The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and personal responsibility.
The NCYCC is a partnership between the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC). NCYCC participants contribute hundreds of hours of hard work to improve and expand access to protected natural areas, so that more North Carolina families can connect with the outdoors. For many participants, this is a life-transforming experience.
The NCYCC puts together crews of 8 to 10 young people who work under the close supervision of two highly trained adult leaders on high-priority conservation projects. The crews work 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 3 to 7 weeks on local, state, federal, or land trust properties. An additional hour is budgeted each day for WoRD (Writing Reading and Discussion), an educational program focused on relevant current topics. Crews are either “camping,” in which crew members and leaders live together outdoors near the project site, or “commuter,” in which crew members and leaders live at home and report to their work site each workday. Crew members earn minimum wage, and crew leaders earn slightly more.
The NCYCC establishes work projects with various partners across North Carolina. The work varies depending on the geographic location and goals of the sponsoring partner. Projects include trail construction and maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, building of campground facilities, planting trees, and community garden work.
WoRD – Writing, Reading, and Discussion
The WoRD program is a fundamental component of all NCYCC crews. WoRD encourages crew members and leaders to engage in thoughtful discussions about meaningful, relevant topics throughout the work week. Using a compilation of current articles and essays, all crews read aloud about important environmental and social issues. The crews discuss what they have read and write in their journals about the topic.
Crew leaders are trained on the work they will teach crew members, including potential hazards and ways to avoid or reduce them. Emergency plans are created for work and camp sites. Crew members receive instructions on the safe way to handle tools.
Find the NC Youth Conservation Corps opportunity that is right for you!
All NCYCC positions are located in North Carolina and members will be camping in tents for the duration of their term. Learn more about all NCYCC positions below. If you are interested in applying for a 2018 NCYCC position, visit our application portal or email email@example.com.
NCYCC Crew Leader
NCYCC Crew Leaders serve as teachers, work supervisors, and role models for groups of youth (ages 16 to 18) and young adults (ages 18 to 24). Each crew has two crew leaders. Together, the crew leaders oversee the health and safety of the crew, build community, professionally manage work projects, teach life and job skills, ensure high standards are met, facilitate crew education, and uphold the NCYCC mission.
- Salary: $500-$575 per week, $250 per week during training
- Qualifications and Responsibilities
NCYCC Crew Member
Spike Crew members live in tents in a camp setting and work on high-priority conservation projects to make a lasting contribution to North Carolina communities and landscapes. This is a traditional crew design, modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps.
- Salary: $10 per hour. (Compensation is based on a 40-hour work week and is adjusted on an hourly basis for time off. $60.00 is withheld per week for room and board.)
- Age: 16 – 18
- Qualifications and Responsibilities
Leadership Development crew members are provided the opportunity to refine their leadership skills for future job position through this more advanced crew position. Like spike crews, members live in tents in a camp setting while working outdoors, but they also participate in a rigorous experiential leadership development curriculum that includes lessons on leadership theory, skills, and hands-on workshops that give members opportunities to explore their individual leadership styles. Crew members learn more advanced technical skills and are expected to practice more crew leadership with the support of their crew leaders.
- Salary: $10 per hour (Compensation is based on a 40-hour work week and is adjusted on an hourly basis for time off. $60.00 is withheld per week for room and board.)
- Age: Must be 18 or older to apply
- Qualifications and Responsibilities
NCYCC in the News:
- NCYCC Uwharrie
- NCYCC Blue Ridge Parkway
- NCYCC Jordan Lake
- NCYCC Shiloh Landing
- NCYCC Blue Ridge Parkway
- NCYCC Falls Lake
In 2016, the NCYCC protected, improved and restored trails, nature preserves, and outdoor recreation resources for the public at seven sites across North Carolina. The NCYCC also expanded its program to provide a greater diversity of experiences for young people. For the first time, the NCYCC offered three week crews for high school students and a special leadership crew for older young adults.
The first three-week crew worked for Tar River Land Conservancy and Triangle Land Conservancy on trail construction and removal of trash and invasive plants on the land conservancies’ respective preserves. The crew then moved to Cape Hatteras where, working in 100 degree heat, they removed and replaced an historic fence and painted a National Park Service building. The second three-week crew completed the historic fence building project at Cape Hatteras. A seven week youth crew worked for the National Park Service on various trail, campsite, and erosion improvements in the Pisgah area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The NCYCC’s all-female seven week crew completed trail construction and maintenance, invasive plant removal, and fence repairs for the Army Corps of Engineers at Falls and Jordan Lakes, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation at McDowell Nature Preserve in Charlotte and Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association at “The Rocks “ nature preserve in Durham. This crew also contributed to the work of the three week crews at Cape Hatteras, where they removed and replaced historic fence posts. Finally, a seven week young adult crew worked for the United States Forest Service in central North Carolina’s Uwharrie National Forest, where they repaired badly eroded equestrian trails. Their work included moving over 32 tons of gravel by wheelbarrow to washed out areas of the trails. Overall, this was a fantastic season for the NCYCC.
