|Intern Program Turns Out Successes
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and CYCA launched a successful partnership to place youth corps graduates in BLM internships, with the goal of transforming interns into full-time agency staff. Of the first class of 18 interns in 2011, one is is a public affairs specialist for the BLM (Kyle Sullivan, see article below), another is a full-time U.S. Forest Service firefighter (Tony Barnhard, stay tuned for his story), and 11 others are enrolled in natural resources degree programs or employed in the natural resources field. With generous support from BLM we have been able to double the program in 2012.
Kyle Sullivan: An Eye for Environmental Education
At a young age, Kyle Sullivan, a 2011 Corpsmember of the Year, knew he would be involved in the outdoors one way or another. Raised on the Front Range, Kyle has long enjoyed hiking and exploring nature. “The only thing better than being in nature is capturing it with my camera,” he likes to joke. His love for the outdoors led him to youth corps. For two summers, Kyle developed the Weld County Youth Conservation Corps’ (WCYCC) environmental education offerings.
At WCYCC Kyle got a lot out of the opportunity to “work with a diverse group of people and gainskills for both my personal and my work life.” With a knack for working with young people, Kyle was able to mold previously uninterested young minds into forward-thinking, conservation-focused, outdoor adventurers.
Kyle’s commitment and creativity earned him AmeriCorps awards – totaling $8,000 for college. A graduate of Golden High School, Kyle has a bachelor’s degree in environmental earth science from the University of Northern Colorado and is seeking a master’s of applied science in environmental policy and management at the University of Denver.
His hard work has paid off. After serving two internship terms with the BLM, Kyle was offered a full-time permanent position as a public affairs specialist for the BLM’s Colorado State Office. Putting his interests and experience into practice, Kyle is creating a comprehensive outdoor and environmental education program for field offices across the state.
“Youth corps gave me people skills that translate well in the professional environment,” he says. Although, he adds, “The challenge is that I need to scale up my youth corps audience to a statewide BLM audience. But it’s a good challenge,” he laughs. With all that Kyle has already accomplished at 25 years old, we’re sure he's up for the task.
Youth Corps Fill Critical Gap
The Outdoor Stewardship Coalition recently published the 2011 Stewardship Impact Report, which indicated that youth corps provide 39 percent of non-agency labor on Colorado’s public lands. It also found that volunteers statewide donated 1,233,790 hours (an equivalent dollar value of $27,180,393). In an era of unprecedented challenges in creating and sustaining balanced budgets, youth corps and volunteers have stepped up to the plate to allow for greater protection of our public lands. Read the report.
Pathways Initiative Update
CYCA hosted a successful “Pathways to Natural Resources Careers Inventory” meeting on April 24. Non-profit, higher education and state and federal land agency staff determined their top three priorities: 1) provide in-person training to non-profit staff and host a Front Range job fair; 2) develop career path materials that provide direction to young people; and 3) centralize the myriad natural resource job lists and banks. To view the summary of the Inventory meeting, click here. To join one of the three work groups that will tackle the priorities identified above, contact Grant Sanford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rocky Mountain Greenway Project
We had an unexpected opportunity to meet U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge this month at the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps committee meeting. The Secretary and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed an MOA to collaborate on the Rocky Mountain Greenway Project, which will create a trail corridor between Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park. For more photos of the event, click here.
From left: Jen Freeman (CYCA executive director), Carolyn Fry (Sand Creek Regional Greenway and former VISTA), Secretary Salazar, Katie Lampe (VISTA), Grant Sanford (VISTA leader), and Scott Segerstrom (CYCA associate director.).