Give back to nature while building lifetime skills
Applications are open now for adults of any age to join the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps (VSCC) for service beginning on May 17. Applications for the 450 and 675 hour programs close on April 30.
The VSCC is an AmeriCorps program that operates in Virginia State Parks and participants serve in park locations throughout the Commonwealth developing and leading interpretive programs and maintaining and enhancing trail systems. The programs vary by hours of service and each program allows you to build new life skills while giving back to nature.
The 450-hour program focuses on the park trails and service opportunities in Virginia State Parks during the summer months. Depending on their site, members may also assist with trail maintenance and construction as well as with resource management projects. Members of the 675-hour program focuses on delivering interpretive programming to park visitors with the goal of expanding visitor knowledge of the natural world. Participants of both programs will work with park staff to recruit volunteers and lead volunteer service days in state parks and natural heritage areas.
“We’re looking for members that are willing to learn and are comfortable working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions,” said Dorie Stolley director of the office of community engagement and volunteerism for Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees state parks. “Members gain hands-on experience and leadership skills by coordinating volunteer projects, assisting in the management of programs, and leading interpretive programs. This program will help people build job skills that they can take into many different fields, especially in land conservation.”
Benefits of joining the VSCC include training in interpretive techniques, first aid, canoe/kayak trip leadership (depending on park), and professional mentorship from park staff. Members receive a bi-weekly living stipend, along with an education award of up to $2,474 upon successful completion of service. Members who are not provided with park housing receive a housing stipend.
“This program is ideal for nature enthusiasts of any age who want to help visitors get the most from their time in a park, from learning about wildlife or astronomy to hiking, nature journaling and canoeing,” said AmeriCorps Program Director Kellie Mattingly. “We’ve seen an increase in older adults applying to the program to add new skills to their resume or to give back to the parks they have cherished for years.”
Applications for the 450 and 675 hour programs close on April 30. More information is found on the Virginia State Parks website.
Leave a Reply