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Southeast Conservation Corps

Youth Programs

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The future of Conservation and Service 

SECC’s service projects for Youth Conservation Crew programs take place throughout the state of Tennessee and neighboring states within the Southeast region. For a majority of these projects, Corpsmembers will work, live and camp communally in teams consisting of six crewmembers and two leaders. Projects include, but are not limited to, trail design, maintenance and construction, watershed restoration, habitat enhancement, fencing, tree planting, invasive plant removal, and much, much more. Along with earning a living allowance, all Corpsmembers learn invaluable professional and personal skills. Corpsmembers that complete an SECC service program re-enter their communities as individuals with elevated employment skills and stronger presence of leadership, resiliency, and dedication to natural resources.

Youth Conservation Crew Program

During the summer months, SECC operates the Youth Conservation Corps programs. The crews are for high school aged youth, run for six weeks and are paid service positions. 

These programs provide job skills and leadership opportunities, as well as professional and personal development. A typical workday could include trail construction, trail maintenance, corridor clearing, invasive species removal, restoration of cultural resources, preservation of commemorative resources or habitat restoration. Members have the opportunity to work on local public lands, such as National Forests and National Parks. 

A typical SECC youth crew is comprised of two crew leaders and six corpsmembers, ages 16–18. Both in-town and camping crews are based out of the SECC office in Chattanooga, TN. Camping crews work within a 2-3 hours radius of Chattanooga, while in-town youth crews work within the greater Chattanooga area.  

Monday through Thursday, the crews complete meaningful service projects, such as trail maintenance and the removal of invasive species. When not working, the crew participates in daily education ranging from topics such as watersheds and forest ecology to resume building and interview tactics. On Fridays, the crew focuses on educational outings, which in the past, have included first aid and CPR certification, snorkeling on the Conasauga River, bird identification and more.   

The main distinction between the camping and local in-town crews is that Camping crews spend the entire week camping together at the worksite (Monday through Friday), while in-town crews return to the Chattanooga office at the end of each workday and spend the night at home. Camping crews will participate in daily communal living chores, eat meals together, and be engaged in daily education at the campsite. 

These are paid summer positions that make a difference! The following positions are open: 

(click the title of each crew to read more and apply)

Corpsmember: Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park Conservation Crew, In-Town Crew

The SECC Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) In-Town Crew engages motivated young adults, ages 16–18, in a program that combines training and education with impactful conservation and service projects throughout the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park lands. Projects may include trail construction & maintenance, habitat improvement, re-vegetation, and much more. This program focuses on engaging local youth in meaningful learning and service opportunities in their communities. 

Corpsmember: Women's Conservation Crew, In-Town Crew

The YCC Women’s Conservation Crew is designed to provide an opportunity for young women (16-18) in the Chattanooga area to explore conservation and natural resources work on our local public lands. The intent behind this single identity crew is to create a supportive environment, foster empowerment, and increase career opportunities for the members while providing the space for them to engage with mentors and co-workers who share their identity. This specific crew seeks to increase career opportunities to females who think they might be interested in conservation. Applicants do not need to have prior experience to apply for this position as it is a training and development program. This crew will work with Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP. 

Corpsmember: Cherokee National Forest, Camping Crew

The SECC Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) Camping Crew engages motivated young adults, ages 16–18, in a program that combines camping Monday – Friday, training and education with impactful conservation and service projects throughout the Cherokee National Forest in Southeast, TN. Crews will cook together and learn valuable outdoors living skills. Projects may include trail construction & maintenance, habitat improvement, re-vegetation, and much more. This program focuses on engaging local youth in meaningful learning and service opportunities in their communities. This crew will camp and work in the Ocoee/ Hiwassee area of the Cherokee National Forest in east TN. 


Corpsmember: American Sign Language Inclusion Crew, Camping Crew

In 2020 SECC will build off of the success of 2019's first-ever American Sign Language Inclusion (ASLi) crew. Similar to SECC’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) model, Deaf and Hard of Hearing teens participating in the ASL Inclusion program will have the opportunity to learn and grow through camping and living outdoors, and addressing critical conservation service projects.  Project could include but are not limited to, trail construction and maintenance, habitat restoration, and invasive species management. Click here to read more about the ASLi program.

Urban Archaeology Crew member

Urban Archaeology Corps

The Urban Archeology Corps, as part of the Southeast Conservation Corps, has worked on the Blue Blazes Trail for three consecutive summers making sure visitors to Moccasin Bend's original outdoor trail system are able to safely and dryly take in the natural surroundings provided by this preserved piece of land. Without their hard work and dedication, this trail would have fallen into great disrepair, hindering the visitor experience on Moccasin Bend.” 

 –Chris Young, Ranger with Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, 2017