Our second-place winner of the Basic Training Academy Bucket List challenge shares her experiences of discovering Milwaukee. Read about Paul's adventures around Milwaukee in the previous post.


Second Place Winner: My name is Haley Woods and I am from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I am a recent graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and I now proudly serve on the David and Julia Uihlein Charitable Foundation Team at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School in a bilingual 7th grade classroom.

CYMKE’s BTA Bucket List encouraged me to explore my new city by offering suggestions of places and events to explore. The first stop on my Bucket List tour was the Wisconsin State Fair. As a born-and-raised Wisconsinite, I annually heard tell of the Fair – especially its illustrious cream puffs – but it wasn’t until this year that I was able to partake. That has been a common theme of my time in Milwaukee: I’m finally getting the chance to explore a city I had only heard of, but had little experience with.

My next stop was Grant Park in South Milwaukee where I was able to take some time for self-care along the shores of the beautiful lake that has always been my neighbor. Also in the first few weeks of my City Year, I began to admire the varied architectural styles that adorn the skyline of this city – for example, the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist across from Cathedral Square downtown. Architecture, green spaces, and gathering places are just a few of the things that make Milwaukee feel so special to me.

During BTA, Milwaukee was presented to us as the “city of festivals,” and even up until now I’ve been hard pressed to find a weekend during which there was not an event to attend. In September I took advantage of the Newaukee Night Market as an opportunity to gather with the community under the twinkling lights of the city, to disrupt the regular routine of my week, and to begin to establish a work-life balance that is healthy for me.

Lastly, one of the things that has made me feel supported during my City Year is the close proximity to my family. I applied to serve where most needed, so I was surprised to hear that the city that could best leverage me as a resource was less than two hours from home. However, having the chance to go home for the weekend or to cheer on the Packers or Brewers with my family has been a true gift this year. I’m looking forward to continuing to involve myself with this city in ever more significant ways throughout my service year.


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