If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few weeks, you know that my employers love the hell out of their acronyms and other jargon. It’s become a second language for me, since I’m immersed in it, but real-world readers do not have that luxury. That means I have to explain it, which is tedious, and you have to put up with it, which I’m sure is equally tedious. To solve all this, I’m doing a catch-all NCCC jargon post that I will link back to for all subsequent posts. That way you can refer to it whenever something is incomprehensible and I don’t have to type out a dozen acronyms every single time.
NCCC = National Civilian Community Corps. This is who I work for. The Corps doesn’t like the word “employee”, but I am employed by them to do work, so… there you go. NCCC is part of Americorps, which is the umbrella organization for a bunch of different programs that do different types of community service. They are funded by CNCS, or the Corporation for National and Community Service. That bankrolls all of Americorps, including the NCCC.
Spike or On Spike = out on a project site for an extended period. I learned today that the name comes from the Depression-era Civilian Community Corps, which the NCCC is descended from. We’ll be housed in all sorts of places—hotels, schools, church basements, whatever—but the CCC guys just had tents to sleep in, which were secured with tent spikes. So going “on spike” became synonymous with “on a project”.
PT = physical training. The voice of doom: three times a week at 6 A.M., unless interrupted by hurricanes.
Service or National Service = NCCC disdains the word “volunteer” and it doesn’t much like “work” either. They prefer “service” or “to serve”, so we're required to use them as such, but that's what that means.
Chain of Command = according to Firefly, the chain I get and beat you with ‘till you know who’s in command. According to me, it’s all the roles directly below, starting with me and going up from there.
CM = Corps Member. The rank and file. I am one of these.
TL = Team Leader. One of these leads 8-12 CMs.
UL = Unit Leader. In our command structure, seven teams = one unit. We have 21 teams, so there are three ULs on campus. Two of them wear other hats, which are below.
APD = Assistant Program Director. These are part of the NCCC permanent staff, as is the UL. They stay on the Vicksburg campus while we leave on projects. I think of them as the producers, Hollywood-style, for our spikes: they field requests from other organizations to have a NCCC team work for them, make sure the NCCC’s requirements are met, ensure that we’re getting proper housing for the teams, etc. They make it possible for us to go do good works.
DRD-P, DRD-O, DRD-UL = Deputy Region Directors for Programming, Operations and Unit Leadership. These three people are the chief lieutenants of God. They oversee all business on this campus, including everyone discussed above.
RD = Region Director. This is the boss of the entire region. He is responsible for fourteen traditional NCCC teams, plus twenty-one FEMA Corps teams, deployed over an eleven-state area, plus all the staff and running the Vicksburg campus itself. He is the King Under the Mountain and his fiefdom is the NCCC Southern Region. Do not cross him. The official chain of command goes higher than him, but he's the Ultimate Authority as far as I'm concerned.
POC = Point of Contact. The term means the person you get in touch with in another organization, e.g. a guy in the Habitat for Humanity command structure. It also connotes “the guy who does things”. The POC is not a useless functionary. He or she is someone you can actually talk to and get results. Secondary meaning: the person on your team who is responsible for completing a certain task; for example, a CM could be the Food POC for their team and thus responsible for scrounging groceries.
LAA = Life After Americorps. The Corps devotes at least two, possibly three, days per year for members to do LAA stuff, i.e. interviewing for jobs. The term also refers to the Corps teaching us how to apply for jobs.
Specialty Roles = This is a job that the CM must carry out in addition to their 40-hours-a-week-or-more day job. The six roles are listed below. Every NCCC team has at least one of each, usually more. This is not to be confused with FEMA's Specialist Roles, which are said day jobs.
Media Rep = Coordinate with local media and generate publicity for the team.
VST = Vehicle, Safety and Tools. Safety gadfly makes sure everyone is being safe with tools, that the vehicle is in good working order, etc. They are responsible for the tools that the DRDO sends out with each team; if the tools don’t come back, the VST better not either.
CAPper = Corps Ambassador Program. The Corps’ cheerleaders and recruiters. When on spike, they find local high schools to speak at, job fairs, table at colleges, etc. If you’ve seen a NCCC member at one of these places, he or she was almost certainly a CAPper.
SLI = Service Learning Initiator. This CM thinks of creative ways to help the Corps understand the big picture of their service. It’s their job to tell us why we’re doing what we’re doing and why it matters, and to do it in a way that reaches everyone.
Peer Helper = s/he who helps peers on the team work through problems, or just gives them someone to talk to.
POL = Project Outreach Liason. This person is responsible for finding other things for NCCC members to work on, specifically on National Days of Service (5-6 in a year).