They come from all over the state of Virginia. Must are attending college but some have just graduated and a few are older. These are the young people that will lead our Youth Corps this summer.
Sixteen parks will host three week programs as part of our Youth Conservation Corps (overnight program) or Youth Service Corps (day program). The three weeks are scheduled in two sessions and the first session begins this Sunday, June 21st.
This is the eighth year Virginia State Parks has offered this summer program for youth. Young people aged 14-17 interested in the environment are invited to volunteer for a three week session as part of our Youth Conservation Corps. We pay a $500 stipend to the young people and provide housing and food for the program. In addition to hard work on environmental stewardship projects and other work benefiting the parks, the youth participate in park recreational activities and programs offered on the park and local area culture, the environment and the natural world. This year we had over 700 applicants for about 130 slots.
It is also the eighth year for our Youth Service Corps. This day program also lasts three weeks. We partner with a third party agency dealing with significantly at risk youth (those involved with the court system or economically disadvantaged). This year the YouthService Corps will be held at Pocahontas State Park, Wilderness Road State Park and Southwest Virginia Museum. This program also pays a $500 stipend. Sadly, we have trouble finding the partners for this program (which continues to amaze us). All we ask of the Youth Service Corps is that they find the Supervisors for us, select the youth from their client list (age 14-17), provide the transportation to the park, and provide lunch. We provide the money for the supervisor and crew stipends, we only ask that the partnering organization cut the checks.
This past weekend the Youth Conservation Corps supervisors and some of the supervisors from the Youth Service Corps, attended our annual three day training. Supervisors received basic program information, specifics on what works best in the program, and opportunities to discuss the program with their co-supervisors. On Friday representatives from the host parks arrived to assist with the coordination. All Supervisors also received their First Aid Training.