Mountain Goat and Bighorn Sheep Citizen Science at Poia Lake Mountain Goat and Bighorn Sheep Citizen Science at Poia Lake <p>Working on the Going-to-the-Sun Road</p>

The Experience of a Lifetime: Glacier Youth Corps

  • August 01, 2014
  • Posted by Christine Pearson

Volunteering in the Glacier Youth Corps. The past month has been literally one of the best experiences of my life. My favorite part was working with a tight-knit group of people doing meaningful work in some of the most beautiful places on earth like Kintla Lake, Poia Lake, Apikuni Falls, and the Going to the Sun Road. Every day was an adventure, but there certainly were some challenges. I struggled with not bathing and I night I lay in my sleeping bag worrying about the wildlife-especially bears. I was also terrified of spiders and nearly screamed every time I saw one. Over the course of the month I learned not bathing won’t kill me. Also, I saw a total of seven bears, and not one made an approach-they want less of an encounter than I thought!  I even overcame my fear of spiders because my crew leaders, Alex and Leah, gave me the challenge to squish a spider that they found between my two fingers; I ended up doing this not once, but twice. My favorite things to learn were how to use a cross-cut and how to identify a grizzly bear from a black-bear. I also liked learning back-country skills and leave-no-trace principles.
To me this work is really important because I love the outdoors, and by helping with projects that needed to be done in the park, I could help others enjoy the natural beauty that Glacier has to offer. Being from Indiana I don’t see stuff like this, so I hope others will fall in love with this Park like I have. I also never realized how much it takes to maintain a National Park, so this was an eye-opening experiences for me.
I think this month will impact my future in a lot of ways. I learned that sometimes hiking through dense woods and mud for many hours was hard and not always fun, but the destination was always worth it. Sometimes in life you have to put in a lot of work that can be less than pleasant, but if you push through it, the results will be worth far more rewarding. I will remember this as I begin college in a little over a month. Also I learned that doing hard things builds character. The first two weeks it rained 10 out of the 14 days, but because I was able to survive that, everything seemed a little bit easier, and I appreciated the sunshine more.
I want to thank my crew leaders who helped me through the really tough days, my crew for making me think a little bit deeper about life and always making me laugh, and the Montana Conservation Corps & Glacier National Park Conservancy for putting this amazing program together. This was definitely the best month of my life.


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