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Love at First Hitch

Two crew leaders and a youth crew stand by a wooden "Scapegoat Wilderness" sign

With MCC, it was love. Not love for someone, or even for a place though I did love where I was. But love for a way of being alive, a way of being a leader. 

I started as a Youth Crew leader completely new to the field, and MCC’s collective growth mindset meant my supervisors encouraged me to try new things and answered my questions along the way. In training, we talked about our mental health, youth behavioral health, work-life balance, learning differences, and more. All of this made me feel supported and enabled me to develop as an attentive, inclusive leader for my crew.

Based with the US Forest Service out of Lincoln, MT, I had some incredible experiences with my Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew that challenged all of us and enabled us to grow. One day, we were tasked with taking down broken wooden/wire fencing and replacing it. I had put up fencing only once in my life with supervision, so I was unsure how to teach the youth to do it. One crew member had been on the quieter side all season, completing her tasks without much chatter about it. On this day, though, she stepped up excitedly, saying she’s a pro at fencing and wanted to teach the crew. It was so cool to see her come out of her shell and demonstrate confidence among her peers. It showed me that I had taken the leadership skills I learned in training and successfully passed them on to my crew.

I’ve decided to come back to MCC for more opportunities to challenge myself while maintaining a growth mindset: jump into new skills, ask more questions, and most importantly, create a space where the youth feel confident to challenge themselves, too. Of course I’m coming back -- I feel like I belong here, and I’m in love.

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