A Message from Our CEO: How You Can Take Action in Response to the President's FY18 Budget

Please use our template messages below to tell Congress and your Community about how these cuts would negatively affect Corps.

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Dear Friends,­

You probably heard in the news that President Trump released his first budget proposal. As we previewed in March, we have significant reason for concern and we need your help over the coming months to ensure this budget does not go into effect.

Why are we concerned? This budget shows where the administration’s priorities are, and it’s not good news for our federal partners.  The President’s Budget proposes the complete elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps and VISTA. It also proposes massive cuts to public lands funding at USDA and the Forest Service of 21 percent, and a 11 percent cut to the Department of Interior, with National Park Service taking a bigger cut at 13 percent. Department of Labor would also be cut by 20% including the Job Corps, YouthBuild and WIOA programs. 

If these cuts go into effect, they would have a devastating impact on our Corps and opportunities for our Corpsmembers and partners around the country. I want to let you know that we are paying close attention to these issues in DC. We are working hard to advocate for the funding Corps need to continue engaging youth and veterans in serving our communities and nation.

While President Trump’s proposals are hugely concerning, Congress makes the final decision on spending. Just this month, we saw Congress provide respectable funding levels for FY17, indicating they may not have the appetite for the President’s proposed level of cuts in FY18. Congress is already expressing concern over President Trump’s budget, and there is near certainty of major changes. However, it’s important to remember there are other ways, beyond funding, in which the President can influence which activities federal agencies prioritize.

This is why we must keep the pressure on our Members of Congress and use our most effective local tools - your voice - to let Congress know that #CorpsWorkPlease use our press release template to reach local media, and template budget and appropriations support letters to reach your House and Senate members today to tell them about the impact these cuts would have on your community.

You are already having an impact! For FY17, AmeriCorps continued at a $40 million increased level over FY15, and the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee (which funds AmeriCorps), both joined a resolution honoring AmeriCorps. Additionally, all the key accounts that fund Corps’ public lands projects received funding increases.

Your ongoing support for The Corps Network, through membership and your advocacy with elected officials, makes this possible. We need your continued engagement with our public lands and national service advocacy. If we reach out to you, please take a few minutes to help! Everyone’s voice is important and we need to make a stand now to send a message these cuts cannot continue for another four years.

The Corps Network’s mission statement is “Strengthening America through Service and Conservation.” Unfortunately, the President’s proposed budget would hurt both service and conservation efforts, consequently effecting our country as whole. We have been through tough budget cycles before, and have weathered cuts for a number of years already, but this is an unprecedented threat. Know that we are working hard for you in DC, but we need your help on the ground. Please use our template press release and letters.

Thank you, as always, for all that you do. Keep up the good work!

Mary Ellen Sprenkel
The Corps Network



Below find template letters you can send to your Members of Congress to request support for federal agencies and funding important to Corps. Not sure who your members of Congress are or how to contact them? See below for Congressional Directories: 
      - U.S. Senate Directory
      - U.S. House Directory



Engaging Youth of Color in the Outdoors

Most Corps engage young adults age 16 and over. However, in honor of Kids to Parks Day this Saturday, May 20, we interviewed a Corps that provides stellar programming for younger kids in their community.

Greening Youth Foundation (GYF), located in Atlanta, GA, provides environmental education programming for youth of color ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade. GYF serves City of Atlanta Recreation Centers, Hollis Innovation Academy, Dunbar Elementary, and Boys & Girls Clubs.

There are three distinct sections of GYF’s education program: CLEAN curriculum, the Green Speaker series, and field trips.

CLEAN curriculum - Children Living Energetically and Advancing Nature - was developed specifically for the demographic area GYF serves . It teaches environmental literacy to youth of color and engages them in the outdoors.

The Green Speaker series gives youth of color the opportunity to hear from professionals in conservation, environmental science, and STEM who look like them; something most youth of color don’t see on a daily basis. After learning the basics about a given career field from GYF, students get to dive deeper by listening to speakers discuss what it’s like in that occupation. In the past, a marine biologist, who happens to be a woman of color, introduced the students to the world of studying the oceans, discussing her work with sea turtles and the human impact on them.

