Roll up your sleeves and make a difference.

VYCC’s Conservation Program is an experience for youth and young adults who are interested in protecting our environment and improving outdoor recreation. Participants learn how to complete a project that is physically and mentally demanding, gain communication and leadership skills through work and community activities, get to know people from different backgrounds, and learn to work in a team.

What are Spike Crews?

Spike crews are modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government-funded program for young adults before World War 2 that provided hands-on training through conservation work on public lands. A “spike camp” is a secondary or temporary camp established by a forestry crew that was accessible from the main camp. These spike camps would make travel to work sites easier.

All our Spike Crew Members live in tents in a camp setting and work on high-priority conservation projects around the state of Vermont. Crews live together for the entire session and decide as a group how to spend their weekends.

Crews are co-ed and consist of up to eight Crew Members and two Crew Leaders who come together from all walks of life to build strong bonds with each other and the surrounding environment. They complete high-priority conservation projects such as trail building, bridge construction, watershed restoration, and historic building preservation.

Crews work with a variety of sponsoring agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation, and various local and national non-government conservation organizations. These relationships expose crews to a variety of future employment options and allow the opportunity to network with many professionals.

In addition to the projects, each workday holds many opportunities for building technical skills, exploring diverse perspectives during WoRD, gaining job and career building skills, and learning about the natural world. Corps Members develop leadership skills through a variety of hands-on activities.

Types of Spike Crews

General Spike Crew

We have a number of Spike Crews (camping) which work across the state on a range of projects including trail work, watershed protection, and more. We strive for all our crews to have a balance of social identities, especially gender identities.

WoW (Women of Wilderness) Crew

A crew for Corps Members who identify as girls, young women, and/or young transwomen. This crew is designed to give Corps Members the chance to explore the conservation field in an environment focused on support, encouragement, and empowerment. Because conservation and other technical trades traditionally have been dominated by cis-men, studies have shown that similar underrepresented identities programs, such as all-women/transwomen programs can be highly effective in building confidence and inspiring them to enter these technical arenas. The members of this crew will be pushed to explore and learn together, and will expand their comfort zones as they  build projects and live in a camp setting. Crew Members will benefit from the mentorship of highly-trained leaders, who will add a focus of empowerment, sharing, and support to the crews daily activities.

Regional Crews

In 2019, we hosted 3 regional crews that will camp near their work site. These crews will be staffed by youth from the region! These crews will be focused on everything all different types of projects: land management, trail building and maintenance and water quality work!

2019 Locations included Dorset area, Lamoille County, and Washington County.

Compensation

  • We provide a bi-weekly paycheck to our Youth Crews (2020 compensation to be announced in December 2019).
  • Housing (camping) and food
  • Some of the best “office” views in the state
  • Educational learning opportunities
  • College and career counseling and support
  • Access to our robust Alumni Network

Prior Qualifications

  • A Vermonter, between 15-18 years old
  • A desire to do your part and change the world with us.
  • Openness to learning, working hard outside, meeting new people, and receiving feedback.
  • Willingness and commitment to following all immediate and general crew policies.
  • Able to join a crew for 4 or 8 weeks from mid June to July or July to mid August.
  • If you are unable to find transportation to and from our HeadQuarters in Richmond, please let us know in your interview.

Interested in joining us for 2020? Want to be in the loop about what crews will be heading out next year? Email Nora to join our email list!

Questions?

Email Hans, Conservation Program Coordinator

Our Conservation Community Crews come together as a team to enhance local natural areas in your own community by day and return home at night (no camping needed!). This might include building trails and bridges in local parks, building rain gardens in town, and removing invasive species.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people are on a Community Crew?

There are up to eight Crew Members (15-18 years old) and two Crew Leaders.

What does the work day/week look like on a Community Crew?

Community Crews work Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m-4:30 p.m.

What does a typical day look like?

7:45amStart your day at the work site
10:00amMid-morning break (15 minutes)
12:00pmLunch
12:30pmWoRd*
1:00pmBack to work
2:30pmMid-afternoon break (15 minutes)
4:30pmEnd of day

*WoRD stands for Reading, Writing and Discussion. During this time, your crew will review the WoRD book (full of articles on various current topics) and as a group pick an article to read and then reflect as an individual through writing and as a group through discussion. This is an opportunity where crews are able to tailor the education program based on their areas of interest. Topics may range from conservation to poverty to personal ethics.

How old do you have to be? You must be a Vermont resident between the ages of 15-18. Reliable transportation to and from a designated meeting location Monday through Friday is key! Members provide their own housing.

