The deadline for applying to the Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) this summer is April 11th.
The YCC is a unique service learning experience for youth aged 14 to 17. The program will be hosted this year in thirteen state parks, with several of the programs working in the host park as well as another nearby park site. There are two sessions, three weeks long. Youth are selected for one of the sessions and live and work in the park for three weeks.
Under the leadership of usually three adult leaders as well as park staff, the youth perform mostly natural resource projects. Trail work, invasive species removal, landscaping, and erosion projects are some of the projects. The youth are also responsible for preparing meals (again, under the leadership of the supervisors), keeping their living area clean and being responsible with their uniforms and gear.
Youth live in bunkhouses located in our state park campgrounds or other housing designed for volunteer groups. Supervisors post pictures of the crew’s efforts on a special Flickr site for parents and friends to keep in touch with the program.
The Virginia State Parks YCCprogram has a reputation of being a life changing event for the participants who learn about the environment, the value of volunteerism, the history and culture of the area, teamwork, and basic work ethic and citizenship skills.
Youth participants that complete the three week program receive a stipend of $500. The program usually meets volunteer service requirements that many schools are setting for graduation.
Youth are chosen based on their responses to the questions on the Youth Conservation Corps application. With the April 11th deadline rapidly approaching, I recommend check out the web page, or call Gaston Rouse, Director of Volunteer Services for Virginia State Parks at (703) 583-5497.