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Youth Conservation Corps

Do you have a 14- to 17-year old child looking for a great summer experience while earning a generous stipend? The consider the Youth Corps through Virginia State Parks.

The corps program aims to promote youth development, including disadvantaged young people, and provide a cost-effective way to raise environmental awareness and strengthen the stewardship of Virginia’s valuable natural resources. The program combines work experience, education, and life skills within the framework of environmental and community service. Crewmembers receive a $500 stipend for successfully completing the program.

Projects youth could participate include:

  • The Youth CorpRestoration and preservation of wetlands, stream banks, endangered species and other wildlife habitats
  • Foliage restoration, water quality testing, removal of non-native plants and weeds, watershed work, nursery management, landscaping, mapping, surveying, recycling and other community improvements
  • Trail restoration and construction
  • And much more

Youth Corps projects are visible, tangible and meaningful. Crewmembers often return to the parks where they served and appreciate their projects for many years. Projects have educational aspects, are environmentally sound and fulfill an unmet need in the park.

Youth Corps projects are visible, tangible and meaningful.

Via the Youth Corps Program Elements page:

Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) – This is a three-week residential program. Crews live in the park for three weeks. Work generally takes place in the daytime, and environmental education and adventure opportunities fill evenings and weekends. Crewmembers work and live as a team. Crewmembers also complete several projects throughout their park. Recruitment is targeted to attract youth from diverse backgrounds. Young people with a strong background in environmental education are encouraged to apply, but young people who have never experienced a park setting are welcome as well. An executive director and YCC coordinator handle the recruitment and selection of crewmembers and supervisors. Selection is based heavily on the quality of responses given in the application. Site selection and project planning are handled by park staff.

The program combines work experience, education and life skills within the framework of environmental and community service. C

The Youth CorpYouth Service Corps (YSC) – Through this non-residential program, service is used to re-engage at-risk and court-involved young people with their community and the environment. It runs Monday through Friday. Young people generally arrive at the park’s corps site at 8 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m. The state parks partner with local youth service providers or organizations that generally work with at-risk youth. The partner provides meals and transportation and selects participants. Generally the partner also provides staff experienced in supervising the youth involved. Environmental education and adventure programs are offered in lieu of work during the day or added on the weekends or evenings, depending on the agreement with the partnering organization. Agencies that help at-risk youth and interested in learning more about this program should contact us.

The Youth CorpYouth Development Corps (YDC) – This is a weekend program held during spring and fall. Crewmembers arrive on Friday nights, prepare a meal and set up camp. On Saturday, they work on a conservation project, much as in the YCC, but of course, the scope of the work is limited by the short duration of the event. This program is particularly helpful to parks that lack adequate facilities to support longer summer programs. On Sunday the young people take part in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing and interpretive hikes. This program is still in the planning stages.

Of the three programs, only the YCC requires potential participants to fill in an application form. The other two are by invitation of the executive director.

Learn more about the Youth Conservation Corps.

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