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Paid?

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Not too long ago, during a conversation about teaching rifle marksmanship and history at Project Appleseed events with friends, someone said something along the lines of “but you don’t get paid for teaching.” A few people responded in the affirmative. After this past weekend though, I would have to disagree.

Yes, it is true that we don’t get paid monetarily as we are volunteers, but that isn’t everything. We are paid in the ability to teach and the attentiveness with which our students listen and watch, the teachable attitudes that we get to work with, the smiles, firm handshakes, the look in the eyes, the laughter, the thanks from those who attend our events, watching someone when they make the break through and finally get it after working hard at something, taking away the anxiety of someone as you work through the firing of their first shot ever, the friendships made, the soldier telling you that what you taught him that weekend might just save his life, the child running up to give you a hug, the adult looking at you with respect, trusting that you know what you are talking about, willing to learn from you and do as you say – even though you are years younger. We are given the opportunity to watching the improvement in our students and work with them one on one, through the “easy” parts and through the frustrations, breaking down that barrier and overcoming the challenges. We are allowed to touch and change peoples’ lives. We GET to remember those who have gone before us and honor them by telling their story, our heritage. We have the chance to give ourselves away. These are just a very few of the ways that we are paid, and believe me, it is totally worth every moment of it.

Since last October, I had not been able to really apply myself to teaching a full Appleseed until this past weekend. I had, to some extent, forgotten what it was like to be a teacher, what it was like to be on the line, why I love this so much… This past weekend reminded me.

  
  
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Together at an Appleseed. 🙂

Bickleton, WA – April 21-22, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunrise on a wonderful Appleseed weekend.

Happy Patriot’s Day!

April 19, 2012 4 comments

On April 18, 2011 The Arctic Patriot, a current day blogger, wrote this “Thank you” letter to Captain John Parker. I think it is a very appropriate letter to read and remember as we contemplate the history of this day, 237 years ago. If you think one person can’t make a difference, think again.

Captain Parker,

I know you’re long since in the grave. Nevertheless, I want to thank you for that crazy, defiant, insane act of pointless resistance you committed all those years ago. I want to thank you for standing in defiance of the most powerful military force known to man alone with so few of your townsmen. That act alone, that resistance, likely was enough in itself to see you arrested, your life destroyed. You had to know you didn’t stand a chance against British bayonets and musketry, and you couldn’t have possibly known what would soon transpire because of the pure steel you displayed that day. You stood, sick with the illness that would bring you to death, staring down the British Empire, and you and your men did not falter. How fast and hard your heart must have beat. How sweaty your palms, how dry your mouth as you showed a defiant and brave front to the enemy and to your men.

And could you have known? You and your men stood, knowing the steel that was in front of you was poised to crush you. Could you have known what would happen after your stand? Would you be crushed and abandoned by your countrymen after your stand? Would it be in vain? Would your former friends and militiamen scurry to be distanced from your memory? Would your wives hate you for standing and dying for this one thing, this concept, this freedom? Could you have known? You couldn’t have. Some things just have to be done, even if you just don’t know.

Did you know that day how many would come to your aid? Did you know that you would send the British, your own countrymen, into a rout, bloodied and dying? Did you ever dream in the years before that it would come to this? Did you hold out hope, until that last second, that things would change?

What made you stand? What made you defy law and order, king and country, what made you so enraged and galvanized that finally you said, “no more”, and stood? What made you finally stand and take aim at the uniform you once wore? You were no stranger to the hell of war; yet you left your farm and job behind to lay your life down as a sacrifice. What made you leave your wife and home, sick and dying, to stand for this thing no one could touch, this idea? What did your wife Lydia think? She knew, didn’t she, even before you picked up your gun. She knew what you would do; it was part of who you were. Perhaps she knew before you did. You couldn’t not do what you did.

Then they came. After the alerts and alarms of the night before, there they were, suddenly already within the town. There they were. So close. That’s how it always is though, isn’t it? All the ideas, the bantering, the theorizing, the decisions, they all came to a halt in that second, and it was too late to think, to decide, to debate. There they were. As you watched, the scene devolved and grew tense. You knew what was coming, it was inevitable. Your words calmed and steeled the men, letting them stand. You knew what was coming. They were boys, and men from all walks of life; you had been a man of war. Was it a game to them up until the red columns appeared? You knew though, didn’t you. But just for a second, toward the end, did you think and hold out hope that it would not explode? Did you hope and pray the inevitable would not come?

Then it came.

You saw the rising sun glistening off the dew in the grass, you heard the morning birds singing as if nothing was amiss. You might have noticed the clouds above, or the familiar sights and smells of the town in that moment, that moment that is before, when all your senses explode and bring the earth into infinite focus, an awareness that has to be experienced to be known. The moment before violence. In that moment, you knew.

Then it came.

Did you hear the shot heard ‘round the world? Was it loud and clear, or were your senses overwhelmed in that chaotic second when the world erupted into flame and fire, and the world began to turn upside down? All the fear and trepidation of the day, all the anxiety, released finally in a cataclysmic blast that changed everything. You watched as your men were shot down, unable to stop it all, or help at all. You watched as your cousin was impaled on the bayonet of a countryman, slain with cold British steel.

After it all, when the quiet came, interrupted only by the moans of the dying, when the victorious “huzzahs” to the king faded and the marching columns left, you could have walked away.

