Our work is driven the skill and energy of our Crew Leaders.
The success of VYCC is indebted to the highly motivated and committed young adults who take on the challenging job of leading crews.
VYCC carefully selects young leaders that ensure the safety of each Corps Member, effectively manage crew projects to meet the expectations and deadlines of project sponsors, build a positive crew community that reflects VYCC’s values, and support the learning and personal growth of each Corps Member.
Crew Leaders complete a rigorous residential training program before Corps Members arrive. Classroom workshops and hands-on practice ensure competence in technical skills, risk management, first aid, safe driving, tool use and maintenance, group dynamics, discipline, meal planning, and Leave No Trace practices.
Crews are typically assigned one male and one female Crew Leader. Once in the field, they are supported by VYCC staff through weekly call-ins, weekly visits including occasional overnight stays, and a 24/7 on-call system. Crews have access to a vehicle at all times and each location has a safety plan including how to access emergency medical care.
This season’s crew leaders are:
Jada graduated in 2015 from Wisconsin’s Beloit College with a degree in Environmental Biology. Her experience included 5 months on France’s Réunion Island. Degree in hand, Jada lived and worked as a Naturalist on a nature preserve in Ohio. Over the past five growing seasons, Jada has nurtured an interest in sustainable agriculture and work with youth. She has worked on farms, tutored and mentored high schoolers through Beloit College’s Upward Bound program, worked at the Troy Kids’ Garden in Madison, WI, and taught viola lessons to 3rd graders. As a Crew Leader this year, Jada is looking forward to using farming as a tool to engage youth with the outdoors and help them develop a greater awareness and understanding of both their food and the land it comes from. She also hopes to spend her free time exploring the mountains and trails of Vermont.
From the small Vermont town of Middletown Springs, Kyle has a deep passion for food and how it effects the environment, health, and the community. Kyle is studying Dietetics, Nutrition, and Food Science with interests in Environmental Studies and Food Systems at the University of Vermont. During the past year, she helped to create a student residential community called Farm to Table designed for students who have a desire to learn about all aspects of food and enjoy community-prepared meals. Kyle is extremely excited to be working at VYCC this season as she believes strongly in the Health Care Share and of treating disease with nutrition. She loves working and developing community, while learning and having fun!
Will hails from Brandon, Vermont where his love of local food led him from gardening, preserving and cooking with his family to working at an organic farm and grocer down the road. Will has cultivated a deep passion for teaching and organizing around food waste and climate change. Will recently designed a composting program for a summer camp and taught campers about food waste. A day after graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies he headed to the Farm at VYCC. Will is extremely excited to get into the particulars of small scale diversified farming and to working with Corps Members. When not working at the farm, Will can be found biking wildly from place to place, sitting still, playing numerous musical instruments, singing, and/or cooking extravagant meals.
From the land of rolling thunder where the bison once roamed, prairie grass as tall as barns, this is where Connor calls home. Born and raised to the streets; Nebraska urban, but always reaching yonder seeking commune with the earthen. These eastern lands came a calling, so Connor came a bounding, from the Great Plains to these mighty green mountains. Called Poultney, Vermont home for a while, felt at home; where Green Mountain College brought a righteous smile. Since then, he has trekked and tracked all over this land, farming here and farming there lending a helping hand. If you walk in the woods with him he’ll show you strange things, the life and beauty that exists all around, a new-fangled mythology for the lost and the found. A reconnection to earth that’s what he seeks, in the ways that he walks, talks, sings and eats, from lacto ferments and dandelion wine, he’s always seeking ways to share the divine. Last year he led four youths in a pilot in Rutland, bagging up fruits and roots from this fertile land. Doors opened wide and we all saw a brighter, future for the state of our community; ever tighter. If you look for him now you’ve got to know where to peek, if he’s not farming he’ll be in any hollow or peak, down on the ground getting close to the earth, or up in a tree measuring its girth. Rutland county is now his home base, working with farmers and youth face to face. Pioneering health care share in collaboration with many. Now it’s time to get to work and FREE ALL THE VEGGIES!
