Our work is driven by 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.
Have any questions? Contact our Conservation Crew Leader Supervisor, Pilar!
Sage Hill, AmeriCorps 1 Crew Leader
Sage returns to VYCC for a second season as Crew Leader. Sage worked as a Construction Site Supervisor for All Hands and Hearts Smart Response and served two terms with AmeriCorps NCCC-FEMA Corps. A graduate of Portland State University, Sage’s education includes Environmental Science, Geographic Information Systems, and Sociology. Sage is passionate about the power of service in working to make the world a better place. When he isn’t blazing trails or rebuilding hurricane-damaged homes, you could likely find him camping, trail running, cooking, or trying to capture the beauty of the world through a camera lens. Coincidentally, working with VYCC is a fantastic opportunity for all those things! Sage is looking forward to another season and all of the amazing challenges and opportunities that it can bring.
Hometown: West Linn, OR
Allie Kratzat, AmeriCorps 1 Crew Leader
Allie is excited for her first season with VYCC as a Spike Crew Leader! A graduate of the SUNY ESF Ranger School in New York State, she has experience as a field forest technician and can’t wait to help her crew members get hands-on in protecting all the natural resources Vermont has to offer. A native of New York’s North Country, Allie has hiked, backpacked and paddled since she was a young kid. She’s previously worked for the Adirondack Mountain Club and Johnson Lumber, a sustainable white pine lumbermill that works with local landowners. Having just moved to Richmond, she’s super pumped to explore the Green Mountains, the National Forest, and all of the state’s beautiful wilderness while getting involved directly in conservation.
Hometown: Richmond, VT
Jack McCarthy, AmeriCorps 2 Crew Leader
Jack hopes to change the world by introducing localized change into the communities he is part of. He believes that each and every one of us can make a difference if we choose to start with ourselves and work outward into our local communities. Jack is a recent graduate of Northern Vermont University (previously Johnson State College) with a focus on Wellness and Alternative Medicine, and Creative Writing. He enjoys being outdoors and finds solace within the trees, great friends, and open opportunities. One day he hopes to have his own cabin in the woods to live sustainably and expose his friends and communities to similar ideals.
Hometown: Johnson, VT
Maya Cruikshank, AmeriCorps 2 Crew Leader
Maya has come back to Vermont from Portland, Oregon for her second year as a VYCC alum and first year as Crew Leader. This Montpelier-grown gal has been adventuring around the West Coast the past 2 years. She spent last season as a Wildland Firefighter for the Mt. Hood type 2 I.A. crew. Maya loves long walks in the woods, painting, and burritos. She’s excited for an AMAZING summer of growth and hopes to share her smile across Vermont.
Hometown: Portland, OR
Matt O’Donnell, AmeriCorps 3 Crew Leader
Matt brings experience and skills in camping, orienteering, and trail building through an early career with the Boy Scouts. After reaching the rank of Eagle, Matt kept exploring his love for adventure, and all that nature has to offer, through countless weekend camping trips and excursions into the forests of the Northeast and beyond. This May, Matt graduated from UVM with a B.S. in Forestry and a minor in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. He is excited to bring his extensive knowledge of ecology and natural resources to VYCC and is looking forward to further developing his skills as a leader in a wilderness setting. His hobbies include hiking, slack-lining, hacky-sack, and really anything else that can get him outside on a beautiful day.
Hometown: Danbury, CT
August Tallmadge, AmeriCorps 3 Crew Leader
This is August’s fourth season with VYCC. In 2017, he was an Assistant Crew Leader for a Leadership Development crew. He is excited to bring skills and experience in trail construction and watershed projects to his crew this year. In addition to being passionate about wilderness protection and trail construction, August is attending Stonehill College and has spent a semester abroad studying the Syrian refugee crisis. He enjoys both cross-country running and reading. He is excited to bring a positive attitude and technical know-how to his crew this year!
