What Can I Expect?
Signing up with MCC for a summer is a big committment! For that reason, we've compiled an overview of what you can expect while serving with MCC so you have a clear idea of the adventure that's ahead of you.
Although there is no way to fully prepare someone for a season with MCC, to offer a start, below are the top health and safety topics to be aware of. Remember this is a service experience, not a typical 9-to-5 job.
- MCC Standards & Policies
Participants must know, follow and support MCC policies & procedures which have been established for the safety and well-being of everyone. That includes wearing safety gear like gloves, hard hats, long pants and protective eyewear. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Everyone serving with MCC has the right to work in a drug and alcohol free work environment. Sometimes we may have people, including youth, on our crews who are recovering from drug or alcohol use. Drugs, alcohol and their influences have no place in the MCC environment, including at camp or when traveling. Youth Crew Members and Leaders may not use tobacco products during the time they are with an MCC youth crew, which can be up to four weeks in a row.
- Physical Toll
The projects MCC completes will vary across crews and regions. Some projects will be physically demanding and offer a clear sense of accomplishment and meaningful contribution, other projects may not. We strive for a healthy injury free season and that means we need you to be on board with safety. A significant injury in a remote location requires the rest of your crew to become caregivers and initiate emergency procedures for you, and in the instances of an evacuation or your inability to perform the work, it means they will have to carry your share of the load—The impacts of self-care are much farther reaching than just you.
The physical demands include any of the following, sometimes all of them in one project:
Repetitive Motion—swinging a tool into the ground repeatedly to dig trail tread or using loppers or a hand saw to clear brush from the trail corridor both require the use of muscles which are not necessarily used much in other life situations. The results of this sometimes include muscle sprains or strains, including carpal tunnel injuries.
Heavy Lifting—including the heavy backpack which may be a daily component of the gear you carry, this is one of the most common realities an individual faces. Hauling large-diameter logs off trails, carrying lumber for trail features or fence braces, removing large rocks from trails and hauling around the coolers or bins which contain all the food your crew will need for up to 10 days at a time are all common experiences. Backs and knees take a beating, even when using proper lifting techniques. Some of MCC’s most common injuries occur through underestimating the impact this task makes.
Extended hiking while carrying weight—many crews engage in projects which are miles from their campsite, or the project itself may simply be hiking the length of the trail over a period of days in order to remove blown-down trees and debris from the trail. These projects tend to worsen knee, back and foot aches.
Work at high altitudes—The thinner air combined with physical activity like hiking uphill for miles tends to resurface breathing difficulty for those with a history of asthma. While it can be managed, being aware of the conditions and of your own physical ability is the first step.
Work in all weather conditions—depending on the location, crews can expect rain, snow or extreme temperature swings every month of the year. Adequate gear and a positive mental attitude are necessities for successful completion. Summer brings wildfires to the state and the smoke is often a lingering factor that can also create difficulty breathing.
Hygiene—Participants may find themselves in remote locations for up to two weeks at a time. There will often be no access to electricity, toilets or showers. “Bathing” will look much different than having access to running water.
Look over the gear list, but know you can rent or borrow quality gear from MCC. You can also buy gear at a thrift shop. It’s easier to stay warm and dry than it is to get warm and dry, and both you and your crew will be happy you did. Try to test your gear out before starting with MCC, especially your boots!
MCC expects participants to manage their personal life (finances, relationships, activities) in such a way that does not bear any negative impact on MCC. Intimate relationships within the chain of command are prohibited. We ask our Youth Crew Leaders to maintain professionalism and not associate with Youth Crew Members outside of their MCC experience while they are serving.
For more information, please contact the regional office where you applied. Ensure you are getting the information you need to have a great season with MCC!
- Short Film 'Never Too Young'