Team Leader Spotlight: Gurzint Singh with the O’Brien Farm Foundation

Gurzint Singh is the Team Leader for the 2020 Green Team at the O'Brien Farm Foundation.
Gurzint Singh is the Team Leader for the 2020 Green Team at the O'Brien Farm Foundation.

Gurzint Singh is the Team Leader for the O’Brien Farm Foundation Green Team. This is Gurzint’s second summer on the O’Brien Farm Green Team.

Gurzint is studying Mechanical Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland and graduated from Holy Heart of Mary High School in 2019, where he received the Electoral District Scholarship. He is a current member of Engineers without Borders, a group of engineering students that have an interest in grasping a better understanding of ongoing worldwide problems —through listening to student-led presentations and sharing of opinions.

Gurzint was born and raised in Genivolta, a small village in Northern Italy. His parents are from India, but Gurzint and his brother were both born in Italy. Since he moved to Canada, he has called St. John’s home. Gurzint enjoys lifting weights, playing chess, and catching up with friends in his spare time.

Describe your experience with the Green Team program.

My experience with the Green Team program has been more than I could have ever imagined. I will never forget in the summer of 2019, all Conservation Corps employees from all over Newfoundland were united for three days during training at the university, as I was able to meet many people from all walks of life.

In the summer of 2019, I joined the Green Team program as a Team Member of the O’Brien Farm Foundation Green Team. Last summer, on a team of four, I was able to assist in the restoration of the Thimble Cottage, rebuild walking trails, build wooden fences and develop interpersonal and public speaking skills by delivering in-person presentations about climate change to 5 to 10 year-old children.

From this experience with the Green Team program, I was able to learn so much about myself and grow as an individual. I gained valuable hands-on work experience, gained experience in a team environment, and most importantly, I learned how to use various hand tools safely.

This year, I re-applied for a summer position with Conservation Corps NL to be a Team Leader for the O’Brien Farm Foundation Green Team. I applied for this position because I wanted to challenge myself while at the same time, develop essential leadership skills, which will most definitely aid me in the future.

I am happy to say that I am now the Team Leader of a fantastic team of 5, and I can say that I have already learned a lot of valuable skills and experiences through this position.

Gurzint Singh (right) and his team working on a trail at O’Brien Farm

What skills have you gained working as a Team Leader?

I have gained the skills to safely lead a small team in completing many projects that required the use of hand and electric tools. I have gained experience in creating plans for the tasks to be accomplished and then provide regular reports to my superiors regarding the team’s progress.

Delivering online presentations has been a new experience for me, the team was successfully able to create a well detailed 5 minute basic tutorial on how to plant any plants in the comfort of their backyards.

Have you learned any skills that will help you academically or professionally?

Academically, one skill I’ve developed that instantly comes to mind is public speaking. I have become more comfortable in delivering presentations, only because I was able to partake in delivering and creating presentations about climate change as part of my work.

Professionally, having prior experience working with hand tools is something that has helped me tremendously. Having this knowledge gives me the ability to prioritize and assure the safety of the team in the work environment. This helped specifically when applying for the Team Leader position.

What do you hope to work on or improve this summer?

This summer, I hope to work on gaining a better understanding of what it means to be the leader of a small team. I’d like to acquire and improve on valuable team leader skills such as being able to lead the team in completing projects safely, being there for the team whenever they might need me, and assuring that everyone on the team is heard.

I also hope to create fun and meaningful memories with the rest of the team, so that one day we can look back at this experience as one that was positive and unforgettable.

What has been the most interesting part of working at O’Brien Farm?

The most interesting part of working at the O’Brien Farm, is the opportunity to see how much progress a team of 4 or 5 people can achieve in one short summer. As part of the Green Team program, I have seen that the projects that the 2019 and 2020 teams have accomplished will definitely facilitate future plans that the O’Brien Farm Foundation has. This progress will also allow more people to learn about and explore O’Brien Farm.

Has your team faced any challenges this summer? How were you able to overcome them?

A challenge that we had this summer in particular was the weather.
Throughout the summer, the team experienced many days where the temperatures were very high. The heat slowed down the days and made it more difficult to work. To overcome this challenge I made sure that the team had regular breaks to re-hydrate and rest throughout the day.

What is an important aspect of the Green Team Program that not many people are aware of?

Many people are not aware that all you need to become a successful Green Team member is a positive attitude and the ability to learn.

You don’t necessarily need to have any experience with hand tools, working in a team, managing people at any professional level, presenting in front of people or having ever worked at all to become apart of a team.

I consider this as a great learning experience to develop or improve any skills that may be needed, while working with great individuals from all walks of life.

Learn more about the Green Team Program here. You can also follow Conservations Corps NL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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