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Youth Expeditions

In The Field

[Image Description: Eight MCC members standing together on a trail wearing their uniforms and helmets, holding shovels and pulaskis. Five of the members are youth, standing alongside their expedition leaders.]


As a Youth Member with MCC, you will challenge yourself and make a commitment to be part of a tight-knit crew that lives and works together. MCC is a challenging opportunity and a big commitment.  For that reason, we’ve prepared this page with some of the most important things that you need to know to participate in an expedition with us. 

To kick-off, check out our Youth Crew Code of Conduct:


Next, be sure to go through the Expedition Gear List to make sure you have all that you need. On your launch day, we will be checking to make sure everyone has what they need using this same list.

Now that you know what gear to bring, check out this cheat sheet on conservation and field work language to learn:


The projects are often physically demanding!  They also offer a clear sense of accomplishment and meaningful contribution.  We strive for a healthy injury-free experience. To achieve that, we need all crew members to be mindful of safety and wellness in the field. To help you prepare physically (and mentally), here are some highlights of what to expect.

Repetitive Motion — You may be swinging a tool into the ground repeatedly to dig trail tread or using loppers or a hand saw to clear brush from the trail corridor.  These both require the use of muscles which are not necessarily used in day to day life.  The results of this sometimes include muscle aches and strains, and if overdone, can lead to carpal tunnel injuries. 

Heavy Lifting — You will be carrying lumber for trail features or fence braces and removing large rocks from trails.  In Camp, you will haul coolers or bins which contain all the food your crew will need for up to 10 days at a time.  Some of MCC’s most common injuries occur through underestimating the impact of these common tasks. Expect to do a lot, and be aware of when you might be overdoing it. 

Extended hiking while carrying weight — Sometimes, crews engage in projects which are far from their campsite.  Or, the project itself may simply be hiking the length of the trail over a period of days. Hiking with your pack full of gear for the day may be a common part of your expedition.

Work at high altitudes — The thinner air combined with physical activity like hiking uphill may exacerbate breathing difficulties for those with a history of asthma.  While it can be managed, being aware of the conditions and of your own physical ability is the first step.

Work in all weather conditions — Depending on the location, crews can expect rain, snow or extreme temperature swings every month of the year.  Adequate gear and a positive mental attitude are necessities for success!  Summer brings wildfires to the state and the smoke is often a lingering factor that can irritate breathing difficulties. 

Hygiene — Participants may find themselves in remote locations for up to two weeks at a time.  There will often be no access to electricity, toilets or showers. “Bathing” will look much different than having access to running water.