City Year Milwaukee believes an important part of an AmeriCorps member's service year is being connected to the city they serve. We want our AmeriCorps members to know the neighborhoods that they live and work in, as well as the multiple diverse areas of Milwaukee. However, during the rush of Basic Training Academy (BTA) and AmeriCorps members’ commitment to their schools, maintaining a work-life balance can be a challenge. Whether an AmeriCorps member is a Milwaukee native or new to the city, we created the BTA Bucket List to encourage them to explore different parts of the city and to set a precedent that we hope remains throughout their year of service: balancing a commitment to social justice with self-care and fun

Below, the first-place winner of our BTA Bucket List challenge shares photos of his activities and his reflections on Milwaukee so far. Stay tuned for our second-place winner.

First Place Winner: My name is Paul Davidson and I am originally from the Washington, D.C. area, but I ventured out to the University of Wisconsin for my undergraduate degree.  After graduation in May 2015, I headed back east for a position in student engagement at Virginia Tech.  I really enjoyed working with students, but wanted to head back to the Midwest and serve in an area where tremendous achievement gaps continue to persist.  I am currently serving at Bay View High School in a 9th grade Biology class, but I am also executing Algebra interventions, serving as the Civic Engagement Coordinator, and the Leadership After City Year (LACY) Liaison.  

Right after moving to Milwaukee the State Fair was going on!  It was a lot of fun going there and eating a ton of delicious foods, including some cheese curds and cream puffs.  Tip: a lot of bars and restaurants have free shuttles, so you can avoid paying for parking or cabs.

Wisconsin isn’t on the coast, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any beaches.  We are lucky to have many beaches on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Bradford Beach is a beautiful place to go for a walk, ride bikes, or play volleyball with friends.  

In the historic Third Ward there is the Milwaukee Public Market, a year-round market that has food from countries all over the world and much more. 

Milwaukee has been great so far.  There is a lot to do outside of the school day and many forms of entertainment are either free or at a very low cost.  We are also lucky to get Teachtown’s Key to the City, which provide us free or deeply discounted admission to many museums and theaters throughout the city.  I am excited to continue checking out more of the festivals and different neighborhoods.  Finally, I am looking forward to getting to know the Bay View Redcats on a deeper level while building a more exciting and inclusive academic environment for all.  

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