The Woodstock Crew proudly showed Congressman Welch their work this summer, the tools they have learned to use, and the learning that surrounds a VYCC project---leave no trace, nature of the day, the impacts of climate change, and more. The crew explained about how they have to work as a team, how the work is challenging but that they get to see the impact it makes and that they know it will last a long time. Congressman Welch shared with the crew that he often hikes or runs on trails and knows that a lot of work goes into it, but it makes it all that more real to see a crew in action.
What an incredible opportunity and honor to be in DC at The Corps Network Conference and see so many different Corps – all with different program models, specific types of projects, different demographics, and a variety of scales from small Corps focused in a single neighborhood within a city or to a collection of Corps serving multiple states. The common thread? A focus on providing opportunities for young people to serve in our communities, learning and working together, and leaving a lasting legacy of positive change.
280 individual VYCC corps members worked from as early as March all the way until the end of November on our Farm and Conservation crews. From sowing seeds, to improving state park infrastructures, to removing invasive species, to harvesting organic vegetables for Vermonters in need, our crews learned, earned, and yearned to make their communities better. Our crews spread across New York State, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and of course every county in Vermont.
In July, VYCC’s Spike 5 crew tackled a substernal trails assessment and repair project for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife (F&W) on Snake Mountain. The crew worked with Ariel Burgess, field staff for F&W, to hike the Snake Mountain Summit Trail in its entirety, assessing and flagging trail features in need of maintenance.
"It’s a privilege to be digging deep into the story of our food with the Venture Semester program this year. This excitement is only eclipsed by the joy of seeing such curious, self-motivated young adults explore their own interests in the environment I love."
Ultimately, I think the Health Care Share is most special in this way: it connects everyone with food, including our Farm crews. Forty-three Youth Corps Members working on the Health Care Share throughout Vermont took home a share to their own families each week. Crew Leaders and Corps Members at the Farm in Richmond prepared lunches for the entire Farm team each day, and Farm Corps Members at all production sites participate in food and nutritional education each week.