|New Partnership to Put Young People and Military Veterans to Work
In mid-November, Colorado Youth Corps Association and the Conservation Lands Foundation celebrated the launch of a new program that will promote job opportunities for young people and military veterans. The kick-off of the Veterans-Youth Conservation Corps Partnership was held at the fashionable Coohills Restaurant in Lower Downtown, Denver – and what a fantastic evening it was! View photos of the event here.
We were so proud to launch this initiative in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), youth conservation corps, private industry and veterans groups to provide Colorado veterans and youth with employment and job training opportunities while working to restore and maintain Colorado’s public lands. (Read complete details in the press release.)
About 100 people attended the gathering, where we heard from an inspiring line-up of speakers while enjoying a dazzling array of appetizers and “Gunnison Gorge” cocktails. Speakers included Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; Corey Adamy, Veterans Fire Corps crew leader; Eddica Tuttle, Western Colorado Conservation Corps crew leader; and Neil Kornze, deputy director of the BLM, who traveled from Washington DC to speak on behalf of hundreds of committed BLM employees. We also viewed a personal video message from Senator Mark Udall (pictured), who was unable to attend in person.
View more photos of the event here.
Governor Hickenlooper addressed guests with these words: “When you take Colorado youth corps, tie them in with veterans, mix that with the Bureau of Land Management staff that’s in Colorado, then you begin to get a pretty rich soup. Mix in some private industry funders to provide resources or donations, add the Conservation Lands Foundation… Now it’s seasoned, now it’s got heat and energy.”
The Governor’s words inspired us – and we’re sure he, too, was inspired by the stories of the two crew leaders who shared their personal experiences and left us even more determined to succeed.
Gov. Hickenlooper with Eddica Tuttle and Corey Adamy
Corey was raised on a farm in Nebraska, and left home at the age of 18 to join the Marine Corps. In the military, Corey supported a squadron of F18s, and it was his job to build bombs and missiles, as well as repair gun systems. Following the military he attended college at Colorado State University-Fort Collins, where he earned a degree in natural resources. In 2011, Corey joined the wildland firefighting crew with Southwest Conservation Corps in Durango, and is currently leading other veterans through the program to train and prepare them for careers in wildland firefighting. In addition to that work, Corey is an active member of Durango Fire and Rescue. Corey relates to his fellow veterans who, like him, often miss the camaraderie and physical activity they experienced in the military. Many need to transition back into civilian life, want to work outdoors, work hard, and enjoy the teamwork and structure of a conservation corps. In his speech at the Coohills celebration, Corey said, “The agencies [such as BLM] love the veterans’ crews and our work. We’re doing great work on the ground with our wildland fire program that they couldn’t get done with just the funds they have.”
Originally from Salt Lake City, Eddica is a highly motivated 22-year-old who values education above all else. Education is “the driving force behind everything I do,” she says. Growing up in a low-income family, Eddica knew she would need financial assistance to pay for school – and strong personal ambition to make it happen. Through her service to the Western Colorado Conservation Corps, Eddica has earned three AmeriCorps Education Awards and is currently working on her fourth. She has also recently been awarded a scholarship through Chevron. Youth corps has given Eddica an opportunity to work on trails in the Gunnison Gorge and McInnis Canyon National Conservation Areas – offering extensive experience in public lands restoration, as well as a chance to reveal her true colors when it comes to adapting to new situations and developing relationships with a variety of people. Eddica has successfully led other crew members with great competence, a trait that has not gone unnoticed. Trevor Wickersham, director of Western Colorado Conservation Corps, said, “Eddica truly cares about not only creating a more beautiful state, but also bettering the lives of corps members.”
Julie Thibodeau of the Conservation Lands Foundation
and Neil Kornze of the BLM
View more photos of the event here.
We intend to take the “heat and energy” generated at this kick-off event and continue to grow a partnership for veterans, young people and Colorado’s spectacular public lands. Thank you again to our supporters for helping us make this happen!