On November the 13th, 2015 Taylor Deely was attending the 2015 Maine Conservation Corps Fall Recognition Ceremony. She delivered a stirring speech about her time with her field crew.
“I’ve got this obsession with the sun. It symbolizes a lot in my life. It’s warm and bright and shines through the trees and fields that I travel past every day. Sometimes the clouds roll in and the sky goes dark and you forget the sun even exists. It doesn’t go anywhere though, it’s still there. You can’t always see it or feel it’s warmth but it’s still there.
There’s also this fruit that I love so much because it reminds me of the sun. I eat an extremely large amount of clementine’s each hitch. Or actually, I mostly hoard them. They are round and orange like the sun. I have clems in my pockets, the dashboard of the truck, the bottom of my pack, rolling under the seats in the truck. Clems really do fill my heart with happiness because they remind me of the Sun, and so, I call my crew ‘Clem Crew.’ Each of these humans give me nothing but warmth, happiness, bright ideas, and have experienced the same sun, or lack of, each day together. Those by your side validate the beauty of your experiences. I’ve shared a lot of myself with these Clems. They’ve watched me grow as a leader and mostly as a person. They know my faults, strengths, fears, opinions, beliefs, what makes me laugh, and the little things I care about most. As a crew we have accomplished a lot. We know what it takes to push past our limits and that having each other has made that possible.
To have someone who warms your hands when you can’t handle the cold anymore. To have someone who gives you a perfectly timed, unexpected hug. Or saw the thief during our hike down. Or someone who can fix anything from broken truck doors to Tanaka pull cords. — My dude man bro, Madison Burris.
To have someone who insists on escorting me through the storm instead of going by myself. Or sprint past me down the trail like a gazelle laughing in the wind. Or teach me so many big words, concepts, theories, facts, analytical reasoning, and pattern recognition. – Mastermind Gabriel Killough-Hill.
Or having someone make you coffee every single morning, experience true laughter and friendship, or discuss equality, acceptance, world views, struggles, misconceptions, feel understood and the same and different and alike. –Maggie Quinn.
Or having someone to help make decisions and go for planning, advice, and reassurance on projects and life without feeling judged or uncomfortable in any sense, ever. And share in the behind the scenes efforts, misshaps, mule adventures, Duffraps and someone who does her best in her vest, and more. — Alaina Dedo.
And lastly, having someone to look out for you, know what you need in difficult moments, offer random acts of kindness multiple times a day, every day, charge my phone, provide secret snacks and Swedish FishTM and a middle seat companion. — Liz Thibault
Ryan told me once; “I care about how you treat yourself and how you treat each other. If we treat each other with respect the work will get done. I guarantee that.” The Clem Crew has sawed through miles of new trail, pulled hundreds of stumps from the ground, swamped more stumps, brush, and trees than is humanly possible, made truckloads of crush and mineral soil, sidehilled for days at a time, moved massive rocks with our hands, dug millions of holes and filled them back in, driven mules and trucks and rock drills and bog bridges, and water bars, and removed more duff than anyone, ever. So here’s to the adventures of the Clem Crew and congratulations on this achievement.