5/7/2013 10:57:00 AM Youth Conservation Corps provides students opportunity to make a difference and make money Organization seeks six Williams area youth for six-week paid stint working in forest on a variety of conservation projects
Youth Conservation Corps members clear thick undergrowth on the Kaibab Forest. Submitted photo
Archaeological restoration, fire preparation and resource conservation are all in a day's work for high school students in the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC).
Judy Tincher, the YCC specialist for Coconino Rural Environment Corps (CREC), is looking for six Williams area youth between the ages of 15 and 18 to participate in the program this summer. The six-week paid program lasts from June 17 to July 26. The teens work 40 hours per week, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The group will meet at the Forest Service office each morning before riding in a crew vehicle to their work site or hiking there. Two young adult AmeriCorps members will supervise the six students.
Tincher is unsure of the type of work the crew will do this year, but last year the crew did trail work, put up barbed wire fencing and worked to protect two miles of archaeological railroad.
"They went out there with metal rakes and removed a lot of the debris around (the railroad ties)," Tincher said. The work protects the historic railroad ties from fire danger and makes them more visible to people.
Conservation Corps members will provide the teens with "no trace" training, which teaches them about outdoor and environmental ethics. Last year, the training was a five-day campout, and this year it could range from two days to a week. A group from Flagstaff and possibly other areas will train at the same time.
"The orientation is usually a fun opportunity to get together with other teenagers from northern Arizona," Tincher said. "It's a great bonding experience."
YCC started in the 1960s and CREC has organized the program for nine years. The idea stems from the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs in the 1930s that put young men to work across the country planting trees, maintaining roads and fighting fires.
"The work that the YCC does is a legacy of that," Tincher said.
The YCC program helps students develop work ethic and teaches them how to work as a team, Tincher said.
"You're out there five days a week, eight hours a day working hard with these other people all summer," she said. "You get to know them pretty well, and the need to cooperate is essential."
Tincher is in charge of hiring the six crewmembers, and said she's looking for "youth who are willing to, and want to, work outside and also get a taste for working with the natural environment."
Seventeen- and 18-year-olds are eligible for AmeriCorps positions, which include a $1,200 scholarship at the end of the six-week program, in addition to their wages.
Tincher said that while some students have never had jobs before, they can list other commitments on their application.
"If they can highlight any of their experiences, whether they're in a school club or a church group or have done anything with a group, a sports team, that's great to add on to their application," she said.
Participating in the program introduces youth to career opportunities in Williams, Tincher said.
"It's a lot of fun and it's a great work program," she said. "I think that's a great opportunity to really spend your summer outside."
Interested students can talk to the Williams High School counselor or apply online at www.crecweb.org. More information is available from Tincher at (928) 679-8161.