Corps are locally-based organizations that engage youth and young adults in service projects that address recreation, conservation, disaster response, and community needs. Through a term of service that could last from a few months to a year, Corps participants – or “Corpsmembers” – gain work experience and develop in-demand skills. Corpsmembers are compensated with a stipend or living allowance. Additionally, Corps provide participants educational programming, mentoring, and access to career and personal counseling. Some Corps operate or partner with charter schools to help participants earn their high school diploma or GED.
Why did CorpsTHAT develop its own conservation corps?
Many Deaf and hard of hearing youths are born to hearing parents who do not know American Sign Language (ASL) or the Deaf community and, therefore, no ability to communicate with their Deaf child. It can cause lifelong language delays that affect individuals academically, socially, and economically well into adulthood and ultimately impacting their ability to keep a job. CorpsTHAT Conservation Corps will integrate cultural competencies in job-specific topics such as requesting and interviewing ASL interpreters, how to self-advocate, and what their rights are as Deaf employees. CorpsTHAT believes that it is vital to provide a space and to be able to participate in a crew with full access to their primary language and cultural identity. Hence the establishment of the first Deaf and ASL centralized conservation corps with CorpsTHAT that will connect Deaf and hard of hearing youth to conservation and outdoor career pathways.
When you join a Conservation Corps program Typically it will include:
Working together on a on a crew of 4-8 members and two crew leaders. If it is a residential program you and your crew will camp in local, state, or national parks, or on forest service land. Depending on the needs of local community and organizations, projects include:
- building and restoring trails;
- removing invasive species and restoring habitats;
- conducting prescribed burns and fighting wildlife;
- preserving historic structures
- reclaiming abandoned lots;
- installing fencing and other park infrastructure;
- planting trees and plants;
- operating farms and gardens;
- restoring streams;
- and so much more.
Conservation Corps provides youth and adults opportunities in the great outdoors in a fun experiential and team-based learning environment that emphasizes personal growth, stewardship, job readiness, and more.