Hometown: Colchester VT
Nick Havran, AmeriCorps 4 Crew Leader
Nick comes from the Puget Sound lowlands where he discovered his roots in conservation. He took a chance and moved to Vermont to discover a thriving community and a rural lifestyle. Since then he has been enjoying simple pleasures while living close to nature. He considers the culinary arts, plant identification, operating chainsaws, and hiking trails among the finer things in life. Nick loves the outdoors so much, he has been found using dirt as shampoo/conditioner.
Through conservation corps, Nick has made connections with people from a wide background and learned what it takes to live in a small community. His time spent doing conservation work, he considers the best of his life. For Nick, the outdoors is a place for him to be the best version of himself. He wants to share his values in hard work and perseverance and hopes to facilitate an unforgettable experience.
Hometown: Kirkland, WA
Ryan Joseph, AmeriCorps 4 Crew Leader
Ryan, a Vermont native, has led groups of youth with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar for four years. As a busy college student at UVM, Ryan likes to spend his free time scampering around Vermont’s mountains, and cross country skiing the backwoods. Combining these experiences of leadership training, a passion for outdoor adventure and experiences, and his increasingly expanding knowledge of environmental studies, Ryan is beyond ecstatic to work with his crew to instill a similar passion for leadership and the natural world. He is excited to share corny jokes, many laughs, and rigorous but rewarding work with his crew over the course of the program, and can’t wait to see the growth made by all throughout the coming weeks.
Hometown: Milton, VT
Shea Gorman, Spike 1 Crew Leader
Shea Gorman is back at VYCC after participating in a Leadership Development Crew in 2017. The following year, Shea graduated from Catholic University with a Bachelor of Social Work. He has spent the past year working at a nonprofit that redistributes gently used clothing and furniture to families in need in the DC metro area. Shea hopes to continue his education at the University of New Hampshire studying Social Work and Outdoor Education. Shea’s love of the outdoors began on a camping trip in Vermont at the age of 4, and he has been back every summer since. Shea is thrilled to be back in Vermont doing what he loves – working with people in the outdoors and giving back to the community.
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Berta Grossman, Spike 1 Crew Leader
Berta joins VYCC as a continuation of her service through AmeriCorps, as an Assistant Leader with FEMA-Corps (in Texas, Georgia, and D.C.) Her greatest strength is her ability to communicate effectively with others. Her friends and family know her as somebody who is kind, understanding, and a great supporter. Berta looks forward to supporting a well-organized crew with a focus on wellness and personal growth. After VYCC, Berta will get ready to enter the world of disaster services and emergency relief by studying Emergency Management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Hometown: East Bridgewater, MA
Jasper Cowley, Spike 2 (Roving) Crew Leader
Jasper is excited to return to VYCC after being away for too long: he joined a leadership development crew in 2015, and liked it so much he joined two subsequent VYCC crews. Since then, he’s backpacked thousands of miles, spent two months mountaineering and white water canoeing in the Yukon on a NOLS course, and spent 3 years studying sustainability, civic engagement, and social justice at the University of Massachusetts. He is very passionate about helping others to achieve their highest potential and thinks the outdoors are the ideal setting to inspire self-growth. He is super excited to guide his Crew Members through an amazing season with VYCC!
Hometown: Northampton, MA
Sam Miller, Spike 2 (Roving) Crew Leader
Sam joins VYCC after his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps as an armored vehicle commander. Sam discovered his passion for the outdoors over a decade ago while serving as a ground Search and Rescue team member at the Civil Air Patrol, where he was a graduate of the National Emergency Services Academy. Sam has camped and led teams for extended periods of time all over the southern United States, Indiana, the Mojave Desert, Okinawa, Haiti, and Australia. Coming from Jackson, Mississippi, Sam enjoys his motorcycle and four rescue dogs. He is excited to bring his passion for the outdoors and empowerment of others’ abilities to VYCC this season!
Hometown: Madison, MS
Hannah Russell, Spike 3 (Women of Wilderness) Crew Leader
Hannah brings enthusiasm, adventure stories, card games, and a whole lot of fun. She has a passion for all outdoor-related activities and has a knack for getting anyone ready to do anything. Having worked with youth as a 4-H teacher in Austin and with disabled youth in Illinois, she knows how to find the best in anyone and knows how to make the best of any situation. Hannah has also worked for the Palmetto Conservation Corps (SC), where she built skills in trail building. Ask her about her family hikes with goats!
