MCC Youth Conservation Corps Crews (YCC) work on a variety of conservation projects; YCC leaders work are trained and enrolled in AmeriCorps with MCC are placed with a Forest Service District, and lead groups of local teens on day projects. There is no overnight camping with the members, and leaders will return home every night to their Forest Service Duty Station.
Here is what a normal day looks like: Meet your crew at the Forest Service office at 8 am for morning stretch/safety circle, complete a full day of project work on the district, lead an afternoon stretch circle, then return to office for a CORE lesson and head home for the day.
Below are some examples of the work you will encounter as a YCC Leader.
Trail Maintenance and Construction
Our crews maintain the hiking, biking, stock, and ATV/Motorized trails the public loves to enjoy. The demands on our recreational infrastructure are at all time highs and the work we do is critical for the public to enjoy quality experiences on public lands. This work includes:
- Clearing trails of downed trees
- Cleaning out drainage structures such as waterbars and drain dips to keep the trail dry and help with erosion control
- Building bridges to help transport user groups across waterways
- Building turnpikes & puncheons to raise the trail surface in wet/muddy areas
- Brushing the trail corridor
- Building retaining walls to support the trail surface in vulnerable areas
Recreation Space Maintenance and Construction
Our crews do a variety of large landscape conservation work with the goal of protecting intact ecosystems in the face of dramatic climate changes. This includes:
- Managing invasive weeds (hand pulling, applying herbicide, biological control)
- Planting trees and shrubs for erosion control and habitat improvement
- Seed collection
- Fencing - this could include replacing barbed wire with wildlife friendly fencing or removing fencing all together
- Improving Sage grouse habitat through conifer removal
- Installing Bear Boxes
- Road Maintenance
- Facilities Maintenance
Behavioral Health Management and Discipline
Leading Youth is a rewarding yet challenging experience. MCC will provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your crew. YCC Leaders will have the opportunity to receive training in facilitative leadership, behavioral health support, and managing behavior using restorative justice to ensure they are adequately prepared to lead Montana teens! YCC crews also have the support of their Forest Service partners.
One of the most rewarding aspects of leading a Youth Conservation Corps Crew is the opportunity to mentor the next generation of land stewards. You will need to be patient, kind, supportive, and sometimes creative in your approach. YCC Leaders have the chance to be a significant part of a young adult's life, while also having a positive impact on pubic lands in Montana.
Teamwork and Curriculum Facilitation
Youth Conservation Corps Leaders will lead a crew with a co-leader and must utilize teamwork and co-management skills to create a successful expedition for their participants. Leaders will also be responsible for facilitating educational and leadership lessons that compliment the work we do in the field. At MCC, we believe that when we meaningfully connect to a sense of place, to other people, to a sense of personal power, and to pathways into the future, we connect to a sense of purpose. These 4 Ps (place, people, power, and pathways) provide the foundation for our field curriculum.
Develop Strong Project Partner Relationships
YCC Leaders work directly with a Forest Service District; teens are hired by the Forest Service and come from the local community. These opportunities are vital to providing teens in rural Montana with additional options for their future. YCC Leaders are responsible for maintaining good relationships wit these partners, with an emphasis on good communication and response to feedback. MCC Youth Program Staff are close allies in this partnership and are there to support leaders in these relationships.
Want to learn more about specific YCC crew projects? Check out these projects from previous years to get a sense of the great work that has been accomplished by our crews!
Trail Maintenance with the Ksanka Ranger District
YCC Crews do a lot of trail work! This YCC crew worked with the Ksanka Ranger District in the northern Montana town of Eureka! This crew was re-establishing tread after it had been washed out due to Spring erosion. They also cleaned out water bars and drainage structures on the trail, which helps prevent future washouts! Often these districts have way more miles of trail than they can maintain with their district employees; YCC crews provide vital help to keep trails like these open for the public!
Recreation Facilities Maintenance with the Judith Ranger District
Our YCC crews maintain a large amount of public recreation spaces, including cabins that are utilized as rentals for the public. This crew worked with the Judith Ranger District around White Sulfur Springs. The crew spent many days cleaning and maintaining 31 campsites which included cleaning fire wings, trash pick up, sanding and painting tables, fixing near by fencing and more. A few of the days they spent stacking firewood to local cabins in the Crazy Mountains. The crew worked hard to fix a few cabins to a good standard of clean that is livable for public to rent and stay in.
Wildlife Surveys in Eureka
Occasionally YCC crews get to do wildlife surveys! This crew was doing amphibian surveys which included netting tadpoles and frogs to get accurate counts and releasing them back into the waters. That work also included using electro-fishing techniques to survey those same streams.