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.
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.
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.
In 2019 SECC will broaden its programming to host its 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 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