Lastly, field trips play a significant role in this program. During these trips, youth build on the foundation of knowledge learned in the classroom and connect it to being outdoors.

“Our whole focus is really making it fun, interactive, and culturally relevant,” said Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and Founder of GYF. “The demographic we work with is ethnically diverse. We make sure from the music to the activities that it’s all relevant for the young people so that they can relate to it and the images they see are at the forefront of our minds.”

Grounded in public-private partnerships, the program formed on the realization there weren’t many programs for youth of color that address environmental education. In the beginning GYF, did after school programs and festivals to promote environmental awareness and increase literacy among young people about the environment and wellness.

Although GYF has experienced many successes, the program has endured some roadblocks along the way. A big challenge is simply getting children – especially teenagers – outside. They are working on finding a book, or even writing a book, that discusses how to engage children outdoors when there are so many competing factors, like technological devices. GYF wants youth to be in the moment and enjoy the outdoors.

Another challenge is funding. In some ways, this challenge has been addressed through public-private partnerships. For example, Spelman College supports GYF by having college students participate in the program. Managed by Gabriella Logan, GYF’s Public School Initiative Program Manager, and Jared Hopkins, PSI Assistant Manager, Spelman students are trained and certified to teach GYF’s curriculum. The college students in this program – who are called C.H.I.P.S., Collegiate and High School Internship Program – work in schools, recreation centers, and boys & girls club.

“Funding has been very challenging. Getting grants and so forth,” said Ezeilo. “Environmental programming grants are really hard to come by.”

The overarching challenge the program faces is that most environmental education materials are not tailored to youth of color. It is up to GYF to create or customize relevant materials for the audience they serve. This involves developing materials and activities that include language, music, and games that students will relate to. In order to provide trainings that “stick,” it is essential to create a culturally competent way of reaching youth in the outdoors. This is a fete GYF intends to overcome with a book.

Although funding proves to be a challenge, Greening Youth has successfully exposed youth of color to the outdoors. Logan states, “The young people that we work with are not necessarily allowed the opportunity to go outside just to get fresh air during the school day. We find when we come and do programming with the students, we’re exposing them to the outdoors in a different context then they might be used to. We try to engage them in nature and looking at the animals and how all of that ties together. Not necessarily just going outside to play.”

GYF explains that the CLEAN curriculum and Green Speaker series is important because it enables younger kids to envision themselves in conservation or environmental science careers long before these topics are brought up in high school. In fact, science isn’t normally taught in the classroom until third grade.

Through their programming, Greening Youth is committed to exposing youth to these different careers and being outdoors. Their programming positively affects students in that, by the time they are older, students already have a sense of what environmental science is and how it effects everyone, especially the black community.

Logan explains, “Starting at a young age helps to cultivate knowledge of the community’s environment they live in so they will be able to a make a positive change in the future.” Many program participants have indicated their interest in conservation or environmental science occupations in the future. Ezeilo attributes this factor to the “lightbulb going off”.

The relationship GYF has built with children over the years has created a yearning among them to learn more about the outside and their community. For older youth, GYF offers its Conservation Corps and internship programs for college students that give teens and young adults of color the opportunity to actually serve on public lands and gain hands-on job experience in conservation.

“You have to see it, to be it” - Ezeilo’s favorite quote by Sally Ride serves as the premise of her program. Youth in urban communities need to see examples of people in conservation careers that look like them. Participants in the Green Speaker Series serve as models and possibility of what the future could be. Within this program, youth are excited and understand the importance of environmental science and conservation through hands on experience.


Photos of the Month - April 2017

Keep updating those Facebook photos! We'll collect some of our favorite photos posted on Corps social pages within the past month and post them on this blog. Here are some of our favorites from April 2017.

American Conservation Experience

Arizona Conservation Corps

Canyon Country Youth Corps/Four Corners School of Outdoor Education

Great Basin Institute

Green Mountain Club


Limitless Vistas, Inc.

