few AmeriCorps Members knew how to skate and paid close attention to those of us who never skated before encouraging us as we progressed. Even some AmeriCorps Members who learned quickly ended up helping those who needed more support. It was great to see some teammates step up to help everyone out.

At the end of the day, my teammates and I were happy and the once-inexperienced felt better about their ice skating skills. Doing an activity that so many of us struggled with helped us grow as a team. It was a joy seeing the way that some people stepped up as leaders and helped those of us who were having trouble.

It was an equal joy to see my teammates be vulnerable with each another and take instruction from others. This allowed us to connect and build a culture of trust. From a big picture standpoint, this team building event isn’t too different than service itself. The same confidence my more experienced, skate-savvy teammates instilled in me is similar to the academic and social-emotional confidence we hope to instill in the students we support, and we support them as one strong team.

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