Yellowstone is offering its Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program for the 33rd consecutive summer in 2021—a month-long residential program for young people between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age. Participants must be a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States, its territories, or its possessions. They also must provide a valid US Social Security number.
Typically, the YCC experience allows 62 teen enrollees and staff the opportunity to learn, work, and recreate in Yellowstone National Park. The program is challenging, educational, fun, and offers participants opportunities to expand their horizons while building skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. No previous wilderness experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, get along well with others, and maintain a positive attitude are essential for success.
In 2020, due to COVID-19, the park adapted the program for the safety of staff, students, and the visiting public. YCC 2020 became a day program for 6 teens with housing in nearby Gardiner, Montana. No overnight lodging, meals, weekend supervision, or transportation were provided. A very safe and productive program was operated with these mitigations. For 2021, program staff are currently developing the parameters for offering YCC. Updates will be posted on this webpage.
Teen enrollees will be selected from across the country to participate in this summer program. Enrollees will work 40 hours a week and receive the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour) with daily deductions for room, board, and laundry facilities (~$10/day). Healthy food options will be provided by the YCC Cook or prepared by staff and youth while camping. While this diet might be different than what you are used to, the goal is to provide highly nutritious, healthy meals to sustain youth during a work program. YCC participants will work in a variety of weather and terrain conditions while completing projects which may include: fence and bench building; trail construction and/or maintenance; installing "bear boxes;" general maintenance work; painting/staining; exotic plant control; and working with the visiting public.
Some projects will take place in remote backcountry locations within Yellowstone, requiring work crews to camp out for up to five days. When crews are based in the front country, they will either camp or stay at the YCC facility near Mammoth Hot Springs which provides dormitory facilities and a large dining hall for meals and meetings.
Enrollees will also spend time participating in resource education, recreation, and NPS and other agency career orientation activities. Many of these activities are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends. Activities may include: hiking, rafting, fishing, ranger-led programs, guest speakers, enrollee and staff presentations, assisting field rangers and/or scientists, and trips throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Yellowstone's YCC Program has been supported by generous donations to Yellowstone Forever and through park entrance fees.
The application period usually opens the second week in February and closes on March 1. More details will be available closer to that time.
Yellowstone YCC Curriculum
The Yellowstone YCC Curriculum can be viewed online. In 2013, a University of Wyoming graduate student assisted the YCC program by developing a full YCC Curriculum. Five themes are examined including Ecological Relationships, Cultural Heritage, Stewardship, Sustainability, and Leadership.
Last updated: December 17, 2020