Rocky Mountain Conservancy

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps - NM



NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Mile High Youth Corps

Name of Corps 

Mile High Youth Corps – Southern Front Range


Location of project
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument


When did the project take place? 
September 2015 – July 2016 (6 weeks total)


Describe the project. What did the crew do? 
For the 2015-2016 Interdisciplinary Conservation Corps Project, the Mile High Youth Corps provided invasive species control and restoration of native vegetation in disturbed areas around the visitor center, trails, and road corridors for a total of six weeks. Crews also worked on projects including trail maintenance, boundary fence repairs and hazard fuel reduction clean-up.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
Invasive species control and restoration of native vegetation performed by the crew ensured that park visitors can continue to enjoy natural landscapes and ecosystems within boundaries of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Trail maintenance, boundary fencing repair and fuel mitigation work accomplished by the crew further restored the health of the park for future generations.


What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project? 

The project included crew mentoring, career exploration in the outdoors, environmental education and recreational activities including Leave No Trace camping ethics. The crew learned technical skills such as fence repair, noxious weed removal, and trail maintenance techniques.


Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
"We love working with Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Michelle and her staff is amazing. They go out of their way to provide a meaningful experience for our Corpsmembers." - Diane Delano, Project Coordinator, MHYC-SFR


Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
"We really appreciated their hard work...many bags of trash were filled with exotic plants that were hand pulled by the crew." - Seasonal Park Technician

"Thank you so much for all of the help, Mile High. We look forward to working with you guys again soon." - Rachel Sizemore, Biological Technician


Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

“It was a great experience, a beautiful site, and I learned many things during my time at Florissant Fossil beds, such as the Native American history in the area, which was very fascinating to me.” - Ronald Sotelo, Land Conservation Leader, MHYC- SFR







NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Utah Conservation Corps

Name of Corps

Utah Conservation Corps


Location of project
Zion National Park


When did the project take place?
July 2016-October 2016


Describe the project. What did the crew do?
Fourteen UCC AmeriCorps members (8 males, 6 females) completed 520 hours to complete 42 acres of exotic plant control and spraying herbicide along 11.25 miles of waterway at Zion National Park. Tasks included spraying herbicide on exotics, scattering native seeds, cleaning native seeds, and planting native grasses.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
This was the fifteenth year the Utah Conservation Corps has sent crews to Zion National Park to assist NPS staff with exotic plant management control.  This partnership has added capacity to the Park’s exotic plant management by bolstering seasonal & permanent NPS staff with energetic UCC crews. Multiple UCC alumni have acquired substantial skills with Zion National Park and have gone on to gain employment with Zion National Park or other NPS units based on this exotic plant management project experience. 


What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project? 

Corpsmembers learned about exotic plant species control in Zion National Park and the history and science behind this effort. In preparation for this project, all corpsmembers became State of Utah herbicide applicator certified as well as S-212 chainsaw-equivalent certified. 


Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
We’re proud to have partnered with Zion National Park for the past fifteen years. During this time we’ve had multiple UCC alumni complete their service experience and go on to serve as staff at Zion National Park.”- Sean Damitz, Director, Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning


Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
This crew was enthusiastic, easy to work with, took direction very well and worked hard to follow our planting protocols despite the challenge of planting in compacted soils, and swinging pick s all day.”- Kathleen Dilley, Native Plant Nursery Manager


Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

We all enjoy the NPS's humor and enjoy working with them.”- Sierra Griffith, UCC Crew Leader


NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps CO

Name of Corps

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (CO)


