RICHMOND – Virginia State Parks are currently recruiting qualified candidates for the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program for 2024. Eligible applicants must be 14-17 years of age and going into at least their first year of high school.
Crew members will live and work in one of 42 Virginia State Parks for a two-week session while completing trail maintenance, basic construction and park beautification projects led by adult crew leaders and park staff.
Applications are accepted until March 15.
The program session dates:
1st Session: June 16 – 29
2nd Session: July 7 – 20
“Participants will find this program to be both challenging and rewarding,” said Youth Engagement Coordinator Scarlett Stevens. “This program is not a summer camp. No prior outdoor work experience is required, but participants should expect to spend their weekdays working hard in the heat, and weekends exploring the natural beauty of Virginia.”
Room and board are provided, and crew members will receive a $750 stipend at the end of the two-week session. Applications must be filled out by the youth rather than another family member or guardian.
For more details on how to apply for the program visit, https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/youth-conservation-corps.
HISTORY OF THE YCC
YCC was developed after the success of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program, created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. This program for men, ages 18 through 25, provided a paid opportunity to travel and complete projects on public lands. CCC crews built much of the original infrastructure in Virginia’s six original state parks that opened in 1936. Like their CCC predecessors, YCC crews work on public lands maintaining trails and constructing legacy projects that will serve Virginia State Parks’ guests for years to come.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of State Parks adopted a two-year pilot YCC program in 2000. During each of those two years, there was only one crew at one park, but the program expanded to upwards of sixteen crews each summer. The pilot program informed the Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (VSPYCC) as it was until 2022. In 2023, the program was updated and shortened to two weeks, and a greater emphasis was placed on career development and conservation education.
The mission of YCC is to connect Virginia’s youth with the natural world through a structured program of meaningful service projects on public lands. Youth build trails, friendships, environmental literacy and self-confidence as they work to preserve access to the outdoors for generations to come.