By: Danielle Emmett '14 '15
City Year New Hampshire held it’s third annual Red Jacket Weekend Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18. CYNH alumni gathered throughout the weekend to serve, celebrate, and reconnect.
Over 60 alumni attended the weekend events, representing 10 years of City Year, and representing City Year Boston, City Year New Hampshire, and City Year Miami. The weekend events started Friday when alumni came together to participate in the Reach the Beach - a 200 mile, 24 hour running relay race by running, driving vans, and cheering everyone on! Saturday afternoon, a group of alumni gathered at Livingston Park to clean up some overgrowth surrounding the track at the Gatsas Athletic Complex. The weekend continued Saturday evening when alums gathered for a social at Spare Time Bowling.
Sunday morning there was a strong feeling of community amongst alumni that gathered at the CYNH office for a community meeting. The morning started with breakfast and conversation followed by Executive Director, Pawn Nitichan’s, state of the site. Alumni were able to have an open conversation about where the site is at now, how things have changed, and where the site is headed. Members of the CYNH Alumni Board then led the group in a community meeting which centered around the idea of the Beloved Community. Listening to alumni talk about what the City Year community means to them and why they stay connected was refreshing. It was a welcome reminder that this community is unique and strong because of the people who are a part of it.
Throughout the weekend I was able to reconnect with friends, alumni I served with, and alumni I had not had the chance to meet yet. Coming together to do service in the Manchester community was a great part of the weekend and opportunity to honor City Year's, as well as our own, commitment to service. I think the biggest joy for me was the opportunity that this weekend offered for alumni of all service years to reconnect with City Year, service, and each other. I have participated in RJW for the past three years and each year, I see new faces, providing for the opportunity to meet and connect with alumni from a variety of service years with different experiences. Learning about other experiences, being reminded of the site's history, and hearing updates about what has changed since leaving makes me feel even more connected as time goes on.
Red Jacket Weekend reminds me that it isn't only about my corps year and the people I served with, it is about the CYNH family as a whole, those who came before us and those who will come after us. We are all connected through service; we are all part of the Beloved Community. Events like RJW give us the time and space to physically be present in the community that we are part of together, and to nurture and grow that community. Our community is stronger because of events like Red Jacket Weekend and I am so thankful for all the alumni with which I was able to share the experience.
Check out photos from the weekend here.