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Summer Jobs, Some Paid, Some Volunteer, Abound For Kids In National Parks


Youth Conservation Corps positions are open across the National Park System. NPS photo.

A great way to get your son or daughter into the outdoors this summer, and possibly have them earn some money at the same time, is to have them apply for one of many jobs that exist for teens across the National Park System.

From Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland and Virginia to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in California, there are jobs to be had through the National Park Service's Youth Conservation Corps program.

Here's a look at some of the opportunities teens can apply for now:

* Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland/Virginia

The seashore is looking for six students between the ages of 15 and 18 for the Youth Conservation Corp. The students will continue repair work from Hurricane Sandy damage on the Maryland side of Assateague in the Sinepuxent District. The projects will include installing split rail fence, rebuilding boardwalks and landscaping visitor center and headquarters areas. Students will also have the opportunity to work with Resource Management and Interpretation divisions in the National Seashore. Those hired will be paid the Maryland minimum wage currently $7.25/hr. The project work will begin on Monday June 30, and continue until August 22.

Applications may be picked up at Assateague Island National Seashore Visitor Center, 11800 Marsh View Lane, Berlin, Maryland. (Open seven days a week 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) Application deadline is April 3 at 2 p.m. Applications may be dropped off at the visitor center or mailed to: Assateague Island National Seashore, 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, Maryland, 21811.

*Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland

The Youth Conservation Corps program at Catoctin Mountain will run for eight weeks beginning on June 23  and ending on August 15. The program is open to young men and women 15 through 18 years of age. The positions require daily outdoor labor, working in heat, and using a variety of hand tools.

The 2014 work projects include monitoring of fish populations, gypsy moth monitoring, exotic plant control and removal, trail maintenance and construction, and painting projects. Enrollees will be selected through a random drawing. Please note, previous enrollees may only be considered in the event that an insufficient number of new applications are received. The rate of pay will be $7.25 per hour.

Applications may be obtained from local high school guidance counselors or by contacting Becky Loncosky at Catoctin Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, Maryland, 21788. Completed application forms must be mailed to Ms. Loncosky at the above address by April 15.

* Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has jobs for 10 teenagers age 15-18 this summer. Deadline to apply is April 30. No experience is necessary. Participants will be selected by random draw from the pool of applications.

Participants are paid $7.25 an hour for the 40-hour work week. The program runs from June 9 to August 15, and applicants should be prepared to work the entire length of the program. Youth jobs include working as part of a crew to do a variety of manual labor tasks, normally outdoors. The crews perform work such as staining, painting and caulking the exterior of park buildings and work as grounds maintenance (mowing grass, picking up trash, etc.) and trails rehabilitation.

“This is a great opportunity for local youth to give back to their community by supporting their national park while earning some money and learning about careers in federal land management. Not to mention spending a summer outside in the beauty of the national lakeshore,” said Sue Bennett, the lakeshore's acting superintendent.

To be eligible participants must be U.S. citizens and 15 years old before June 9, 2014, but not turn 19 years old before August 15, 2014, the ending date of the program.

The YCC application form is available through high school guidance offices or from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Employee Services Office at 219-395-1721. The forms are also available on the national lakeshore website

* Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park will sponsor an eight-week Youth Conservation Corps program for students between the ages of 15 and 18. To be eligible, applicants may not reach their 19th birthday during the program. Selected applicants will start work on June 16, and continue in the program until August 7. Corps members will earn the hourly California Minimum Wage. Work hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., with every other Friday off.

The program provides young people of the community with excellent hands-on work experience. Work is labor intensive and performed throughout the park. Proposed projects include trail construction and maintenance, resource habitat improvement, and resource restoration. Job development and youth training are truly an investment we can all make in the futures of our children.

Application forms are available from Joshua Tree National Park Headquarters in Twentynine Palms. The application form must be returned to the Human Resources office at headquarters, or postmarked,no later than April 11, 2014. Call Human Resources Assistant Patty Gerhardt at 760 367-5514 for additional information.

* Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is currently recruiting for the 2014 Youth Conservation Corps program, a residential work and education program for young men and women between the ages of 15 and 18. The program is designed to develop an appreciation for the nation's natural resources and heritage through unique educational, recreational and work experiences.

Yellowstone recruits youth from all social, economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds for the YCC program. Corps members work together under adult leadership to complete conservation projects such as rehabilitation of trails, campground restoration and a wide variety of resource management and maintenance projects.

Participants and staff develop their job and leadership skills while further exploring personal values, gaining self-esteem, expanding their awareness of work ethics, and learning firsthand about environmental and conservation issues. Corps members will also participate in evening and weekend recreational activities and discover the many options for careers in the National Park Service and other land management agencies.

Yellowstone will offer two, month-long YCC sessions, June 8 to July 9, and July 13 to August 13. Fifty youth will be selected from across the country to participate in the program.

No previous wilderness experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, getting along well with others, and maintaining a positive attitude are essential for success.

Participants will be required to live on location, and room and board will be provided at a minimal cost. Wages will be set at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Applicants must be citizens of the United States and be 15 years of age by June 8, but not over 18 years of age by August 13.

You can search for more opportunities at this page. Some of the programs offer housing, most do not. Be sure to check into that before you apply.

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