The Youth Conservation Corps. The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) consists of youths, ages 14 to 17 that are selected to participate in one of two, intensive three-week residential programs each summer. During this time participating youths are organized into YCC “crews” that live and work in various Virginia State Parks. Participants are supervised by state park employees and crew supervisors. The YCC program objectives are for its members to learn conservation, preservation and construction skills. Additionally, the program also teaches young people skills and values that will help them in future workplace and personal situations.
Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park, in Rice Virginia was lucky enough to receive a visit from a sixteen member crew of this summer’s YCC program. During their time here they were supervised by Park Manager Chris Calkins, Park Ranger Ken Townsend, and Park Interpreter Samuel Wilson, Jr. The YCC crew participated in several projects, including removing and installing a new entrance sign at the historic Overton-Hillsman Farm House Museum, removing bulbs around the visitor center’s entrance sign, mulching, reconditioning picnic tables, and applying weather treatment/ wood preservative on trail bridges.
The YCC took a break from their physical labor with two unique day-long trips coordinated and hosted by Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park. Their first trip was toHolliday Lake State Park; both located in Appomattox Virginia. Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Park Manager, Chris Calkins accompanied the crew to these locations. At Appomattox Court House National Historical Park the crew enjoyed several interpretive programs. The programs tackled the subject matter of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. In addition, other programs and exhibits described cultural issues, including how residents were affected by the Civil War. After their visit to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park the crew stopped for lunch at Holliday Lake State Park. There they enjoyed the delicious offerings of the concession stand while taking in the scenic views of nature at its best.
The YCC crew’s second trip came at the end of the week to Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg Virginia. During their trip to Pamplin Park, the YCC crew and Sailor’s Creek’s own Samuel Wilson Jr. visited the Tudor Hall Plantation and a military encampment. There they learned about the civilian and military culture of the American Civil War period. They also toured the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier exhibit hall and took a guided battlefield interpretation of the April 2, 1865 Petersburg battle known as “The Breakthrough.” This Union victory forced General Lee to evacuate Richmond and Petersburg, leading him to Sailor’s Creek just four days later on April 6, 1865.
Overall, the visit by the YCC to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Park was successful. The participants learned useful skills and the Sailor’s Creek staff enjoyed hosting such enthusiastic youths.