How much do you get paid? These are jobs that pay weekly. We will be announcing 2020 pay rates in December 2019.

Interested in finding out about crews for 2020?

Email Nora, our Recruitment and Member Services Manager and let her know!

Questions about Community Crews?

Email Keith, Conservation Program Coordinator!

Make a lasting contribution to public lands or help supply food to hungry neighbors throughout Vermont. Serving as a VYCC Corps Member is a unique opportunity to work, travel, and make a difference.

Young adults join crews of between 4-6 Crew Members, 2 Crew Leaders and can either camp near their work site on a Conservation Spike Crew or live at home and come to work during the day on our Farm. Crews are co-ed and consist of up to eight Corps Members who come together from all walks of life to build strong bonds with each other and the surrounding environment.

In addition to the projects, each workday holds many opportunities for building technical skills, exploring diverse perspectives during WoRD, gaining job and career building skills, and learning about the natural world. Corps Members develop leadership skills through a variety of hands-on activities.

2019 Conservation Young Adult Programs

AmeriCorps Crews and General Young Adult Spike Crews are for young adults, age 18-26 years old, and focus on specific projects: the Parks Restoration Crew offers carpentry experiences; the Assessment Crew studies erosion and trail conditions; and the US Forest Service Crew improves trails, campgrounds, and ecosystems throughout the Green Mountain National Forest.  These crews also assist with watershed improvement projects across the state.

Spike (Camping) Crews

Our Young Adult Spike “camping” Crews live together, camping near a work site and work during the day (7:45 a.m-4:30 p.m.) along the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail, and in many state parks around Vermont. These crews are both general Crew Member positions (earning a hourly wage) or AmeriCorps Member positions (earning a weekly stipend and Segal Education Award at the completion of service).

Program Dates

  • Summer & Fall (16 week) AmeriCorps Crew: June 15 until October 29
  • Fall (8 week) AmeriCorps Crew: August 22 until October 29

Compensation:

  • AmeriCorps Members receive a weekly stipend (dependent on total hours), housing, farm fresh food daily, and earn a Segal Education Award at the completion of service.
  • General Spike Crew Members receive an hourly wage of $10.78/hour.

We are especially looking to recruit young people from low-income backgrounds. The skills you learn on these crews can ready you to jump into the Vermont workforce with the knowledge you need to join the trades, construction, and other well-paying fields. Ask us for more info about this!

Prior Qualifications

  • Between 18-26 years old.
  • A desire to do your part and change the world with us.
  • Openness to learning, working hard outside, meeting new people, and receiving feedback.
  • Willingness and commitment to following all immediate and general crew policies.
  • Able to join a crew for a full session (8 or 16 weeks or longer!) spring through fall.
  • No prior experience or special skills are needed. We fully train Members to do this job, which will prepare you for future jobs.

Interested in staying in the loop for crews next year?

Email Nora and she’ll let you know when applications are live for 2020!

Questions?

Email Hans for Conservation

Leading a crew is an adventure unlike any you’ve ever had before! As a teacher, work supervisor, and a role model, you will be responsible for building a community, ensuring your crew’s health and safety, and teaching life and job skills. By professionally managing your work project and ensuring high-quality standards, you’ll stretch your comfort zones and bask in the sweet rewards that follow.

Crew Leaders lead Crew Members from all walks of life. We hire Crew Members of varied interests and talents, representing many social, economic, and geographical backgrounds. The combination of a diverse crew, excellent leaders, and high-priority conservation projects creates a dynamic and educationally rich experience.

Your season will begin with paid staff training (late May to mid June) during which we will focus on teaching both technical and interpersonal skills needed to be a successful leader at VYCC, while also drawing out your own strengths and enhancing your existing skills. You will use what you’ve learned to transform your crew from a varied group of strangers into a tight-knit community. It will not be easy, but leading a group of young people in the completion of a one mile trail reroute or stabilizing river banks will teach you and your crew lessons you will use for the rest of your lives.

Leading a crew is an adventure unlike any you’ve ever had before! As a teacher, work supervisor, and a role model, you will be responsible for building a community, ensuring your crew’s health and safety, and teaching life and job skills. By professionally managing your work project and ensuring high-quality standards, you’ll stretch your comfort zones and bask in the sweet rewards that follow.

Types of Leadership Positions
We have three types of leadership positions at VYCC, all which oversee and lead a crew or project on our Farm or in our Conservation program.

No matter which leadership role you’re in, you start the season with paid staff training during which we will focus on teaching both technical and interpersonal skills needed to be a successful leader at VYCC, while also drawing out your own strengths and enhancing your existing skills. You will use what you’ve learned to transform your crew from a varied group of strangers into a tight-knit community.

Assistant Crew Leaders

  • Work alongside a Crew Leader to help guide and mentor the crew throughout the summer.
  • Develop and hone in your leadership and group facilitation skills through experience.
  • Note: This is an AmeriCorps position.
  • Dates: May 20 until August 19

Crew Leaders

  • Guide, mentor and coach a crew with a Co-Crew Leader for 8, 16 or more weeks.
  • Crew Leaders have a passion for leading a crew of Crew Members who are between the ages of 15 and 24 and from all walks of life.
  • Enjoy and thrive in a hard working environment that challenges, excites and provides many lessons.
  • We hire Crew Leaders and Members of varied interests and talents, representing many social, economic, and geographical backgrounds.
  • Join our Spring Peer Crew (only Crew Leaders) in addition to the regular season from April 17 until May 20. Start date is dependent on weather
  • Regular Season: May 20 until August 18 or May 20 until October 29.
  • We are also offering fall Crew Leader positions from August 22 until October 29.

Types of Crews
A crew is made up of four to eight youth or young adult Crew Members that work and learn together. Crew Leaders will lead either a Community Crew or a Spike Crew.

  • Conservation Community Crews work Monday through Friday in Burlington, South Burlington, Williston, or Woodstock. Community Crews work during the day at their work site (7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) and crew members head home at night.
  • Spike “camping” Crews (for youth or young adults) live together, camping near a work site and work during the day (7:45 a.m-4:30 p.m.) in Rutland, Lamoille and Washington counties, the Dorset area, the Long Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and in many state parks around Vermont. Some of our Spike crews are AmeriCorps Member positions, which means Crew Members are earning a living stipend and an educational award.

Crew Leader Dates:

Spring Peer Crew: April 17 until May 17, 2019. Start date is weather dependent.

Wilderness First Aid Training & Certification (we offer this for free, if needed): May 20 and 21, 2019.

Mandatory Crew Leader Training: May 22 until June 15, 2019

Summer Crews: June 15 until August 19, 2019

Long Term Crews: June 15 until October 29, 2019

Fall Term Crews: August 22 until October 29,2019

Compensation

Compensation

  • Earn up to $585 per week as a Crew Leader
  • Earn up to $375 per week plus an AmeriCorps Education Award as an Assistant Crew Leader.
  • Paid Wilderness First Aid Certification (must come early to training on May 20th to complete)
  • Robust training prior to the season starting (starts May 22 or August 22) including trainings and certifications, including but not limited to:
    • Leave No Trace (c)
    • 3 day Professional Technical training including carpentry, dirt and stone work with local professionals in the field
    • Equity and Inclusion
    • Risk Assessment and Safety Management
    • Youth development
    • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Health Care and Dental Insurance, for Long Term Crew Leaders (May-Late October)!
  • Are you a returner? You may be eligible for our Simple IRA!
  • Farm fresh food from our organic farm.
  • Housing (limited on the farm, please inquire)
  • One week session breaks (every 4 weeks), which include 2-3 days off to play in Vermont!
  • Career and college advancement opportunities and pathway support
  • Discounts and pro-deals at some of your favorite retailers including, Prana, Red Ants Pants, Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel and many others!
  • Access to our robust Alumni network for networking and future adventures!

Prior Qualifications

  • At least 20 years old.
  • A desire to do your part and change the world with us.
  • Previous experience leading young people and/or in outdoor work.
  • Openness to learning, working hard outside, meeting new people, and receiving feedback.
  • Willingness and commitment to following all immediate and general crew policies.
  • Good driving record and a valid driver’s license held for at least three years.
  • Able to join take part in our mandatory all Crew Leader training starting in late May and work for our summer, fall, or both seasons

Learn more in our Conservation Crew Leader Position Description!

Apply now! Apps are reviewed on a rolling basis and due August 5 for the fall season!

Questions?

Email Pilar, Conservation Program Manager.

Not available for the fall, but interested in leading in 2020?

Email Nora, Recruitment & Member Services Manager to be one of the first to know that our 2020 applications are live and crews are announced!

Our Commitment to Excellence

VYCC has a deep commitment to excellence. We believe we are strongest when our team includes members with a broad range of life experiences. We strive to achieve this at all levels of our organization, and actively encourage and recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse applicant pool. VYCC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.