Location of project
Grand Teton National Park, White Grass Dude Ranch


When did the project take place?
August 21 – September 3, 2016


Describe the project. What did the crew do?
Five Rocky Mountain Youth Corps historic preservation crew members contributed 400 person-hours over two weeks working on the White Grass Dude Ranch preservation project in Grand Teton National Park.  During this time, the crew completed roof repair on one of the residential ranch cabins, fulfilling park staff project partners' goals with efficiency.  Project accomplishments included adding sleepers, trimming old roof material, installing insulation and ice & water shield, installing rolled roofing, removing old floor joists and installing new wall studs. The crew exceeded project partners' expectations and enjoyed learning new skills.  Near the completion of the project, crew members participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate progress in preserving this treasured site.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address? What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?
This HOPE Crew contributed to the rehabilitation of a cabin at the White Grass Dude Ranch while also learning invaluable preservation skills from staff of the Western Center for Historic Preservation.  White Grass is a significant historic resource within Grand Teton National Park -  the project enhanced the understanding and appreciation of our nation’s history, its historic resources, and the field of preservation. The rehabilitation of White Grass Dude Ranch will eventually result in a training facility and cultural resource center for seasonal research. This project contributes to accomplishing this goal which will ultimately benefit the public by increasing appreciation and participation in cultural resource management and historic preservation.


Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Grand Teton National Park projects have become a ‘badge of honor’ for RMYC Crew Members.  The sheer beauty of the park, combined with the incredibly well-balanced leadership and mentoring of park staff on high-impact projects, makes Grand Teton one of our most treasured project locations.  The future of the White Grass Dude Ranch looks bright, and it is an honor to have crews working on preserving its structures. (Laraine Martin, Project Manager)




NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Green City Force

Name of Corps

Green City Force


Location of project
Sagamore Hill, Long Island, NY


When did the project take place?
September 2016 (Sept. 12-23, 2016)


Describe the project. What did the crew do?
A crew of Green City Force Urban Farm Corps Members assisted National Parks Service staff in restoring "The Summer White House" located at Sagamore Hill, in Long Island, New York. The project was executed in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation's H.O.P.E. Crew (Hands On Preservation Experience). The project included educating members about the importance of conservation, correct restoration techniques and learning about Theodore Roosevelt.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
Green City Force AmeriCorps Members helped preserve the historic home of 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt that dates to the 1880s. Fresh paint was added to four buildings including the windmill pump house, the chicken coop, and the farming and garden sheds. We worked with Rangers Paul and Bob on restoring three structures, a garden shed, hen house and barn that was later used as a garage. We learned about preservation and the importance of preserving our history for the future, worked on painting the three structures and also built up our team bonding.


What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?

The Corps Members gained skills in historic preservation and building maintenance. Corps Members also learned about the rich history of president Theodore Roosevelt and his family.


Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Green City Force Team Leader Andrew Lewis Quote about Sagamore Hill HOPE Crew Service.

Week 1 of the Sagamore Hill HOPE Crew project has wrapped up. The time spent thus far has simply been amazing with a mixture of service and learning the history behind Theodore Roosevelt. The team painted 3 building so far, a garden shed which still had Roosevelt's original tools stored inside (scythe, shovels, pitch fork, and a hay cutter), his chicken coop, and slaughter house.

Along with restoring the buildings we also visited a museum which was broken into three parts, before Roosevelt’s presidential term, during, and after. There were so many artifacts, everything from his weapon collection to his famous top hat, family memorabilia, and the many gifts he received in his lifetime. The most remarkable of which would be his family home which is still the same way it was over 100 years ago. The 3 floor home was filled with many hunting trophies (he was really into learning about animals), paintings, a vast library of books, 7 ft. Elephant tusks that were gifted to him by the emperor of Ethiopia. It was simply amazing, walking through actual history was a wonderful experience. Week 1 was great and we are looking forward to the 2nd.”

Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

Green City Force Urban Farm Corps AmeriCorps Member Paul Philpott Quote about Sagamore Hill HOPE Crew Service.

