DIRECTOR'S ORDER #26:
Approved: Fran P. Mainella, Director
Effective Date: November 8, 2002
Sunset Date: November 8, 2006Contents:
I. Purpose and Background
I. PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND
The purpose of this Director's Order is to:
· Provide direction to National Park Service personnel who work
with youth programs such as the Youth Conservation Corps, Student Conservation
Association, Job Corps, curriculum-based education programs such as Parks
as Classrooms, and youth Volunteers-in Parks and the Public Land Corps.
· Provide guidance and support for parks to design local youth
programs in partnership with other organizations.
· Provide encouragement to park managers and other NPS personnel to operate such programs and to engage in partnerships with state, local, and non-profit youth programs who operate such programs.
Youth programs have been an integral part of the NPS for over 40 years. The needs of youth are expected to become more complex, requiring greater creativity and collaboration between government and others who have the capability to serve youth. The term "youth programs" covers a variety of park-based programs as well as formal Service-wide programs and partnerships between the NPS and non-profit organizations, businesses, and other government agencies.
Through youth programs, the Service has unique opportunities to help young Americans understand the importance of protecting and preserving the cultural and natural resources protected within the national park system. In addition, by reaching out to young people from different social and economic backgrounds, the Service provides special opportunities for young Americans who might not otherwise have the chance to visit or work in a park. For example, many of America's youth who come from urban environments do not have access to parks located in remote rural areas. Thus, many youth programs have made it a priority to make parks more accessible to this segment of our population.
II. AUTHORITY TO ISSUE THIS DIRECTOR'S ORDER
The authority to issue this Director's Order is found in 16 USC 1 through 4 (the NPS Organic Act), and the delegations of authority contained in Part 245 of the Department of the Interior Manual.
III. YOUTH PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the National Park Service youth programs are to:
· Engage America's youth in developing a life-long awareness of, and commitment to, our national parks.
· Involve youth in the protection of our natural and cultural
resources through a variety of creative means and endeavors that enhance
the relationship between the NPS and young Americans.
· Educate youth about the NPS mission through formal and informal
· Train and prepare young people so that they may qualify for
jobs and careers in the NPS.
· Acquaint youth from diverse and underrepresented populations
with the NPS and prepare them for possible jobs and careers in the Service.
· Promote diversity of park visitors and staff, in terms of social,
ethnic, and economic backgrounds.
· Provide the NPS with valuable assistance and additional labor to address deferred maintenance and other essential park projects.
IV. PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS
A. National Youth Programs
The NPS works with more than 22 organizations to ensure that young people
receive high quality supervised education when participating in programs
in our national parks. Some of the most familiar programs are the Youth
Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, Job Corps, conservation
corps affiliated with the Public Lands Corps, the Girl Scouts and the
(1) Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). Public Law 93-408 (16 USC 1701-1706) established the YCC in 1971 as a summer program for young men and women from different social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. The program's objective was to place them on work crews in national forests, wildlife refuges, and national parks. To enroll in the YCC program, the participants must be between 15 and 18 years of age. Almost all YCC programs administered by the NPS are non-residential. Programs that are residential are responsible for housing, transportation, and all other expenses associated with programs' administration. Any costs incurred due to injury or illness of a Corps member while not on the job is the responsibility of the Corps member or their family. At present, the NPS is mandated by Congress to devote $2 million of its annual budget to the YCC. Program information is available through the regional youth program coordinator and the youth programs website at www.nps.gov/youthprograms/, through the Youth Programs Bulletin Board on Lotus Notes; the Inside the NPS website, and the YCC handbook. The YCC handbook can be obtained from the regional Youth Programs Coordinator or the NPS Youth Programs program officer in Washington, DC.
(2) Student Conservation Association (SCA). The SCA and the NPS have worked together since 1957 to provide internships and volunteer opportunities in cultural and natural resource management and interpretation. Each year Congress directs the NPS to contribute a portion of its annual funds to the SCA and SCA volunteers provide one million hours of conservation service to our national parks. In this process, SCA works in collaboration with the NPS to place hundreds of high school and college students in hands-on conservation service positions throughout the park system. SCA does all of its hiring and sends interns to national parks so that the park and the intern benefit from the experience.
(3) Job Corps. The NPS and Job Corps, a Department of Labor program, have collaborated since the program was created as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, a component of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty." The mission of Job Corps is to provide young adults (ages 16-24) with job training skills in areas such as carpentry, painting, building maintenance, landscaping and business clerical skills. Job Corps was created for the purpose of providing young adults with the opportunity to learn job, social, and important life skills so that upon graduation, they might enter the civilian world with the particular skills necessary to be productive members of society.
The are two ways that parks may utilize the Job Corps:
a. Job Corps Centers. There are 3 Job Corps Centers affiliated with national parks. Great Onyx is located in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, Oconalufftee is located in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, and Harpers Ferry is located next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The NPS manages all three Job Corps Centers under an interagency agreement with the Department of Labor. This interagency agreement merges the strong preservation mission of the NPS with the powerful job training objectives of Job Corps.
Youth employed at the Job Corps Centers are trained and perform work at the three affiliated parks. The Centers provide excellent job training for young people as well as opportunities that might lead to full time employment with the National Park Service. After completing training at a Job Corps Center, graduates may be eligible for employment in parks through the student temporary employment program (STEP) or the student career employment program (SCEP). Both of these programs provide youth with an opportunity to seek out parks interested in hiring Job Corps Center graduates. Park personnel staff, superintendents and division chiefs should contact program staff at the Washington Office and use their assistance to recruit a Job Corps student or access the Job Corps Website at http://jobcorps.doleta.gov/.
b. In addition to the three Job Corps Centers, Job Corps offices are located in many communities. Job Corps may offer opportunities for parks to train or employ underrepresented youth from their local area. Parks interested in working with local Job Corps offices should contact a Youth Programs Coordinator at the Washington Office or access the Job Corps website at http://jobcorps.doleta.gov/.