Jake recently returned to his home state of Vermont after completing his bachelor’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Michigan. While in school, Jake promoted social justice through food systems by managing and developing his university’s Campus Farm, spending semesters in Washington, D.C., Peru, and Argentina, and working with a number of environmentally focused organizations. He also has several seasons’ experience working at Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, VT, Green Things Farm in Ann Arbor, MI, and Norwich Farm in Norwich, VT. The Farm at VYCC gives Jake the opportunity to join in the revitalization of Vermont’s local agriculture and economy. Enjoying meaningful work, a thoughtful lifestyle, and fresh air with engaged Crew Members is what motivates him as part of the farm team. When not on the Farm, Jake can be found on an adventure in the mountains, clumsily plucking his guitar, or riding around as a volunteer in the Williston ambulance.
Blair graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in International Development and Horticulture, an unconventional yet powerful combination that has enabled her to contribute to urban agriculture and nutrition at Franklinton Gardens, organic vegetable farming in South Carolina, and farming in Nepal. Her experience abroad was transformative and solidified her dream of using agricultural education to promote food security and social progress. In her new home of Vermont, Blair has found an excellent opportunity at the VYCC to pursue these dreams. While she looks forward to learning more about Vermont food systems and expanding her technical skills on the farm, Blair is most excited about creating connections with Corps Members through hard work, environmental education, and leadership development.
Stephanie and Hunter
Stephanie was raised in Dix Hills, New York. As a child, she swam through swamps, swung from trees, and trod barefoot on jagged rocks. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology and Biology Education from the Macaulay Honors program at Queens College. She became well known around the Study Abroad Office after studying ecology in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and finally Ethiopia. In her most recent (and more local) travels, Stephanie worked as an Environmental Educator with the Great Basin Institute in Nevada. Stephanie loves learning about zero-waste lifestyles, searching for bugs, and climbing trees barefoot. Her favorite book is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Hunter is excited to return to VYCC for his second season as a crew leader. Born and bred in the Green Mountain State, Hunter recently graduated from the University of Vermont (UVM), where he studied Biology and French. His comfort with the outdoors has come from travel throughout rural areas of Indonesia and Cambodia as a high school student. More recently, he further developed his understanding of wilderness through journeys in the Alps, while studying abroad in Grenoble, France. At UVM, Hunter’s involvement as a leader in the Outing Club has allowed him to share his passions for hiking, backpacking, cycling, and skiing with others. For the past two winters, he has been able to improve upon his team-building and communication skills as head coach of an adaptive sled hockey team, the Vermont Sled Cats. He enjoys working diligently outdoors and anticipates, with vigor, further learning within a natural environment amidst like-minded VYCC members.
Rich and Laura
Originally growing up in Suburban Maryland, Laura Mills made it through four years of college and several office jobs before it occurred to her that she could mix her desire to spend time outside with a job that inspires her. This revelation spurred her to start as a crew member with WisCorps, the Wisconsin Conservation Corps in 2014. There was no turning back. On the job, she learned new loves of carpentry and trail building. After-hours, she found herself endlessly entertained discovering the ecosystems around her. Being promoted to crew leader in 2015 cemented her new skills as she taught them to others. Now joining VYCC as a five-month crew leader, Laura is excited to follow her passion of making nature more accessible to youth/young adults of all backgrounds. She looks forward to a season of hard work and new friends. An avid outdoors-man, educator of ten years, and life-long martial artist: Rich’s combined passions brought him from his home in the hills of Northwest Connecticut to the subtropical island chain of Okinawa, Japan. He now finds himself an eager member of VYCC, a role where he can combine his desire to teach with a love of physical activity and the great outdoors. As a former member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program, Rich has spent the last 5 years teaching English in Japanese public schools. In addition to working with students, Rich’s time in the Far East found him rowing in dragon boat races, honing his karate skills, and backpacking through mountainous, jungle terrain. While Rich cherishes these experiences abroad, he is overjoyed to be back in the United States, working with VYCC.
Rachele and Pete
Rachele is 21 years old and from Gansevoort, New York. Gansevoort is in the northern part of the capital district, and is a small town with more cows than people. She has been attending Johnson State College for the last three years, and will be entering her senior year this August. She is studying business, with concentrations in marketing and non-profit management. She enjoys traveling and volunteering at National Parks. She gains inspiration from knowing the work she will be doing will benefit not only our local, but our global community as well. Her favorite book is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, and her favorite band is The Paper Kites. She is excited to head to North Carolina and experience the adventure that awaits! Pete was born in Manhattan, Kansas and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He fell in love with Vermont while attending Bennington College, where he graduated in 2013 with a degree in Liberal Arts. He is excited to be back in the Green Mountain State! He loves books, especially poetry; he has spent the last two years working at the Omaha Public Library and this fall will begin a MA program in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. His favorite bird is a penguin and his favorite book, at press time, was Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women.
