MCC; Or Why It Matters

  • April 28, 2015
  • Posted by D Robledo Diaz

Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living I am never really quite sure what to tell them. Of course I tell them I am a leader with the Montana Conservation Corps, but elaborating upon that always leaves me tripped up. I guess there are many different reasons my explanations fall short. I have been serving with MCC each season since 2013, my member season. After that I was a Youth Crew Leader. These days I am back as a Saw Crew Leader. Three seasons should have left me knowing exactly what to say to people, right?

Well it’s not so simple. Why do I think that? Well, MCC isn’t just about the work we do, in fact I would say that’s less than half the reason I am here. MCC is a service and education program. If you have ever served in MCC you’d have heard “This isn’t a job, it’s an experience!” Maybe that’s what I should be telling people. But, I would push to say even more than that. I have met so many absolutely wonderful people while serving in MCC, and I have learned even more from each and every one of them. Whether it’s a Program Manager, or a youth crew member, they have all taught me so much. Things I wouldn’t have found out on my own.

With so many people serving or working with MCC the opportunities are endless. Whether it’s a future career you’re looking for or couches to surf on a cross country road trip at the end of your season, you’ve come to the right place. The relationships one makes within even a single season are often tried and tested, hard. You won’t always get along with people you work with, but I guarantee these are the people you will learn the most from. And when you leave here, you won’t remember what little fight you got in about someone taking the last piece of pita pizza. You’ll remember how close you grew to these folks in such a short amount of time.

You might remember that time you ran through a field on the Rocky Mountain Front with a butterfly net catching Leafy Spurge Weevils. Or the time(s) you’d look at your leader covered in ash and dirt from the Salmon-Challis National Forest, but the white smile still shone through.
You’ll remember that time you and your crew hid in the rig to keep away from the ridiculous swarm of mosquitoes at Tiber Dam. You’ll remember the time your co-leader slept in her hammock on a night it started raining…and didn’t wake up for 20 minutes.  You might remember the 10 mile turned 16 mile hike you did with your youth crew because they wanted to see the Ice Caves, but made a wrong turn and went to the Crystal Cascades instead. You’ll remember the feeling of joy and accomplishment at the end of another long 9 day hitch digging tread. Or at the end of 4 weeks when you feel the bitter sweet of saying farewell to your youth crew, only to go through it all again the next session. I remember all these things and more. These are the reasons I came here, this is my “job”. The work takes you to different incredible places in and around Montana, but it’s the people who impact you that really matter. The people are the MCC experience.

Maybe it is that simple.


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