You did not.

You could have walked away once again to rest in the arms of your wife, sick with the disease that would be your end.

You did not.

You could have gone back to your Lydia and lived the remainder of it well.

Why not, Captain Parker? Why not, John?

You gathered those who were left, and you did not run from the army that crushed you, no, instead you pursued it and claimed your Parker’s Revenge.

You came. You stood. You led. You returned.

You won.

You knew that, didn’t you? Or did you? You died before the war was over, from the affliction that plagued you that day, all those years ago. But that day, and forever, you won.

I want to thank you John, for what you did. For standing against your countrymen, for leading you men as you did, for taking the flame and fire and musketry. I want to thank you as well for coming back. For coming back … for coming back and fighting, yes, for slaying your countrymen, although from the moment the shots were fired, they were forevermore not your countrymen.

That morning you stood.

You fought for something you could not touch, something you could not see, something you would never see – this idea, this thing, this liberty. You would never know it, yet you fought.

That morning you stood.

I pray that I may stand, whether in peace, or in strife. Because, if I stand, like you, no matter what… I’ve won. Like you.

Thank you, John Parker.

{emphasis added and some slight editing done}

I will leave you with this: “Posterity! You will never know what it cost the present generation to preserve you freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.” – John Adams

Appleseed: New Poster And Banner

April 5, 2012 Leave a comment

We have some incredibly talented folks who volunteer their time to Project Appleseed. Here are a few of the recent projects that they have been working on.

A banner and billboard:

 

A poster (probably my personal favorite) of the Posterity Maiden:

Appleseed: From Coast to Coast

March 29, 2012 3 comments

 

Earlier this month I was asked to write about my experience traveling (literally) from coast to coast teaching at Project Appleseed events in one year. Though this is mostly about my time back east, I also taught at several events in Washington and Idaho. Thanks go to Gwen for proofreading this!

                                                                                      
 
Appleseed: From Coast to Coast
By Western Rose (age: 19)
Volunteer RWVA Instructor and Administrator
 
 

During the summer of 2011, I was given an adventure like none other—traveling from one side of the United States to the other, teaching fundamental rifle marksmanship and the role it has played in our heritage as a nation.

This story really begins in 2006 when I was 13 and my dad asked me if I wanted to go to a Project Appleseed event. I said yes, and since then, I have gone to 50 of the thousands of Project Appleseed events, either as a junior shooter or (more often) as a junior instructor. I have never looked back.

It was in early 2011 that my cross-country adventure really kicked off. I was invited by the Richardsons, an Appleseed family, to come spend seven weeks with them in the summer. Julia James, a woman who has become one of my adopted “Appleseed Mom,” was going to take us Junior Instructors all over the eastern side of the country.

During my time back east, we planned to teach at six Project Appleseed events in the midwest and northeast. We taught in Ohio, Maryland, New York, Michigan, and Indiana, and visited West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. I had the honor and privilege of working with and/or meeting 90 other Project Appleseed instructors.

Most of what I observed during the Appleseed weekends back east is the same as what you find out west. The events were pretty much the same: instructors working as a team; people learning marksmanship, patience, determination, focus, persistence, attention to detail, and, most importantly, safety; families enjoying the weekend and learning about their heritage together.

At the same time, several things were quite different, maybe not for others, but definitely for me. I was in a totally different part of the US than I had ever been before. I was with people I didn’t know well. Basically, I was completely out of my comfort zone. I tend to be quiet. I like to watch, listen, and learn more than talk. For me to step out of that shell has always been profoundly difficult. Public speaking is a challenge, and it was even more of a challenge back east—mostly because I was surrounded by a bunch of folks I’d just met who were wondering “how it’s done out west,” and I was the one who had to tell them. But don’t get me wrong. Everyone  made me feel super welcome and I enjoyed working with them very much. I learned that even though I wasn’t in my comfort zone, I could still have a really fun time. I discovered that I don’t have to know folks for a long time before I can call them my friends. I came to feel at home and accepted.

Some of my favorite memories from my coast-to-coast Appleseed experience are of meeting the instructors whom I had only worked with online; of watching hard-earned hats go to my good friends; listening to the story of our heritage told by someone new; of visiting with a child who needed to take a hydration break; of seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter from attendees and instructors alike throughout the weekend; of watching an 18-year-old amputee instructor teaching her friend, also an amputee, how to shoot; of shooting a cricket and being told that I finally found a rifle “your size!”; of the stories shared during the long hours of travel; of a professional photographer handing me his camera and telling me to use it.

Then there were the historical sites. We toured Boston, Lexington, Concord, and Acton. There are no words to describe how I felt or what went through my head as I viewed the history that was all around me. But I can say that had I never been to an Appleseed and taught my heritage to others first, these monuments, graves, and battlefields would have held little meaning for me.

The entire trip was a fantastic experience. I am thankful for all that both instructors and attendees have taught me, for the ways they have encouraged and inspired me, and how much they have helped me grow as a junior instructor and a person. The trail has been hard, but full of fun and joy. I cannot wait to see where it takes me next! I have the incredible opportunity to pass on what I have learned from them to others, and there is nothing else like it in the world.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

March 25, 2012 3 comments

All from the Old North Church in Boston, MA.