Parents

Montana Conservation Corps offers young people of every background a rewarding opportunity to learn while serving communities and public lands in Montana and the surrounding area. When your child, grandchild, sibling, or friend chooses to serve as an MCC Corps Member, he or she is making a personal commitment that will not only give them strength and focus to succeed in life, they are making a commitment to be part of tight-knit crew that lives and works together to impact important public needs.  

When young people have the chance to engage in meaningful work, they grow as leaders and citizens and gain a sense of connection to their community. However, serving with MCC is a challenging opportunity. The following information addresses the common questions and interests shared by family and friends of prospective MCC Corps Members. 

Benefits

Living stipend, health insurance, educational award, and more benefits for Corps Members

Unlike some other programs, there is no fee to apply to serve with MCC and there is no fee to participate in any of our programs. In fact, Corps Members serving with MCC in one of our AmeriCorps programs receive a living stipend, training, and have the option of health insurance after 30 days of service. They are also eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the term of service.

Expedition Members receive a $200 service award upon successful completion of the term of service.

Safety

Personal safety during service and ways MCC helps protect Corps Members

Risk management is defined as the culture, processes, and structures that are directed towards the effective management of potential opportunities and adverse effects. Therefore, the overarching goal of risk management is to implement reasonable and prudent procedures and policies that help to minimize the risks associated with the activities employees, members, and volunteers participate in.

The health and welfare of volunteers, members, and staff is the highest priority of MCC. Therefore, we work diligently to maintain a safety program that integrates the elements of safety, supervision, employee communication, and project accomplishment into a single work process. Our risk management protocols serve as a minimum for safe operations among MCC employees, members, and volunteers.  

Required Paperwork

Parents/guardians of youth accepted into our Expedition Program will be required to create an online profile to complete paperwork required for participation in our program. Create your online profile here.

Parents FAQ 

  • What qualifications do Crew Leaders have?
    • Prior to joining MCC, leaders generally have at least two years of college, military service, or equivalent work experience, and previous experience in a leadership role. Their service begins with MCC’s intensive Leadership Development Program, which will provide them with all of the training, reinforcement and feedback necessary to develop into an effective leader. Our program objectives include communication and team skills, leadership skills, environmental stewardship, technical field skills, and the development of a strong service ethic. 

      In addition to on the job training and feedback, specific training provided includes:

      1. Wilderness Advanced First Aid
      2. Leadership skills training including communication, feedback, group development
      3. Technical skills training including trail building, backcountry travel and camp set up, leave no trace, chain saw, and fencing
      4. Motor vehicle safety including the Smith system for defensive driving
      5. Youth Behavior and Development
      6. Multiple hands-on work experiences on natural resource projects and with local youth-serving agencies.
  • Do Youth Crew Leaders go through a background check?
    • Yes. We have an extensive process for screening and hiring leaders. In addition to personal references, we perform a motor vehicle records check, criminal background check and a national sex offender registry check.

  • My child has never camped before; can she/he still participate?
    • Yes! Camping and packing skills will be introduced.  Corps members also learn camp skills through trainings and over the course of their service from our Crew Leaders. Most important is the willingness to be outdoors for an extended period.

  • What about wildlife?
    • Bears, moose, and wolves are all present in the Rocky Mountains. However, all crews receive training in minimzing negative encounters with widlife. They also carry bear spray.

  • Can my child participate in both summer expeditions or join for a second season?
    • They can certainly apply. A lot will depend upon the number of applications we have. It’s probably best to be involved in only one summer session each year. The program is demanding and most youth want to take some time off after completing an expedition.

  • Can I send packages to my child?
    • Ask during parent orientation. MCC staff regularly visit crews and arrangements can be made in advance if you coordinate with the regional office.

  • How often do youth get to call home?
    • During the parent orientation you can find out more about your child’s Expedition crew schedule. But typical schedules would allow only one phone call home during the middle of the session.

  • Are cell phones allowed?
    • Cell phones and other electronics (excluding cameras) just seem to get in the way and are not allowed. Instead, we encourage Expedition Corps Members to bring a phone card.  He or she will have an opportunity to make phone calls in the middle of the hitch.

  • Can I visit the Expedition crew on a project?
    • During the parent orientation you can discuss this possibility with MCC staff. Visits might involve stopping by to bring a dessert, eat dinner with the crew, or even volunteer alongside for a day on the project but generally not an overnight stay. The majority of parents do not visit the crews

  • My child has mental health issues? Can they join a crew?
    • MCC leaders are not licensed to dispense medication nor are they licensed counselors. The utmost concern will be the safety and well being of your child and the other members of the crew. So talk to the staff about your particular child to see if it would be a good fit for their abilities.

  • How is the program funded?
    • Montana Conservation Corps is a non-profit organization that is funded through grants, fee for service, and with donations from corporations, foundations, alumni, and family and friends. 

  • How often do crews check in with staff?
    • Typically a weekly schedule is set for the Crew Leaders to check-in with regional staff. There may be other times established as needed.

  • If we can’t afford gear, what can we do?
    • MCC provides group camping gear and has limited sleeping bags and backpacks. We may be able to help you out with low-cost options for boots. Again talk to staff about your concerns, and we’ll make sure gear is not a barrier for your child participating on an Expedition crew.

  • What happens in the event there is bad weather?
    • The Expedition program is an outdoor experience and dealing with weather such as rain and heat is part of that experience. Be sure to provide rain gear and bug spray for your child. We’ll ensure they are staying hydrated, have adequate nutrition, and change their socks. If extreme weather approaches, the crew will evacuate to a safe location.

  • Do you carry firearms into the wilderness?
    • No, firearms are not allowed. Crews will have bear spray available if appropriate.

  • How do you keep crews safe from wildlife?
    • Seeing wildlife is a part of the experience. But safety is the most important element. During orientation leaders will review with the members safe practices around wildlife including minimum distances, proper food storage, and not traveling alone.

  • How should youth prepare for the Expedition?
    • First and foremost, you should be supportive of your child’s decision to join the program. The experience will be transformational. We also encourage that you go hiking and have your child wear the boots they will wear for their Expedition.