Yellowstone is offering its Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program for the 33rd consecutive summer in 2021—a month-long residential program for young people between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age. Participants must be a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States, its territories, or its possessions. They also must provide a valid US Social Security number.
The YCC experience allows teen enrollees and staff the opportunity to learn, work, and recreate in Yellowstone National Park. The program is challenging, educational, fun, and offers participants opportunities to expand their horizons while building skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. No previous wilderness experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, get along well with others, and maintain a positive attitude are essential for success.
In 2020, due to COVID-19, the park adapted the program for the safety of staff, students, and the visiting public. YCC 2020 became a day program for 6 teens with housing in nearby Gardiner, Montana. No overnight lodging, meals, weekend supervision, or transportation were provided. A very safe and productive program was operated with these mitigations.
For 2021, YCC will host two crews of 6 teens for 5 weeks. Crews will camp in various frontcountry locations in the park 5 nights per week near their work site. Two nights per week, the crew will return to the YCC facility to shower, do laundry, and resupply. The crew will be a “family” pod with no overlap with the other crew. Due to COVID-19, crew members will have access to testing each week.
Teen enrollees will be selected from across the country to participate in this summer program. Enrollees will work 40 hours a week and receive the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour) with daily deductions for room, board, and laundry facilities (~$10/day). Healthy food options will be prepared by staff and youth while camping or provided by the YCC Cook. While this diet might be different than what you are used to, the goal is to provide highly nutritious, healthy meals to sustain youth during a work program. YCC participants will work in a variety of weather and terrain conditions while completing projects which may include: fence and bench building; trail construction and/or maintenance; installing “bear boxes” and trailhead signs; general maintenance work; painting/staining; exotic plant control; and collecting data for citizen science projects and for visitor use management.