“Throughout my journey through the YCC, I have grown in many ways (not just height!). Being in this program has been an incredible experience, and it has given me an even greater appreciation for these beautiful islands that I get to call home. There is an indescribable feeling that I get knowing I am making a difference, and I just feel absolutely connected with the world around me."
- Luke Fincher, YCC Alumni, San Juan Island
Youth Conservation Corps
The Youth Conservation Corps provides conservation and stewardship summer programs for youth ages 12-18. The summer program typically runs for 8-10 weeks June-August. There is one 10-person crew led by 2 adult field guides per island on Orcas, Lopez, and San Juan Island.
This summer program is an excellent resource for kids and families living in the San Juan Islands. The YCC is an opportunity for youth to not only spend the summer outdoors learning about local conservation and stewardship efforts, but actually improving wilderness areas across the islands. Our program is dedicated to establishing an ethic of care and stewardship among youth.
Youth will work closely with program staff, conservation professionals, and partner education programs on stewardship/restoration projects, inquiry-based experiential outdoor education, technical field skill building, and professional development. In doing so, YCC members gain applied job skills and training that can help propel them into their future.
For many of our crew members, this is a first work experience. We emphasize the development of job skills, and the life skills necessary for working as a team. Additionally, the acquisition of responsibilities and skills is interspersed with time for fun and games, which adds joy to the experience not only for our youth but also in our mentors and community partners.
The program looks to provide a range of skills and knowledge for crew members that includes forest stand mapping, technical tree felling, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of native plants, soil testing, silviculture, and wildfire risk reduction, wetland and riparian zone recovery, invasive weed removal, and trail building/brushing.
By the end of each season every crew develops a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing not only that they have grown and changed themselves, but that they have contributed in important ways to their community and to the environment. Through this program, we strive to improve the health of our youth as well as the health of our environment which in turn leads to a healthy and balanced sustainable future. To learn more about our program, take a look our 2020 season report or contact YCC Program Coordinator, Kelsey Kittleson, at .
Summer 2021 Applications closed - season in progress
In 2021, we are holding an 8.5-week season, June 21st – August 19th. Crews are working 4 days (Mon-Thurs), 9:00am-4pm.
Each day, crews will work on stewardship projects for 4-5 hours and will spend the rest of day focused on environmental education activities.
*Crew members will receive end-of-season stipend. Please note, amount is dependent on funding availability and determined at the end of the season. Due to funding constraints in 2021, stipends will be less compared to previous years. Days missed by crew members will be reflected in final stipend amount.
Check out our job description for a YCC crew member here.
With increased demand for programming, we are excited to start offering expanded programming outside of our typical summer months. Stay tuned for more details!