Molly and John
John is beginning his first year with VYCC after graduating from the College of William & Mary with an undergraduate degree in Biology. Coming from Richmond, Virginia, John is excited to expand his list of Richmond’s that he has visited. His love for the outdoors blossomed during college, especially while birding on early morning hikes for his outdoor Biology labs. John’s favorite TV show is Parks and Rec, and he is inspired by Leslie Knope’s passion for waffles. John is most excited to work with a diverse group of young adults and help foster a love for the outdoors while working on lasting, impactful projects! Growing up hiking and camping in the many canyons of Southern California, Molly was instilled early on with a wonder and appreciation for nature. Her enthusiasm led her to study Ecology Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Not prepared for a life of lab research, she continued to travel, backpacking and hitchhiking the western states after graduating. She then organically found herself in the world of outdoor education. As a budding naturalist, she believes education is the first step towards conservation. Molly finds joy working outside, passing on her passion to younger generations, and sharing in their excitement. Molly has been involved in many learning programs including watershed protection, organic farming, trail guiding, garden education and habitat restoration, and can’t wait for her first VYCC adventure! When she isn’t on the trail or in the fields, you’ll find her crafting or making up silly songs. She lives with an open mind and open heart and is always learning new things!
Mike and Lauren
Mike is a backpacking leather foot with a heart of wood. A free climb, carried by the seas type with a penchant for seasonal migrant work; he spent the last five years putting in time for the National Park Service, Department of Natural Resources, and various small traditional skills schools and farms around the country. A Sterling College graduate with a degree in Natural History, Mike looks forward to the summer season wherein he can share his knowledge with others and help to facilitate a fun and rewarding work environment. When not swinging a pick you might find him enjoying a book in the sun, pawing at a guitar, or carving his initials into a summit roster. His favorite color is coquelicot. Lauren is originally from Central California but now calls Montana home. She is here with VYCC after bouncing around other conservation corps, hoping to make a career of trail work. She loves to travel, sing the blues, ride bikes, paint, do outdoorsy things, and live the ski-bum life in the winter. Lauren is vertically challenged.
Megan and Nicky
Raised in south central Pennsylvania, Megan always enjoyed the simple gifts of the outdoor world. She vividly remembers Sunday afternoons where post-church visits to the grocery store for donuts were followed by fun hikes in the woods. In high school she worked on a small local family run produce farm where she learned the value of hard work and manual labor. In college she worked at a summer camp as a counselor and program director and got her first taste of backpacking. A powerful experience volunteering at a hospice for homeless men with HIV led Megan to move from a B.A. in politics to a M.S. in nursing. For the past several years she has worked as a Labor and Delivery RN. A few years ago Megan took a NOLS course in Outdoor Leadership, which renewed her interest in being outside again. Most recently, Megan has been working for a wilderness therapy program in Utah as a field staff. She has a passion for the therapeutic influence of nature and is excited to bring her past life experiences to bear on her role as a Crew Leader with VYCC. Her favorite Sunday afternoon donut is a fresh apple fritter. Nicky is thrilled to begin work with VYCC. Born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, Nicky graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Linguistics and a specialization in Parks and Recreation Management. He discovered the importance of protecting our wild places as a NOLS student in Alaska. For the past five years, he has resided in New York City where he worked to ensure public safety with regard to electrical structures. Nicky is excited to apply his diverse experiences to the work he finds most meaningful. He and his wife are brand new to Vermont and are extremely excited to become part of the community and spend more time outdoors with their dog.
Lucy and Seth
Lucy is super excited to be returning to VYCC this summer as a Community Crew Leader. She has been part of the VYCC community for many years starting as a Corps member in 2002 on a wilderness crew. In the last 14 years she has moved around between crew types and taken some summers to explore other opportunities. Three of those summers were spent hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. During that time Lucy discovered a very special appreciation for all trail builders and maintainers out there. When she’s not out hiking or working on trails, you can find her in the kitchen or curled up with a knitting project. Seth Sterling grew up in Woodstock, Vermont. He was recently on a six month AmeriCorps crew for VYCC, and has worked on two community crews in the past. He performed volunteer work in Panama on a high school trip. He feels driven by a sense of duty to help others. His favorite movie is Braveheart.
Kira and Sam
Sam hails from Summerfield, NC, a small rural town outside of Greensboro. He attends Elon University where he studies environmental and ecological science. Sam was initially set on becoming a journalist, but after reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn in a freshman general studies course, he switched to environmental science because of the powerful conservation themes in the book. Sam’s love for the outdoors was cemented during a semester abroad with the School for Field Studies, where he studied marine science on the Caribbean island of South Caicos. In his career, Sam hopes to witness the many and beautiful natural landscapes of the world through field biology and outdoor leadership.
Jordyn and Ricky
Jordyn was born and raised in Dayton Ohio. She graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision and played four years on the Purdue Women’s soccer team. After college she packed a bag and bought a one -way ticket to Hawaii where she ended up working Maintenance at YMCA camp Erdman. Jordyn was fortunate enough to work with students from all over the world, which enabled her to experience a number of different cultures, language barriers and develop friendships that she will cherish for the rest of her life. She was also involved in a program called Friends of Kaena where she was responsible for educating youth about the native plants and the proper way to grow and plant species endemic to Hawaii. After Hawaii her curiosity about life and her itch for adventure has only gotten stronger. Her Ukulele skills on the other hand, have not. Ricky is from the small town of Needoes, California. His work history includes working for the Youth Conservation Corps in the Mojave National Preserve in California for his first ever job. After college he signed up to do AmeriCorps with the American Conservation Experience in Flagstaff, Az. Working in AmeriCorps changed his whole perspective on nature and the environment. He learned skills that he would have never learned elsewhere and met people with the most interesting personalities. Other experiences have consisted of working for a State Park in Washington State for a season as a Park Aide and going on backpacking trips abroad. One of his goals is to thru hike the Appalachian Trail.
Gabby and Jordan
Originally from the Green Mountains, Jordan Rowell is joining VYCC after living in the San Bernardino Mountains of Big Bear, California for two and a half years, where he worked as an instructor and administrator at High Trails Outdoor Science School. It was in Vermont that he was first introduced to alpine skiing and camping, but it wasn’t until he was west of the Rockies that his love for the outdoors really exploded. Taller mountains and deeper valleys have lured Jordan into the lifestyle of climbing and backpacking, teaching and guiding. Jordan spent a part of last summer hiking the John Muir Trail in the High Sierra after guiding backpacking, climbing, and whitewater trips in Yellowstone. The previous summer he thru-hiked our very own Long Trail after working as a corps member with VYCC. He returns home to cleaner air and greener forests excited to have a firm grip on a pick mattock once again. Gabby was born and raised in Vermont. She and has lived in Barre for the majority of her life and considers it home. She is currently attending college in Ohio at Baldwin Wallace University, where she is majoring in psychology, and now she’s back for the summer! She is very excited to work on building the community and seeing it grow. She hikes frequently in Vermont, but she also enjoys hiking in New York at her camp in the Adirondacks. She believes that seeing the place you grew up in grow and progress into something better is fantastic but knowing you were a part of it is so rewarding and remarkable!
Dani and Mary Beth
After freezing in the Arctic, Mary Beth is ready to thaw out in NC. Be it in the mountains, on the grasslands or by the ocean, just being outside working with other nature enthusiasts and stewards is what she needs and looks forward to this summer. She has been an AmeriCorps trail and saw crew member and leader of two YCC crews, in AZ and WA State. She went to Alaska to do Anthropology work and is excited to combine her two passions and needs – fellowship and community with people and nature. Bring on the heat and hard work and laughs! Dani returns to VYCC after successfully completing a 7-month Conservation Crew and a 3-month Leadership Development Crew. She is a Florida native and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Anthropology. Along with working for VYCC, Dani was a Nature Arts Teacher in Florida and is passionate about teaching environmentalism, conservation, and plant identification. Dani is also a certified yoga teacher and completed her 200-hour intensive training in May 2015. She is excited to bring her creative spirit, love of teaching, and passion for nature into this year’s VYCC 2016 Summer Season.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Lowell discovered his passion for conservation of the natural world while with the American Conservation Experience, based out of Santa Cruz, California. From his many incredible memories, his favorite project was a trails and restoration project, living and working along the southern half of the Pacific Crest Trail for 6 months. His passions also include traveling and Latin culture. Most recently, he bought a van in the south of Mexico and spent a year and a half traveling through Mexico and Central America with his dog. Besides fulfilling his wanderlust and speaking Spanish, he just really loves people and is very concerned with bettering the lives of the people around him. The topic of food security is one he takes very seriously. His biggest goal is to make more fresh, organic, whole foods available in areas of poverty and food deserts. His future aspirations include designing and implementing urban grow spaces that produce food on a local scale using the principals of permaculture; projects like roof top gardens, establishment of urban orchards, and better water management. Within the next year, he hopes to enroll in university in Puerto Rico, ending with a degree in Horticulture and Spanish Literature.
