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Forget the Camp, Send Your Kid to Yellowstone National Park This Summer


Looking for a good summer job for your kid? Send them to Yellowstone. Kurt Repanshek photo.

Want to help your kids fight nature deficit disorder? If they're old enough, have them apply to the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps for a summer job this year.

Ever since Richard Louv came out with his book, Last Child in the Woods, there's been much hand-wringing and debate about how to get our kids back into nature.

Well, one way would be to have your teens spend the summer in Yellowstone working with the park's Youth Conservation Corps. Imagine an opportunity to work in and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities in our nation's first national park - hiking, backpacking, and exploring, to name a few - while fostering an understanding and appreciation of Yellowstone National Park and its natural resources.

The Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps program can offer this invaluable experience.

Yellowstone is recruiting for the 2009 YCC program, an eight-week residential work program for young men and women designed to develop an appreciation for the nation's natural surroundings and heritage from their environmental and work experience. This year, a variety of environmental education programs, as well as extensive outdoor recreation programs will be offered, including hiking, fishing, backpacking, ranger led programs, and trips throughout the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Initiated in Yellowstone in 1984, the YCC has been instrumental in teaching conservation. Each year, the YCC recruits young men and women between the ages of 15 and 18 from all social, economic, ethnic and racial classifications, to work together under adult leadership to complete conservation projects such as rehabilitation of trails and backcountry areas, campground restoration, and a wide variety of resource management, maintenance and research projects.

Through this experience, young people expand their job and leadership skills and develop personal values, self-esteem, self-discipline, work ethics, and an awareness of social and environmental issues.

The 2009 YCC program will run from June 20 through August 15. Participants will be required to live on location; room and board will be provided at a minimal cost. Wages will be set at the federal minimum wage. Applicants must be citizens of the United States and be 15 years of age by June 20, but not over 18 years of age by August 15.

For further information and/or an application, please contact the YCC Program Manager by calling (307) 344-2148; writing to YCC Program, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190; or visiting this site.

Completed applications must be sent to the address noted above and postmarked by March 15, 2009. A 30-member camp will be selected randomly from qualifying applicants. The Yellowstone YCC program is funded through donations of the Men and Women of the Loyal Order of the Moose. Since 1989, members of the Moose have generously donated over two million dollars in support of Yellowstone's YCC program.


What a great project. When I was a pre-teen, I went to Quonset Point Naval Base in Rhode Island with the Police Athletic League and had the time of my life. I fired a machine gun, went on the JFK Aircraft Carrier and put out a flammable liquid fire in full firefighting gear. Later on, I became a firefighter.

This is an amazing way to teach youth about nature conservation. And at the same time, helping the citizens of the place maintain Yellowstone National Park. Oh and nice summer job, too!

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