VYCC’s Community Crews Cap Their Season of Work and Connections
September 7, 2018 |
Did you see a VYCC uniform in your downtown this summer? Good!
Over the eight weeks of our two summer sessions, we had our seven Community Crews working all over the state. They worked on watershed work, taught listeners about fire building safety on VPR’s podcast and about our work in Washington County on WGDR, and how a VYCC crew job is the best job a young person can have in Vermont.
But, these crews did much more than just work hard! They invited hundreds of local community members to meet them in the field, on the farm, or right downtown at a community event, to see and hear about their impact first hand. It was a great way for corps members to gain valuable public speaking skills and for locals to be wowed (and thank the crews).
All in all, we hosted twenty-two Community Crew meet ups across the state and dramatically increased how many Vermonters got a chance to meet our crews in person. Yeah! We had a great mix of project partners, local officials, parents, friends, VYCC alumni, and curious community members meet us for:
- Hiking the improved Wantastiquet Mountain Trail with the Brattleboro Community Crew (BrattPack).
- Learning about trail maintenance and then watching the sunset from the top of Ethan Allen Tower in Burlington’s New North End and catching free music in City Hall Park over lunches with the Burlington Community Crew.
- Hiking the newly blazed Owls Head Town Forest trail loop with the Spike 2 Dorset crew and later enjoying a community potluck while the crew shared their experience to a packed room.
- Marching in the Westford July 4th parade!
- Demonstrations of water bar construction in the Barre Cow Pasture to locals and more free music over lunch while the Washington County Community Crew talked about their other area projects with folks in Montpelier.
- Lunch at Red Rocks and Wheeler Park, with our South Burlington Community Crew, as they pointed out the invasive species removal they had worked so hard on this summer.
- A midday walk on the Milton River Walk with the Williston/Woodstock Crew and then later, a large community presentation at the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Park, where the crew had just finished erosion control measures.
- Two large farm to plate dinners on our campus here in Richmond, where the Richmond Community Farm crews cooked and served their harvest to parents, friends, and supporters.
- And a night at the ballpark with a few of our Chittenden County area crews to see the Lake Monsters play.
In 2017, in our first year of Community Crew meet ups, we held eight gatherings in Barre, Brattleboro, South Burlington, Burlington, Dorset, Richmond, and Woodstock.
More About VYCC Community Crews
The VYCC Community Crew model is built upon having local youth work on conservation or farm projects in their own towns here in Vermont. We partner with a variety of organizations, municipalities, and state agencies to line up project sites in and around the towns of Brattleboro, Newport, Richmond, Williston, and Woodstock and the cities of Barre, Burlington, South Burlington, and Montpelier. Local youth, ages 15-18 work on teams of 6-8 with two young adult Crew Leaders to address conservation projects like trail maintenance needs, remove invasive species, fight erosion, and/or become farmers, growing a full season of organic vegetables as part of our Health Care Share. Crews get to live at home and work during the day, allowing for a robust crew experience without the additional logistics of camping out all summer like our Spike crews.