March 5, 2010
Youth Conservation Corps Has Made Its Mark in Yellowstone
Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) participants, aged 15 to 18, spend the better part of each summer working on projects that help ensure Yellowstone is well cared for. You may never have seen them in action, but if you’ve visited Yellowstone National Park any time during the past two decades, chances are you’ve experienced the results of their labors.
The work isn’t easy. These young people haul, climb, carry, pound, cut, build, and dig for several weeks at a time, all for the benefit of Yellowstone and those of us who visit. Fortunately they get to do it in one of the most beautiful places on earth, while making new friends, acquiring valuable skills and knowledge, and learning about career opportunities in the National Park Service.
Here is a small sampling of the work the YCC has performed in Yellowstone:
If you feel awed (or exhausted) just looking at examples of these teens’ accomplishments, you’re not alone. But we don’t want to leave you with the impression that the YCC is only about physical labor.
As Mary Wilson, Yellowstone's Volunteer Coordinator, explains, there's much more to it than the work projects...
"Through the YCC experience, young people not only complete work projects, but also develop their job and leadership skills, gain self-esteem, and practice self-discipline," said Wilson.
Wilson added that participants learn first hand about environmental and conservation issues -- as well as careers -- through a wide variety of field-based activities and experiences. For instance, each YCC group spends several hours every week attending presentations and workshops on environment-related topics.
And they don't leave Yellowstone without getting in some time to play in the great outdoors. They also build friendships and experience Yellowstone through fun activities such as backpacking and river rafting.
Moose International and the million-plus men and women of the Moose fraternal organization have donated almost $3 million since 1989 to underwrite the expenses of this important and ongoing program. More than $2 million of this has been facilitated by the Yellowstone Park Foundation since the Foundation's inception in 1996.