Hometown: Murphysboro, IL
Emily Ray, Spike 3 (Women of Wilderness) Crew Leader
Senior at Unity College, Emily has a background in Natural Resources Management with a concentration in plant studies. She chose this job because she wants to teach and make a difference in young adults lives while trying to have a positive impact on the environment. Emily brings prior leadership skill from working with TRiO Upward Bound and experience with environmental restoration and maintenance projects. She has worked with the Mettowee Valley Conservation District to restore and stabilize riparian areas. Emily hopes that her crew will gain valuable knowledge on plants and their systems and how to identify them. She hopes to tell many corny jokes and looks forward to cooking meals that feel like home.
Hometown: Rutland, VT
Katie Reidinger, Spike 4 Crew Leader
Katie Reidinger joins VYCC after spending two summer seasons with the Southwest Conservation Corps and graduating from St. Michael’s College. She grew up in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. In college, Katie discovered a love for conservation biology as well as working outdoors. She enjoys listening and playing music as well as playing board games and arts and crafts. She is very excited to return to Vermont and continue conservation work with the VYCC.
Hometown: Wilmington, DE
Roland Garafalo, Spike 4 Crew Leader
Roland served on an AmeriCorps crew with VYCC in 2018. He learned a variety of conservation project techniques, expanded his leadership capabilities, and embraced long-term backcountry living. As a graduate of Champlain College, and with various marketing and administrative positions under his belt, Roland’s experience with VYCC inspired him to change the direction of his career and passions. In his free time, Roland enjoys rock climbing, hiking, reading, cooking, listening to music, and spending time with his friends in the beautiful Burlington area. He is very excited to serve as a Crew Leader and hopes to make this season as fun, exciting, and adventurous as it was for him when he was a Crew Member.
Hometown: Branford CT
Emma Thomas, Washington County Crew Leader
Emma is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island with an M.S. in Oceanography. While in school, she had a blast piloting a remotely operated underwater vehicle and working with school groups as an outreach scientist. She also holds a B.S. in Physics from UMass. This year, she is excited to take a break from the ocean and run away to Vermont! Emma has been involved in trail work since she was 16 when she volunteered with the Appalachian Mountain Club and has been adventuring through New England mountains her whole life. On land or sea, Emma loves using scientific knowledge and problem solving to form connections with the natural world.
Hometown: Somerville, MA
Alex Altenkirch, Washington County Crew Leader
Alex is excited to work with a new crew this summer. He has worked before in North Carolina, and this is his second time working as a Crew Leader here in Vermont. He decided he likes to be away from the heat down south. Alex loves to teach people about nature! A bit unfamiliar with the nature here, he is learning fast. The only thing he likes more than nature is drawing. Alex will try to draw y’all a neat lil’ crew logo.
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Cady George, Dorset Crew Leader
Cady is coming to VYCC after working on several conservation projects with AmeriCorps NCCC. Those projects were such an influence in her life that this fall, she’ll be attending the University of Maine to study Forestry. She is very excited to work outside again this summer and leave our planet better than she found it. Cady is full of useless facts and is a huge fan of word games, which serves her well during trail projects. She’s really looking forward to living and working with a team, but fair warning: she’s not super great at cooking in an indoor kitchen (so she doesn’t really excel when she’s in an outdoor one), and in the event that she sees cows, she will definitely point them out to you each and every time.
Hometown: Northlake, TX
Adam Brown, Dorset Crew Leader
This is Adam’s first year on a conservation team and he is ready to tackle it all. Coming from a background in youth development with the YMCA, he has built relationships with the children he’s overseen, the counselors he’s led, and the parent’s he’s served. Growing up in the rural mountain areas of NC and VA, he has learned the importance of community and indulged in long days of hiking, kayaking, and building makeshift shelters in the woods for many years. He believes nature is a place to build upon relationships with loved ones and yourself, and that you should try and do what you love in life. In the fall of 2019 he will be attending Appalachian State University as a junior in Environmental Studies. Adam hopes to inspire his crew to learn about the ecology around them.
