The Virginia State Parks Office of Volunteer Services is part of the Operations Section that I manage. I have taken a personal interest in the program since the beginning and the Director, Gaston Rouse, and I try to visit as many of the crews we can each summer.
Part of the success of the program is Gaston’s hands on management and love of the program and probably mine too. Gaston is also responsible for the basic program design. While he will tell you that he did a lot of research and copied what he found in other successful programs, there is still an art to knowing what the right things to copy are and putting it all together.
But the other key is the wonderful people we have found to be Supervisors for the program.
Typically we have three college aged or older supervisors for ten youth. Finding the right people and sometimes even enough of them and enough of the right sex (since we have all female or all male programs) can be a challenge. In the beginning we thought we would recruit teachers interested in working six weeks of the summer for $3,700. That hasn’t really happened and mostly we recruit college students.
We do “grow” our own. Last summer I blogged about Casey Duvall a young man who has the distinction of being in every program we have had. But there have been others. Just today I was thinking of one, John Wargo, because he found me on Facebook. John started out as a youth in the program and then served as a supervisor as he got older. John is making a career in outdoor recreation. John is working as a Recreation Assistant with the US Forest Service Job Corps. He works with disadvantaged youth facilitating canoeing, kayaking, fly fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, paintball, and other activities.
We have now had a number of our most senior supervisors graduate college and go on to their careers or graduate school. So, we are looking for a few good men and women to take their place this year as Supervisors for the YCC.
If you have never been part of our YCC program, you must be at minimum a rising junior in college and over 18 years of age. We have two three week sessions and successful applicants either work one or the other or both. We also require a training session which will be held June 10-13, 2010 at Bear Creek Lake State Park. All of the details can be found on our webpage and the application is on line. The deadline is noon on February 15th. We provide a program completion stipend of $1,500 and a travel stipend of $350 for each session.
The supervisors work along side the youth on the projects and also coordinate logistics, shopping and menu planning. It is a physically demanding position since you are responsible for the youth 24/7 for the three weeks of the program. But nearly every supervisor we have had would tell you that it’s a rewarding experience.
For more information, call (703) 583-5497 or email v[email protected]