"Located on Sagamore Hill was the home of president Theodore Roosevelt which was also known as the Summer White House. Alongside 3 AmeriCorps Members and Team Leader Andrew we were the H.O.P.E crew (Hands-On Preservation Experience). We worked with Rangers Paul and Bob on restoring three structures, a garden shed, hen house and barn that was later used as a garage. We learned about preservation and the importance of preserving our history for the future, worked on painting the three structures and also built up our team bonding. We walked the nature trail that wraps around most of his 88 acre property, and the museum where we saw highlights of his life before, during, and after his presidency. And of course his house itself where we were able to find out some more fun facts about president Roosevelt, like he would drink about a gallon of coffee a day, his house was like a zoo with all the random animals, and was a working farm. We also learned how big he was into family fun and hard work. We also had the pleasure of sitting in on a naturalization ceremony and watch new citizens become Americans. We had a site visit from The Corp Network and from HOPE Crew to come and see the progress that we have made and things we have learned on this amazing experience. The last day a few of us got to meet some wonderful representatives from Fire Island and got to talk about some restoration projects they have. And as a final note on the last day Andrew, Chris, and myself became junior Rangers."

NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Arizona Conservation Corps


Name of Corps
Arizona Conservation Corps


Location of project
Grand Canyon National Park


When did the project take place?
May-August 2016


Describe the project. What did the crew do?
The crew had the opportunity to partner with the Grand Canyon Trails Department to clear overgrown trails of vegetation and burn areas where the trail was poorly defined. The crew cleared 6.75 miles of trail and installed 174 erosion control structures, making it much more visible, safe, sustainable, and accessible for park visitors. AZCC was successful in completing 12 weeks of project work in Grand Canyon National Park and followed the direction of the work plan outlined in the grant agreement. AZCC worked closely with NPS staff to ensure the project goals were reasonable, attainable, and appropriate for this crew. Based on our long history of working at Grand Canyon NP, AZCC was confident in the support of the NPS staff and in ensuring a successful experience not just in terms of work accomplished, but also in the quality of experience and training received by the participants on this crew.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
Facilitated by Jennifer O’Neill, the Partnerships Coordinator with NPS, the crew first worked with range experts at NPS on fencing off an historical spring so that the growing bison population wouldn’t contaminate the spring source. The crew had a lot of fun spotting the small herd of bison from time to time, and the challenge of fencing was a new skill that they enjoyed learning. In all, the crew repaired or replaced 1600 feet of fence, restoring over 65,000 square feet of the spring source. The crew then went to work with vegetation experts with NPS. They created terraced basins and seed beds which they then planted native species in. They planted 640 native plants and grasses. The native species were planted both to support a healthy ecosystem through increasing agrodiversity and to help control erosion. They also got to collect native seeds and pull invasive/noxious plants from the surrounding area. The crew learned about the impact of invasive species and how to manage them. The crew then went to work with the Grand Canyon trails department to clear badly overgrown trails of vegetation. They also worked in burn areas where the trail was poorly defined. The crew cleared 6.75 miles of trail and installed 174 erosion control structures, making it much more visible, safe, sustainable, and accessible for park visitors.



What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?
In May of 2016, a crew of 8 young native people from throughout the Southwest United States were hired and trained by AZCC with the purpose of restoring and protecting the Ancestral Lands surrounding the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park while also developing professional skills. During a week-long orientation and training, the corpsmembers were trained in Wilderness First Aid, as well as outdoor living skills including Leave No Trace ethics. The crew then had the opportunity to work with a wide array of partners in various departments of the National Park Service (NPS).

Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Working with Jennifer O’Neill and NPS was a smooth process. The crew needed a lot of coordination because they worked with so many different departments within the Park. It was great for the crew to get so much experience in different fields, from Vegetation to Range, to Trails and Interpretive. The crew got a taste for everything NPS does at the Grand Canyon, and gained a deep appreciation for the hard work it takes to maintain the National Park. Jenn O’Neill helped tremendously in connecting the crew with the varied projects.” --Matthew Hurst AZCC Program Coordinator


Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
Throughout all of their many projects that summer, the crew made a positive impact on Grand Canyon National Park and its staff. Jennifer O’Neill (NPS) praised the crew, writing that, “Skylar's crew were described by project managers as hard workers, solid and dependable. In challenging terrain and weather, they produced high quality work and consistently gave their best effort.” She added, “The crew completed several important and high profile projects for the park. As GRCA moves forward with a Bison Management Environmental Assessment this will become quite evident to the public as well. In particular, the exclosure fencing project they completed will inform data about bison behavior and the sensitivity of water sources on the North Rim, which are usually significantly impacted by bison herds.


Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

National Service makes me think of the National Parks and Monuments we've worked for with AZCC. I think of the NPS Rangers and workers that I have worked alongside, and the impact that they make. At AZCC I've helped improve trails with my crew, worked directly with NPS staff and the public, and traveled to different areas throughout Arizona. From my work, I've seen how it positively impacts the communities we go to. We leave the worksite better than before. Our work makes us more aware of the environment and environmental issues. Being a part of this movement leads to a lot of personal growth and transformation as one volunteers for National Service.

I've seen a big difference in myself from this experience. I've learned to push myself to the limit, be patient and understanding, and learned to see from other people's perspectives. I've learned to keep and achieve personal goals as well.

To keep this momentum going, I'll be involved in future volunteer opportunities or job positions that work closely with the environment. I've set a goal to become a National Park Service Ranger at the Grand Canyon. If it weren't for this program, I wouldn't have made amazing contacts with outstanding, hard-working individuals, and known of new opportunities within reach.”

--Justine Pike

AZCC Corpsmember




NPS Week 2017 - A Project with NJYC Phillipsburg

Name of Corps
New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg


Location of project
Gateway National Recreation Area – Sandy Hook Unit


When did the project take place?
Summer/Fall 2015


Describe the project. What did the crew do?
The NJ Youth Corps of Phillipsburg (NJYC) has long wanted to work with the National Park Service in some capacity. When we saw the developments within the Dept. of Interior’s ‘Youth Initiative’ to Play, Learn, Serve & Work in our national parks- we saw the perfect opportunity to do so. Through our relationship with the Corps Network (TCN), and previous experience with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) on a Hands-On Preservation Experience (H.O.P.E.) Crew project at Hinchliffe Stadium, we were presented with a unique opportunity to perform historic preservation activities in a National Park- in this case, a complete demolition and reconstruction of the porch of the Park Headquarters (Building 26) Gateway National Recreation Area’s Sandy Hook Unit.

Gateway was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and is still recovering. Fort Hancock Historic District (a decommissioned US Army base at Sandy Hook) is comprised of over 60 structures in varying states of decay after seeing years of harsh weather given its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The Park HQ building (formerly the Commanders Quarters) was severely compromised because of storm damage. Given its essentiality of function, and its prevalence as the primary structure in the Unit that visitors interface, NPS allocated resources from Hurricane Sandy relief funds to reconstruct the porch on the HQ building. Even with funding, NPS staff at Sandy Hook would be hard pressed to perform the task given due to additional backlog of routine maintenance work to be performed. Enter the NTHP, and the H.O.P.E. Crew program – which would secure the services of an approved historic preservation expert to guide and train NJYC members in the craft of preservation.

NJYC embarked on this project with high hopes and a lot of enthusiasm. We were challenged both physically & mentally. We learned about historic preservation and about the region in which we were working. We also learned about ourselves and what we were capable of. We came away from the project with a newfound respect for the diligence and exacting detail of recreating our history. We discovered in ourselves a respect for not only the craft, but for the process. Working with wood and stone, our labor echoed traditions that humans have been performing for millennia. Through preserving history, we are also ensuring the legacy of our work will continue; not only through the results of our efforts, but also in the hearts and minds of our Corpsmembers who developed an appreciation for hard work through the lens of recreating the past.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
The immediate impact of this project in the community at Gateway was complex; First, and most prominently there was the visual impact – both NPS Staff and visitors of the park noticed what was going on and it fostered many conversations that might not have otherwise happened. The porch of the Sandy Hook Unit's Headquarters was dilapidated, damaged and in in need of serious repair. Improving the image of the very building representing the

public's interface with the park was imperative! Park Service employees even seemed excited that there was a presence of a program like Youth Corps on site, prompting many conversations on how NJYC could serve at Gateway in other capacities. From a visitor’s perspective, our presence offered opportunities for interactions with the public that allowed us to explain why were there. For example, CM’s were able to converse with one gentleman, Mr. Peter Bach – a visitor to the park and business owner from Sydney, Australia- He commented on the crews’ hard work and how it related to a business owner like himself – he would’ve hired any of our guys.