The 2015 was a busy one! One NCYCC crew restored a U.S. Forest Service trail near Blowing Rock. A second crew completed a variety of projects for the National Park Service along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A third crew worked on trail construction and facility improvements for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, trail work and invasive plant removal for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, and launched a new public park at Shiloh Landing (near Tarboro and Princeville) for Edgecombe County. The fourth crew built a new boardwalk at Lake Waccamaw State Park, worked in two Wake County parks, and made improvements to a Mecklenburg County nature preserve owned by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. The crews’ work included the following specifics:
Thunderhole/China Creek Trail – Watauga and Caldwell Counties
- 5 miles of trail construction and maintenance and completion of a new kiosk at the trailhead
Blue Ridge Parkway between Mileposts 260 and 305 – Watauga, Caldwell, and Avery Counties
- Trail maintenance on the Boone Fork Trail, Green Knob Trail, Rough Ridge Trail, and Tanawha Trail
- Removal and construction of historic fencing at the Julian Price Picnic Area, Moses Cone Manor, and Sims Creek Overlook
Falls Lake Visitor Assistance Center – Wake County
- Construction of wildlife viewing blind and features for a nature play area
Jordan Lake – Chatham County
- 7 miles of trail construction and maintenance
Shiloh Landing – Edgecombe County
- Construction of one mile of new trail, five benches, and two picnic tables
Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve – Durham County
- Trail construction and maintenance that included four new boardwalk sections and invasive plant removal
- 150 feet of new boardwalk construction
Seven Oaks Nature Preserve – Mecklenburg County
- 50 acres of invasive plant removal, trash pick-up, habitat restoration, and trail maintenance
Harris Lake County Park – Wake County
- Construction of 60 feet of new boardwalk for the park’s disc golf course
Lake Crabtree County Park – Wake County
- Construction of a new building to house the park’s historic hand dug well for public viewing and invasive plant removal
Two camping crews worked for North Carolina State Parks at Carolina Beach, Fort Fisher, Cliffs of the Neuse, Stone Mountain, Pilot Mountain, and Mount Jefferson State Parks building and maintaining trails, building fencing, constructing tent pads, and making repairs to facilities. A third camping crew built a 1.5 mile trail for the LandTrust for Central North Carolina at Spencer Woods in the Town of Spencer and more than 2 miles of trail for the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy in Hickory Nut Gorge. A fourth Triangle-based commuter crew built a new trail at Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve in Durham for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, constructed trails and a playscape at the Falls Lake Visitor Assistance Center and Jordan Lake for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and worked for Wake County on invasive species removal, scientific studies, and construction of a playscape at Harris Lake County Park.
One camping crew built a 7-mile mountain bike trail for the U.S. Forest Service in the Croatan National Forest. A second camping crew completed a variety of projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Falls Lake, trail construction and maintenance for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and removal of invasive plants from the Eno River at Eno River State Park.
What Can You Do? Help Sponsor a Crew!
- Paid summer jobs for resumes and internship credit
- Meaningful outdoor experiences
- Supervised work experience with diverse colleagues
- Natural resource education
- Career education
- Community service
- Hard but rewarding work
For a day, a week, even a month! (This covers all direct costs – crew members, crew leaders, transportation, supplies, food, management, and insurance.)
- One Crew Member for One Day = $200
- One Crew for One Day = $2,000
- One Crew for One Week = $10,000
- One Crew for One Month = $40,000
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps; Woodson Family Foundation; Fred and Alice Stanback; Bill and Nancy Stanback; U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Blue Ridgeway Parkway Foundation; Kulynych Family Foundation; BB&T; Cape Fear Resource, Conservation & Development, Inc.; Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space; Pepsi Bottling Ventures; Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation; North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperatives; Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association; Columbia Sportswear; Great Outdoor Provision Company; 84 Lumber; New Generation Leaders of Edgecombe County; National Park Service; Catawba Lands Conservancy; North Carolina State Parks; and many generous individual donors!