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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 26, 2002
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks creates Youth Conservation Corps

(RICHMOND) - The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is looking for a few good young men and women to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia.

DCR is now accepting applications for the inaugural two-week session of the Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), scheduled for July 28 through Aug. 10.

"The Youth Conservation Corps is an exciting and challenging opportunity for students 15-18 years of age to serve the commonwealth," said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. "Service to others is an honorable, character-building pursuit, and the YCC will fill a need in our parks and in the lives of young people."

YCC participants will assist with an assortment of projects in Virginia State Parks, including wildlife and fisheries habitat improvement, trail and campground construction and restoration, timber and shoreline improvement, and landscape beautification, to name a few, Elton said.

The 2002 YCC camps will be held at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin; False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach; Hungry Mother State Park in Marion; Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield; Raymond R. "Andy" Guest Jr. Shenandoah River State Park in Warren County; and Westmoreland State Park in Westmoreland County.

"These young people will make permanent and important contributions to our parks," Elton said. "At the same time, they will learn valuable life lessons that will raise their awareness of environmental stewardship, teach them job skills, discipline and the importance of teamwork, and it will improve their self-esteem and confidence."

The YCC is modeled after the federal service program, AmeriCorps, and the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps that constructed the original six Virginia State Parks.

"The two-week program is open to young men and women between 15 and 18," said YCC Coordinator Gaston Rouse Jr. "YCC crew-members will be provided room, board, tee-shirts and work-related equipment, and will receive a $200 stipend at the end of the two weeks. The memories and experiences they take away will last forever."

Adult supervisors at least 21 years old also are needed for the program.

The YCC application deadline for both students and supervisors is May 1.

"The supervisors will serve as leaders and direct all activities of their crew," Rouse said. "It's a hard job that isn't for everyone, but the rewards are great. Supervisors have the opportunity to make a difference in our parks, and in the lives of the young corps members."

Supervisor applicants will undergo a criminal background check before being hired. Supervisors will receive $28 per diem a $1,000 stipend upon completion of the program.

For more information or an application, contact Rouse at (703) 550-0960, e-mail vspycc@dr.state.va.us.

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