(4) Public Land Corps (PLC). PLC was authorized by the National Community Service Trust Act of 1993, P.L. 103-82, and was funded for the First time in 1998 under the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. PLC was established to develop relationships between the NPS and non-profit organizations under which youth conservation crews would be trained and managed to perform work on deferred maintenance projects in national parks. All participating young adults must be between 16 and 25.
The PLC serves the following important societal objectives:
· Educating youth about the importance of preservation and conservation
of public lands.
(5) Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts of America and the NPS have been working together under a memorandum of understanding since 1971. The relationship has required that the NPS take an active role in representing itself at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree, an event that celebrates the accomplishments of scouts from throughout the nation, and which takes place every four years. At each Jamboree, the NPS sponsors a booth to promote the relationship between the two entities.
One NPS/Boy Scout activity of special note is called "Service to America." It is a collaborative effort between the NPS, Eastern National and the Boy Scouts of America, under which Boy Scouts participate in service projects in the parks. In order for Boy Scouts to participate, troop leaders must access the website, www.servicetoamerica.org. From that site they can select a park and register their troop for a project.
(6) Girl Scouts of the USA. The NPS and the Girl Scouts of the USA work in a collaborative effort to introduce young women to conservation opportunities, internships and outdoor recreation activities in national parks. The NPS is committed to helping foster the relationship between Girl Scouts and the parks through the "Linking Girls to the Land" program. The program is designed to introduce young women to conservation and recreational opportunities in national parks so that they might gain a thorough understanding of how the NPS operates, the NPS mission, opportunities to pursue a career in the conservation field, and the merits of a career in public service. "Linking Girls to the Land" regional workshops take place at parks or other locations where NPS staff present information to scout leaders and parents on the different employment, internship and volunteer opportunities for young women.
The Girl Scouts also have a "Service to America" partnership with the NPS in the same manner as the Boy Scouts. Girl Scout troop leaders may seek out volunteer opportunities for their troop by using the Service to America website, www.servicetoamerica.org. Girl Scout leaders must call the park and make arrangements for their troop to participate in a project.
B. Education Programs
The NPS works with local schools and youth organizations to provide young people with formal and informal educational opportunities in our National Parks. Parks as Classrooms is one example of innovative education programs in the parks. Parks as Classrooms has been successful at providing students with curriculum-based educational programs that link park resources with school curriculum. For example, a colonial era historic site might form a Parks as Classrooms partnership with school districts teaching revolutionary war curriculum.
For more information on education programs, consult Director's Order #6, the Youth Programs Division website at www.nps.gov/youthprograms/, or the Parks as Classrooms website at www.nps.gov/interp/parkclass.html.
C. Partnerships and Funding
The key to producing high quality youth programs in the National Park Service is funding and forming partnerships. The following information may be helpful in the process of obtaining funding and finding partner organizations to develop or implement youth programs.
(1) The National Association for Service and Conservation Corps (NASCC). Created in 1985, NASCC is a primary partner in the youth conservation field. NASCC's mission is to create a clearinghouse of information and fundraising sources for youth programs. In addition, the Conservation Corps affiliated with NASCC spends a significant amount of time teaching young people skills such as discipline, confidence and teamwork. The skills acquired through their conservation corps experience can be applied to their lives long after their NASCC service has ended.
Many of the Conservation Corps affiliated with NASCC were created in early 1980's when funding for the Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) and Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) was reduced. The founders and current employees of these corps apply many of the same concepts and philosophies of the original federally managed conservation corps in the day to day operations of their current programs. Aside from federal funding, corps receive their funding from state and local government, foundations and corporations.
Since its inception, NASCC has been responsible for helping to raise
money, develop contacts in Congress, and assist other federal, state,
and local civic agencies develop
(2) Local and Regional Partnerships. Parks frequently develop youth programs locally. They may be based on informal agreements, volunteer agreements, or cooperative agreements with local schools, social service agencies, scout groups or other youth-focused organizations. Park youth programs can be simple such as hosting trash clean up day for a local Cub Scout troop, or more complex, such as a program involving a conservation corps in important restoration work in a park.
Parks have used many strategies to reach out to communities and initiate youth programs and partnerships. Some effective strategies are to:
· Develop relationships with local schools and non-profit organizations.
(3) Funding. Funding is a primary concern for any park interested in hosting or supporting youth programs. Below are some examples funding sources.
A. WASO Youth Programs Division
The Youth Programs Division will:
· Manage, coordinate and evaluate the SCA, YCC, PLC and Job Corps
B. Regional Offices
· Ensure that parks work with local schools and community organizations
to recruit enrollees into the YCC program, and conduct a lottery by which
the YCC enrollees are selected.
Individual parks are often in the best position to understand, solicit, and act upon the educational or other youth needs of youth in their surrounding community. Parks are responsible for the following:
· Appropriately publicize opportunities and accomplishments of
youth programs in the park.
VI. FURTHER REFERENCES
A. Reference Manual 26
Detailed procedures and direction on many of the topics in this Director's Order can be found in the Youth Programs Reference Manual #26.
B. Director's Orders
The following Director's Orders will be particularly helpful in starting and managing youth programs in parks:
#6: Interpretation and Education
The following websites provide more detailed information on specific programs. The Youth Programs site also includes links to websites that have been established at the regional and park levels.
Name of Site Site