Secondly, the project had a lot of people promoting it. The NPS, TCN and NTHP were all promoting the project via emails, newsletters, websites and social media. We even had NJTV news do a story on the project. This promotion through varied mediums garnered a lot of attention and became a great recruitment tool as well.



What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?
All aspects of construction: Framing, Trim work, Roofing, Painting, etc., Basic Masonry, pointing

Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Michael Muckle, Program Director at NJYC of Phillipsburg said, "Our HOPE Crew Project at Sandy Hook was, in retrospect, my proudest accomplishment to date in NJYC. Having wanted to partner with the NPS of any project for the longest time, I found the synergy arising from this multi-faceted partnership of the NPS, The Corps Network, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and NJYC was infectious. As a program director, it opened my eyes to what was possible."


Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
Sandy Hook Unit Coordinator Pete McCarthy said of our work:

“The National Park Service has enjoyed hosting the New Jersey Youth Corps as part of the HOPE program, the crew has done a great job in the rehabilitation of the Building 26 porch which has created an outdoor laboratory for the group to expand their skills in historic preservation and construction.”

Additionally, John Harlan Warren, External Affairs Officer for the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway NRA said:

“The Building 26 porch restoration would not have happened nearly this soon, or at this little cost, if it wasn't for New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg and HOPE. Gateway National Recreation Area's Sandy Hook Unit was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and it is still recovering. While we work on water supply, housing for park employees and other major points, we have set aside issues like the dilapidated front porch of our Headquarters building, which was structurally unsafe and looked terrible to visitors. By restoring the historic porch, not only do NJYC youths learn valuable career and workplace skills, but they also make us in the National Park Service look good---literally."

Gateway NRA Superintendent Jen Nersesian said at the ribbon cutting event,

"We couldn't be more happy with the results of this project. The work that was done in spectacular!"


Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

Corpsmember Khalil Little expressed, “We actually get the privilege to get to come here and work on this building. We get to learn about our history, and learn those things to make us better employees as well. Plus, we get to be at the Jersey Shore for the summer, getting paid to do all this. How could you not appreciate that?”

Corpsmember Phil Young said, "I thought I wanted to pursue a career in the culinary arts, but after this – I’d have to consider construction as well.”

Corpsmember Tyler Corter was thankful for the opportunity. Having some experience on construction crews before, he gained a heightened appreciation for the level of detail in some of the trim work. “I never thought I’d be able to participate in something as satisfying as this. I’m having fun.”




Corps and National Forests - Video and Blog Post

Travis Wick, an intern serving out the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Region (Region 4), created this film about the partnerships between Corps and the Forest Service. Corps help complete mission-critical projects at National Forests throughout the country; this video specifically looks at Corps serving at Forests in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Below, read a blog post from Wyoming Conservation Corps related to this work. 


Conservation Corps in the Rocky Mountain West

Evan Townsend, Wyoming Conservation Corps
(April 13, 2017)

FOR THOSE of us who have participated in conservation corps, we know how formative those summers or even 10 months are for our lives. Imagine crews of 4, 6, or 8 people from all over the country coming together to serve their country, communities, and public land (and waters). Young people and military veterans from all walks of life come together for a common cause – to serve others before themselves and in doing so, that service makes us better people.

Katie Woodward, a crew leader for the Utah Conservation Corps, speaks in 2016 but these words could have easily come from a member in the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s:

“Conservation work serves a duel purpose of one hand doing a critical part to take care of our lands but also to serve something for ourselves.”

Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service’s Travis Wick for directing this video and also to the Northwest Youth Corps for posting this. The conservation corps of the Rocky Mountain West are proud to have such great neighbors and we are proud to serve our country with them. Featured in this video are members from this video: