Our work is driven by the skill and energy of our Crew Leaders.[one-half-first] 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. [/one-half-first][one-half] 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. Have any questions? Contact our Conservation Crew Leader Supervisor, Pilar! [/one-half]
Julianna Brown and Kat O’Leary
Spike American Sign Language (ASL) Crew Leaders
Julianna Brown, Crew Leader
Julianna returns for her fourth year at VYCC, now leading the Deaf Inclusion Crew. During the year, she pursues a degree in Film in New York City and teaches lessons in ASL on the side. Her passion for the outdoors is lifelong – a side effect of growing up in the Green Mountains – but her love for signing comes from joining the first ASL crew in 2016. As a VYCC Alum and new Leader, she’s excited to teach and learn from her crew members.
Kat’s bio coming soon.
Julianna Brown’s hometown: Bridport, VT
Kat O’Leary’s hometown: Liverpool, NY
AmeriCorps 1 Crew Leader
This is Mallory’s first time with VYCC. She received an Environmental Biology degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She fell in love with conservation while working with the Collegiate Conservation Program through the Houston Zoo. She’s a self-proclaimed snake whisperer and salamander finder. She’s currently reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. Mallory is super excited to move rocks, remove invasive species and whatever else this season has in store!
Hometown: Butner, NC
AmeriCorps 2 Crew Leader
Maddi was born in Miami, Florida, but she calls Quechee, Vermont home. She is 24 and this is her second summer with VYCC! She attended Miami University of Ohio and graduated with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. Maddi is always planning for the next adventure and has had the opportunity to spend a month sailing around the Caribbean and has walked the Camino de Santiago twice. She has served two AmeriCorps terms, one through VYCC and another in South Carolina rebuilding homes damaged by flood for low-income families. If she could be anywhere in the world it would be on a sailboat.
Hometown: Quechee, VT
AmeriCorps 3 Crew Leader
Bailey was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and moved to Brattleboro, Vermont at three years old. He is a self-described Vermonter. His goals for this summer are to help preserve local trails and forests by using his skills with technology. He also would like to get more fit in time for his wedding.
Bailey went to University of Maine Orono and NHTI Concord’s Community College for Engineering and Game Design, respectively. He is a VYCC alumni who completed two seasons before. His other skills include, cheese-mongering, machining, and team management. Bailey is ready to give his all this summer and approaches every day as an opportunity to grow.
Hometown: Newfane, VT
AmeriCorps 4 Crew Leader
Third time’s the charm when working for the barn! As a returner, Melissa truly believes that working with the VYCC is a transformative experience and wants to lend her energy to foster a positive environment for those changes to take place. Talk to her about dogs, magic, and books. Let’s make 2018 the best season yet!
Hometown: Lemoyne, PA
Marissa Edwards and Lucy Smith
Brattleboro Community Crew Leaders
Born and raised in Southern VT, Marissa graduated from the University of Vermont in 2013 with a degree in Biology, and spent three seasons with VYCC as a Corps Member. Since then she has traveled around, leading crews for the Student Conservation Association in New Hampshire and the Texas Conservation Corps. Marissa has spent the last five months backpacking through New Zealand and is excited to be back in her home state, working with VYCC again this summer. When Marissa isn’t hiking or rock climbing, you can usually find her drinking a medium iced coffee with the mocha swirl from Dunkin Donuts, writing comedy sketches, or watching movie bloopers on YouTube from movies she’s never seen.
Hometown: West Dover, VT
Lucy is new to VYCC, coming from Keene, NH where she studies Economics and Holocaust and Genocide Studies as a rising senior at Keene State College. Lucy spent this past fall studying abroad in Florence, Italy, where she expanded her passion for travel and adventure. Lucy has been involved in environmental conservation work throughout high school and college. She has completed tool safety training through community service construction mission trips to Gary, West Virginia, and Costa Rica. At Keene State College, she is a part of the campus Ecology Club and is involved in local sustainability projects throughout Keene. Lucy is looking forward to learning technical and professional skills, while also creating connections and friendships with other VYCC members!
Hometown: Guilford, CT
Emily Anderson and Jacob Kroes
Burlington Community Crew Leaders
Emily moved to Vermont in October and spent the winter working outside and learning to ski for the first time. She recently finished an AmeriCorps term working at a land trust as a Community Coordinator, where she worked to teach the public about the importance of conservation. She has been working with Intervale Tree Nursery planting trees. She hopes to spend as much time as possible outside with VYCC and hiking, camping, climbing, and paddling and more. If you ever hear a loud gasp coming from her don’t be alarmed, as it is most likely just a dog walking by within a mile radius.
Hometown: Berlin, MA
Jacob returns to the VYCC to lead the Burlington Community Crew for a second summer. He typically spends his winters working with youths in Burlington, and can otherwise be found skiing or taking goofy pictures with his cat, Reese. He’s excited to lead with VYCC again, giving back to his community with miles and smiles on the trail. His lifelong dream is to be the host of a comedy fishing show, taking celebrity guests fishing all over the world.
Hometown: Burlington, VT
South Burlington Community Crew Leader
Hunter returns to the VYCC for his third season as a Crew Leader after working for Seventh Generation—a sustainable homecare company based in Burlington.
Along with his experience in an office setting, and a Biology degree from UVM, he brings his passion for the environment to the trail with him each day. On his free time, he enjoys biking, and hopes to one day ride in or alongside the Tour de France. His favorite tools are Good Loppers and his least favorite vegetation is Buck Thorn … both of which keep him and his crew happily busy in South Burlington!
Hometown: Burlington, VT
Jessie Warren and Kent Harlow
Washington County Community Crew Leaders
Jessie is super excited to begin this new adventure as a Crew Leader at VYCC. Since graduating from Johnson State College in 2015 with degrees in Media Art (concentration in documentary photography) and Anthropology/Sociology, Jessie has been passionate about combining advocacy and art to make a difference in the community. These days, their art is primarily embroidery and woodburning, focused mainly on LGBTQ+ rights, animal rights, and feminism. Jessie has worked with domestic violence survivors at The Clarina Howard Nichols Center and homeless/at risk youth at the Lamoille Family Center and Spectrum Youth and Family Services. An avid traveler and outdoorsman, Jessie can usually be found hiking, hammocking, woodworking, or farming. Jessie has traveled to France, Ireland, England, and taken multiple camping trips out west. While in college, they created an art installation at the International Symposium on Electronic Arts in Dubai, UAE. In the near future, Jessie plans to build their own homestead and tiny house in Vermont.
Hometown: Johnson, VT
Kent graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2013, and is proud to have worked in a variety of places with so many excellent people since. His interest in conservation stems from trips with his family in upstate New York, and has taken him from studying turtles in Virginia to outdoor education in California. Kent’s goal is to continue work in the outdoors and in particular, hopes to help others find their own curiosity and confidence in nature. At the University of New Hampshire, Kent studied abroad in New Zealand through EcoQuest, which instilled a desire for adventure, new experiences, and Pineapple Lumps. Kent is very excited to bring his love of new opportunity to VYCC this season.
Hometown: Hinesburg, VT
Alex Altenkirch and Josh Carter
Woodstock/Williston Community Crew Leaders
Alex is excited to lead a VYCC crew for the first time. He has had three seasons of experience in North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps. Alex is very enthusiastic about the outdoors and is very knowledgeable about the natural world. He is living in Raleigh, North Carolina, and studies Biology and Art at University of North Carolina Wilmington. He grew up in Germany, near Mainz, where he lived until 2008. Alex loves to draw and will design an unofficial logo for his crew.
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Josh grew up in the rolling hills of Panton, Vermont. He is fresh off a trip to the British Virgin Island where he volunteered for two months with All Hands All Heart to help the recovery response from recent hurricanes. He is back for another season at VYCC after leading a Leadership Development Crew in North Carolina. Josh is a passionate basketball fan and can be found coaching or playing in a game of pick up in his off time.
Hometown: Panton, VT
Eden Hartung and Daniella Orias
Spike 1 Female Leadership Development Crew Leaders
Eden comes to VYCC from Michigan. She grew up in Battle Creek but now spends most of her time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula studying at Northern Michigan University. She is currently on track to achieve a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with an Alternative Energies minor. She loves backpacking, climbing and watching the leaves change colors in the fall. She spent last summer in Colorado with the Southwest Conservation Corps and is excited to be in Vermont for the first time with the VYCC.
Hometown: Battle Creek, MI
Daniella Orias returns to the VYCC after successfully leading an 8-week Female Leadership Development Crew and completing 10 months as a VYCC Crew Member. She is a Florida native and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. Along with working for the VYCC, Daniella also was a Nature Arts Teacher in Florida and is passionate about teaching environmentalism, conservation, and plant identification. Daniella is also a certified yoga teacher and completed her 200-hour intensive training May 2015. One of her favorite quotes is, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle” by Albert Einstein. She is excited to bring her creative spirit, love of teaching, and passion for nature into this year’s VYCC 2018 Summer Season.
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Ryan Cutillo and Cody Phlipot
Spike 2 Dorset Crew Leaders
Ryan grew up in the deserts of southern California and worked as a journeyman house painter with his father for 15 years. His love of the outdoors was sparked on yearly camping trips with his father to the San Bernardino County National Forest. From 2017 to 2018 he served in Class 24 of AmeriCorps NCCC in the Southern Region working on various projects ranging from Hurricane Irma relief and wetland conservation in Florida, to serving on a fire management team in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in northern Virginia. He loves learning and is excited to meet new people and to work hard in the great outdoors. He is extremely passionate about history and in his free time enjoys playing the guitar, skateboarding and reading books. His favorite book of all time is The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Hometown: Hesperia, CA
As a new VYCC member, Cody came from Ohio’s flat lands to lead and grow in the green Vermont mountains. Cody graduated from Miami University in Ohio and studied business. During college and immediately after, Cody embarked on several extended trips including teaching indigenous tribes business in Panama and doing tropical native education in the Bahamas. Aside from his business background, Cody loves to build (including renovating houses), and live outdoors kayaking, hiking, and camping. Cody is happiest in life when he is helping others; doing it in a beautiful place in Vermont is all the better.
Hometown: Minster, OH
Jerad and Emma Weisner
Spike 4 Crew Leaders
Imported from the Ozarks last May, Jerad is back for his second season with the VYCC. Passionate about fresh air, his office has been the outdoors since graduating from Hendrix college with an Economics degree. In the offseason, he likes to fill his days with canoe trips, books, and a newfound ability to ski. Jerad has a knack for timing, so expect him as you would a summer storm.”
Emma was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and now studies Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Emma spent this past spring studying conservation in Tanzania, learning more about the global importance of responsible land use and petting lots of animals. Emma fell in love with wilderness travel as a young person paddling the Canadian lakes and rivers, and spent two summers guiding canoe trips in the Boundary Waters with YMCA Camp Menogyn. She loves working with young people in wild places and is always inspired by their creativity, flexibility, and willingness to learn and grow. As an avid conservationist, Emma believes that young people really are the future and feels optimistic about the preservation of wild places in the hands of capable, passionate youth. When she’s not working outside, Emma enjoys performing with her sketch comedy group, following celebrity gossip, and reading books written for teenagers (she’s read the Fault in Our Stars at least five times!).
Hometown: St. Louis Park, MN
Spike 5 Crew Leader
Sage first joined the VYCC in 2009 as a Crew Member, and is excited to return as a Crew Leader for the 2018 season! Sage graduated with a degree in Sociology from Portland State University in 2015, and received a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems in 2017. In between school years, he served with Americorps NCCC-FEMA Corps as a Corps Member in 2014 and as a Team Leader in 2016. Most recently, Sage has worked as a Site Supervisor for All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, leading volunteers to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Sage enjoys trail running, camping/backpacking, and traveling. He is excited to spend more time living and working in the great outdoors with his new team!
Hometown: West Linn, OR
Peter Gruchot and Terry Gardner
Spike 6 Crew Leaders
Peter grew up in northern Illinois and Wisconsin where he fostered his love for the outdoors. A lifelong drive for service with scouting led him to join AmeriCorps NCCC class 24 where he served all over the south eastern states, completing a slew of projects and disaster relief work. Vermont is an exciting new chapter for him, having never been to the northeast before. His favorite book is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Hometown: Lindenhurst, IL
Terry was born in upstate New York in the fall of 1990. Since graduating from the University of New Paltz with a degree in Digital Media, he’s taken up a role in the conservation world as both a Crew Member and Crew Leader with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Colorado. Now, after a winter of snowboarding in Steamboat Springs, he’s looking to get back to crew life in the Green Mountain State as a leader for VYCC. When he’s not soaking up the wilderness on sunny days, Terry likes to stay in with either a Coen Brothers movie, or a fantasy novel on the rainy ones.
Hometown: Saugerties, NY
Nick Havran and Alex Daby
North Carolina Spike 1 Crew Leaders
Nick hails from the state of Washington, but he runs around the US as if it were a playground. He’s excited to be back at VYCC again this year, engaging in his favorite conservation pastimes: cooking food, building community, and sharing his love of dogs. In fact, he might secretly be a dog. He thinks plants are cute.
Hometown: Portland, OR
First and foremost, Alex’s greatest asset is his ability to whistle with his big toe! Having spent the last few years in the deserts and mountains of the southwest, Alex has been working in several different fields of conservation. He’s excited to work in the forests of his native New England, and teach the next generation of trail workers.
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Noelle Rizzardi and Kevin Conley
North Carolina Spike 2 Crew Leaders
Noelle is a dedicated wildlife conservation advocate with a M.S. degree in Wildlife Biology. She has five years of experience working with wild animals. Her love for wildlife is equally matched by her love of the outdoors. She spends her free time rock climbing and backpacking with her partner, Ted, and their two designer mutts, Shelby and Blueberry. Noelle is very excited to share her passion and knowledge of wildlife and natural resource conservation with VYCC crew members.
Hometown: Hickory, NC
Kevin is a first year Crew Leader from South Carolina where he attended Clemson University and earned a degree in Parks and Conservation Area Management. The Blue Ridge Mountains provided a playground that developed his passion for the outdoors. As an outdoor professional, Kevin has a diverse range of experiences including work as a park ranger, river guide, climbing instructor, cave guide and most recently a snowboard instructor at Smugglers Notch. Kevin enjoys the challenges that nature presents and the character development that results in overcoming those challenges. If he is not in the mountains, you can likely find him sitting behind a drum set or a piano. Kevin looks forward to the new experiences coming in this 2018 season and the opportunity to enhance our natural resources.
Hometown: West Chapel, FL
North Carolina Spike 3 Crew Leader
Mitchell headed straight to VYCC after wrapping up his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College. His summer as a Spike Crew Member with VYCC in 2015 drove him to pursue a low-impact community oriented lifestyle. As an avid cross-country skier from Minnesota, Mitchell will be taking the heat as an North Carolina Youth Conservation Crew Leader. He is excited to share his love of hard work and bread baking with his crew. When not ankle-deep in mud, expect Mitchell to be summiting the mountain graciously named after him, or churning out more knit hats than an Icelandic grandmother.
Hometown: Prior Lake, MN