The Working Waterfront

Eight simple rules…

…for being an Island Fellow (and living on an island)

Ben Algeo
Posted 2015-09-23
Last Modified 2015-09-23

Editor’s note: One of the best programs the Island Institute (publisher of The Working Waterfront) ever created is its cadre of Island Fellows, recent college grads who do community service work on islands through the Institute and AmeriCorps. At the annual fellows luncheon in July, each fellow offered comments about their work. Ben Algeo, who is doing energy work on Matinicus and Monhegan, distilled it to these eight rules, which give great insight into island life.

Being an Island Fellow is pretty awesome. You get to live and serve in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with some of the best people you’ll ever meet. You will do things that you never thought you’d find yourself doing, and make the most unlikely of friends.

However, like anything in life, there are some rules that must be followed. So, I present: “Eight Simple Rules for Being an Island Fellow.”

  1. Your bedtime is 9 p.m. This shouldn’t be an issue, as there’s nothing easier than falling asleep on an island.

  1. Take pictures of literally everything you do. Also, try to get an AmeriCorps logo in there (as a funder of the program, AmeriCorps likes to be recognized).
  2. Your pipes will freeze, so make sure you know the number of a good plumber.  In this instance, a “good plumber” is one who is accessible in February.
  3. You will need a pickup truck at some point.  You probably don’t own one, so make friends with someone who does.
  4. Food, a thank you card and physical labor are all acceptable forms of payment for services rendered. Oftentimes, money is not.
  5. The amount of time between the occurrence of a significant event and the last person on the island finding out about it is measured in hours.  You will do well to remember this.
  6. Statistically speaking, you will probably meet your future spouse on an island.  Be prepared for islanders to enthusiastically facilitate this process.
  7. A year is going to fly by, and you will be very sad when your roommate and the second-year fellows leave. Make sure you say something at the end of the year luncheon to remind them of that fact.

Follow these eight simple rules, and your fellowship will be a rewarding, productive experience.