Hometown: King, NC
Beck Powers, Burlington Crew Leader
Beck is a lifelong learner and lover of the natural world and is extremely excited to be leading a VYCC conservation crew! He is equally passionate about efforts that protect the natural landscape and support young people in being catalysts for change in their lives. As an undergrad at UVM, Beck led a service crew of first-year students doing trail work for the Catamount Ski Trail, an experience that instilled in him the importance of inclusivity and social justice in his role as a leader. Beck also brings experience in youth mentorship to VYCC as a volunteer at the non-profit organization Outright Vermont, where he facilitates support programs for LGBTQIA+ youth. In his spare time, you can find Beck botanizing in Vermont forests or working on his latest botanical illustration. Expect an approachable, compassionate, and fun leader in Beck – he can’t wait to dig in with you!
Hometown: Burlington, VT
Maggie Lee, Burlington Crew Leader
Maggie is beyond excited for her first summer with VYCC as an Assistant Community Crew Leader. Currently working towards a degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont, Maggie has had opportunities to study everything from nutrient cycling in Lake Champlain to the profound impact nature can have on one’s mental health. In her time at UVM, Maggie has worked for the first-year orientation program as, and as a Teaching Assistant in the Natural Resources Department. From a young age, she’s found her happy places in the outdoors and wants to share radical reciprocity for the Earth with her Crew Members. Maggie is also passionate about puns, so if you’re feeling in need of a good chuckle, she’s your lady!
Hometown: Springfield, NH
Kris Hunt, Williston Crew Leader
Kris comes to VYCC a seasoned adventurer from Vermont. He is a team member of VTBADV, a bicycle adventure team based out of Barre. He is a bike mechanic at Vermont Bicycle Shop and a board/ trail crew member of Millstone Trail Association. He can be found on his bike in every season, on the roads, mountains, and snowy winter fields. Kris doesn’t just bike, he hikes and kayaks and swims and sometimes even jogs with his thirteen year old dog Hazel. Kris is a gentle, kind, encouraging leader who is happiest when he is helping others find their own joy in the woods, fields, rivers, mountains, and trails of Vermont. He can’t wait for the 2019 VYCC summer season and the opportunity to lead and explore with his crew, making the greater Burlington area ever more welcoming to those who seek solace and adventure in the outdoors.
Hometown: Essex, VT
Adam Stoumen, Williston Crew Leader
With a B.S degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont, Adam’s passion is to create positive outdoor learning experiences for youth and adults. Adam fostered this passion after graduating from a NOLS course in the Pacific Northwest. In the years that followed, he dedicated himself to being a hands on and active learner. Adam interned at Shelburne Farms where he led school field trips and organized community events. He spent his college career as an Outing Club leader as well as a TREK leader, leading both canoeing and backpacking trips. Adam loves to play disc golf and is a big Atlanta Braves baseball fan. He cannot wait to meet the people that make VYCC such a special place!
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Vytas Nielsen, Woodstock Crew Leader
Vytas is pumped to share his abilities with outdoor adventure and work with his crew. These include summer and winter camping, canoeing, primitive survival skills, and winter mountaineering! Vytas calls Brandon, VT home and is finishing a Health Science Major at Castleton University with a Minor in Outdoor Education Recreation. In his spare time, Vytas is an avid rock climber and loves to share his passion with others. He also hiked the Long Trail last July which is what sparked his curiosity in VYCC hoping to help maintain the trails he loves. He is very excited to meet everyone and to make many new friends!
Hometown: Brandon, VT
Chancey Clark, Woodstock Crew Leader
Chancey was born in Burlington and grew up in a small ranching community on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It was there where he learned his passion for adventure and his love for the outdoors. Chancey spent two seasons in Lake Tahoe working with conservation districts in California and Nevada preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout the region. He recently moved from Austin, where he served with Texas Conservation Corps, and is very excited to be back in Vermont for the summer to lead a VYCC crew. In his downtime, he enjoys road trips, hunting, fishing, and hiking with his golden retriever named Tucker.
Hometown: Austin, TX