Alyssa and Lauren
Alyssa is returning for her second season with VYCC. She will be using her American Sign Language (ASL) degree while leading the ASL crew this summer. Alyssa has led Deaf crews in Minnesota and was most recently teaching sixth grade science in Southern Illinois. It’s Lauren’s first time working for VYCC! She is excited to learn and to be part of the crew this summer. Lauren just moved back to Massachusetts after living in Colorado for a year! She was working at Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, working closely with deaf children. Lauren is an avid American Sign Language user. Graduated with BA in communication studies at Gallaudet University and an Outdoor Leadership Program alumni at Greenfield Community College in 2015, Lauren loves outdoors and has a passion in outdoor education. Her obsessions right now are rock climbing and traveling. Lauren is looking forward to bring new ideas and adventures to VYCC this summer!
Ada Liz and Gabe
Ada has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Connecticut and previously worked for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Working at TNC, she discovered her passion to work outdoors and conserve our environment. She has a deep passion for water preservation. Ada was born, and raised in San Martin, Peru where there is a major water shortage problem. From a very young age she realized the importance of water sanitation, and preservation. She is so excited to meet a lot of people with different experiences related to environment careers, and work in projects to conserve our resources. Gabe has been working in youth development and education for the past several years, most recently teaching environmental science in the L.A. and D.C. areas. This is his second season leading crews with VYCC. His life goal is to go on a fishing trip in Alaska with President Obama.
Brian is coming to Vermont by way of Colorado where he is currently enrolled in Graduate School at Colorado State University studying Natural Resource Stewardship. New England will always be his home having grown up on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Yet, living in the Rocky Mountain State has afforded him a wealth of outdoor experiences which he’s looking forward to sharing with corps members. He’s a voracious (and fast) hiker and his dog Charlie joins him if he needs to be pulled along. His favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut. His goal this summer is to learn as much as he can about Northeastern Ecology and trail building. Brian is looking forward to being a part of a crew, learning from each other, and doing quality work.
Ashley and Chris
Chris was born in upstate New York, then moved between there, Florida, and the Czech Republic. Most recently Chris was in Carson City, Nevada for a year where he worked as a sawyer on a conservation crew, and then as a children’s ski instructor. Chris likes to work outdoors, or rather, his legs do. They get unhappy and start to hurt if he’s inside too long, which is why trail work is wicked awesome. Ashley is joining VYCC as a crew leader for the 2016 field season. Originally from Wisconsin, Ashley has spent the last seven years working with two natural resource-based non-profits in the DC Metro Area. Her work history includes invasive plant management, stormwater retrofit planning and installation, stream and wetland restoration, community engagement, natural resource interpretation, volunteer coordination, and project management. Ashley was part of an SCA trail crew at Baxter State Park in Maine in 2005, and she is looking forward to being part of a VYCC crew. She is passionate about conservation and empowering local communities in natural resource preservation. Ashley has a 15-month old daughter, and is looking forward to connecting her with the natural world in Vermont. She also plays the flute, loves the Green Bay Packers, and enjoys reading, hiking, kayaking, and Star Wars.
Connie and Eli
Connie’s peers at Virginia Tech knew her by her love for manatees, banjos, puddle stomping, and chocolate covered anything. She hopes to continue these stereotypes during her first season with VYCC. Although the flatlands of Richmond, Virginia are her true home, her heart thrives in the Appalachian Mountains. Connie discovered her passion for conservation and recreation as a teenager working for Virginia’s YCC. Her time hiking the AT, volunteering with local trail clubs, and working at state parks has cemented her belief in the power of mud, sweat, and sunrises. Eli Beattie is a 23 year old Vermont native who loves the outdoors almost as much as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. When not enjoying the wilderness Eli likes reading and binge watching Netflix. Other favorite activities are biking, climbing gardening, Contra dancing, SCUBA diving, high risk lawn maintenance, and skiing. For the past several years he has been cultivating the lifestyle of a seasonal working and is hoping to continue the trend for the foreseeable future. In the snowier seasons Eli si a professional ski bum working for Okemo Resort. He is extremely excited for this season and the work he and his crew will be doing on the Long Trail.