Youth Conservation Crews FAQ's


What is the schedule like?

YCC crews work Monday-Friday, and have the weekends off. Corpsmembers work 8 hour days, with two fifteen minute breaks and a half hour for lunch, as well as occasional time away from the worksite to participate in educational activities and field trips. The number of weeks may vary depending on the program. Check our Join page for current listings.


How many youth are on a crew?

Crews typically consist of six or seven members, and two trained crew leaders.


Do crews camp the whole time?

SECC offers both in-town crews, which allow for participants to go home at night, and camping crews, on which participants live and camp together durring the work week and return home on the weekends. Check the join page or contact the office for current crew offerings.


What kind of gear do youth need to participate?

SECC provides tents, sleeping bags, backpacking packs (if necessary) kitchen supplies, all tools and safety equipment and t-shirts to work in. Corpsmembers need to provide their own work pants work or hiking boots, personal clothing, and a day pack or large book bag with a lunch container and water containers that will hold at least 1 gallon of water. If your child cannot provide any of the required gear due to circumstances, please contact the office, as we may have some items to lend out, as well as some small scholarship funds.


If I am on a camping crew will I able to take showers?

The availability of running water varies from project to project. In most cases access to a shower is unlikely. However, corpsmembers are taught to maintain camping hygiene, and have a chance to rinse off in rivers or creeks if camped near water.


How can parents communicate with participants?

YCC participants are not allowed to bring cell phones with them into the field. However, Crew Leaders communicate frequently with the SECC office via radio or cell phone. Any urgent messages can be left with the office and relayed to crew members in the field. Updates from the crews will also be posted periodically in the blog section of SECC’s website, and on Facebook, so friends and family can see what is going on in the field throughout the season.


What is the food like?

Food is not provided for in-town crews, but all meals are provided for youth enrolled in the camping program, and learning to cook meals is a part of camp life that all participants will have a chance to take part in. The food options may vary depending on the type of projects and the accessibility to ice and refrigeration. Meals frequently consist of options such as oatmeal, breads and tortillas, peanut butter and jelly, trail mix, pastas, rice, canned meats and vegetables, cheese, lunch meat and a variety of fresh vegetables. Some accommodations can be made for participants with dietary restrictions or allergies.


Does my child have to be from Tennessee?

No. In the past SECC has had youth from Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia participate in YCC programs. The only restriction is that applicants do need to be able to commute home for the weekends and return to our office in Chattanooga on Monday mornings.


How do I apply?

Check the Join page for current openings and a link to our on-line application! Contact the office if you have any questions, or if you would like to request a paper application, at (423) 664-2344.



"I personally was surprised at how well we all worked together. That was kind of amazing for me because we had never met each other before and we just kind of knew what to do and how to help each other. Every single person on my crew is amazing and hard working. I couldn't ask to be on a better crew."

2017 YCC Corpsmember


In 2014 YCC Crews: 

  • Had 12 local youth participate in the program
  • Completed a total of 2,552 Service Hours
  • Cleared 6,030ft of corridor
  • Maintained 6,920ft of trail back slope and tread
  • Built 10 Rock Steps
  • Removed 3 Downed trees
  • Installed 3 Drains
  • Maintained 2 Switchbacks
  • Built 1 Crib Wall
  • Closed 20ft of trail
  • Built 1 Equestrian Stream Crossing
  • Participated in over 40 hours of education activities per Corpsmember