Welcome to Green Gal's blog, where you'll find stories, recipes, gardening updates, and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems. This blog is written by a young woman entrepreneur who is also a beginning farmer-gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Friday, August 12, 2011

End of CYES 2011 Barbecue & Final Counts

I got paid to eat spicy ice cream today. And I didn't have to pay for the two scoops, either.

It was spicy because it was peach habanero flavor, and it was free and I got paid for it because of Rising Sun Energy Center and California Youth Energy Services.

I'll rewind. Today was my last day of working for California Youth Energy Services for Summer 2011. All twelve cities celebrated the successful summer of changing lightbulbs and showerheads, among many other things, in a park in Berkeley.
Buddy, the CYES mascot

I played soccer for the first time in years, remembering after a few minutes why I hadn't played in so long. (I'm quite scared of getting kicked in the shins or having a ball knock the air out of my lungs, so I only kicked the ball when no one else was trying to gain possession of it. I stepped out of the game at the first opportunity, but I did have fun!) I also ate delicious food and had lunch for one final time with my awesome team of fellow Energy Specialists and my two wonderful managers. I performed a skit with them, as well, and cheered for all of them, including my favorite Leader in Field Training, Jasmin, when each of us received recognition for attendance, service and completion of the program, which is considered a training and employment program.

This was the first year the program was in my city, but that didn't stop us from placing 3rd in the program-wide challenge (hence the money for free ice cream...also, the barbecue ended early, so we went out for ice cream in Berkeley before heading home, and we get paid until 6:00 PM...sooo that's how I was getting paid to eat ice cream!). We visited 274 homes, changed 3,365 lightbulbs, replaced 44 showerheads and 244 aerators, and swapped out 60 halogen lamps (dangerous fire hazard and huge waste of energy) for energy efficient 55-watt CFL torchieres for free in the past six weeks.

We passed many of our goals, especially for 15-watt flood lights. Not only did we numerically pass our goals, it certainly felt fulfilling each day to come back to the office knowing we had educated members of our community on energy and water conservation and provided personalized suggestions for them.

We had a referrals race throughout the six-week program within our site. Without these referrals, we never would have fulfilled our house calls goal. We weren't allowed to canvass door-to-door in our city, as other sites were. We relied on word of mouth, advertisements in the newspaper, visits to public places like the farmer's market and the senior center by our outreach manager, news articles, and client and team referrals.I had such a great summer working for CYES and getting to know my awesome team, and I really hope I get an opportunity to return to CYES next year :-)

Here are some more pictures from the barbecue and ice cream today in Berkeley:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cross-Country Bike Ride, and End of CYES

Thomas Fullam, who works for the City of Pleasanton, and two friends are riding their bikes from Oregon to Virginia, updating a blog about their travels along the way. They leave today, and plan to cycle into Yorktown, Virginia, on October 10.

Read the full article that I wrote about the trip on Pleasanton.Patch.com here.

Check back this weekend for a blog post about my experience working for California Youth Energy Services. Today was our last day of Green House Calls, and tomorrow we find out our totals and attend a barbecue to celebrate with all twelve sites. It has certainly been a fulfilling summer.

To read more about CYES, click here.

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