The Conservation Corps Experience

  • June 28, 2018
  • Posted by Emily Kastor

Being a part of a conservation corps crew is an experience that can be hard to express, especially to someone who hasn’t done something like this. The first time I explained it I remember saying, “Yeah, so I spend pretty much 75% of my time, if not more, during the season with the same 6 people. We work our butts off all day and then go back to our camp for more time together and dinner, just to wake up and do the same thing for the next 9 days.” The first question I usually get is, “How much do you get paid?” which I usually answer with a chuckle. The hardest thing to explain to people about doing the conservation corps, is that you’re doing it for the experience and personal growth, not money. To most people, the description I gave above, probably doesn’t sound incredibly pleasing. It can be scary going into a season, having to spend almost all your time with a group of complete strangers. At the same time though, it’s the most exciting part.  It’s fun to watch the crew you’re on go from being complete strangers, to knowing the in’s and out’s of your life story.

You also get to watch as the crew grows together over the season. Watch as everyone’s skills and confidence get better. You’re there to pick each other up on your bad days and cheer each other on when you’re proud of something you’ve accomplished. Being on a conservation corps crew also teaches you compromise, and most importantly, open mindedness. People of all different backgrounds join this, and it’s fascinating finding out what lead all of these seemingly random grouping of people to the same exact place in time. It’s an eye opening experienced, and I personally haven’t found anything else like it in any other job I’ve done. I can’t put into words the amount of personal confidence I have gained from my conservation corps experiences. If you were to meet the old me, and then present me, you might not even know that they were technically the same person. Honestly if you had told me in high school that I’d be doing what I’m doing now, I probably would have laughed right in your face. But, if I had never given the conservation corps a chance, I wouldn’t have found these things that I am truly passionate about.

If you have the ability and opportunity to do a season of any conservation corps, wherever you may be from, wherever you may be in your life, I could not recommend it more. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself, and more likely than not, you’ll make a new group of friends that hopefully leave an impact on you.


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