PAOC – 2023

CorpsTHAT Partner Crew- PAOC ASLi

Program Year: 2023

Project Partners: The Student Conservation Association and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource

Program Dates: Jun 12, 2023 to Aug 14, 2023

Leader(s):  Sarah Joiner and Lily Coral 

Number of Corps Members: 3

Ages of Corps Member: 15 – 19 years old


Since 2021 CorpsTHAT has partnered with the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps (PAOC), a collaboration between the Student Conservation Association and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, to make their programs more inclusive and accessible for Deaf high school students across the state of Pennsylvania.  These crews are called American Sign Language Inclusion (ASLi) Crews. 


Dubbed the ‘Small but Mighty’ Crew (SBM) by their project contacts, this crew was a powerhouse with only 2 members for the majority of the summer. Working with parks that had already hosted PAOC’s ASLi crew in 2021 allowed them to benefit from working with state park staff who already had some basic skills and experience working with an all Deaf crew. They also worked with a park that didn’t have that experience and took on the role as advocates and educators of how to work or interact with Deaf individuals. The crew leaders are both outdoor enthusiasts and took advantage of working next to a national forest to obtain Access Passes for all their members and instill that love of nature with their corps members.

Project Accomplishments

  • 6 members hired
  • 16 hours of outreach and education
  • 900+ hours spent working with the state parks of Pennsylvania
  • 2 miles of trail maintained and improved
    • 400 feet of new trail built
    • 2 French Mattresses built (3ft deep x 5ft wide)

CorpsTHAT Provided:

Crew Leader Training

Provided a two-week in-person training for the Crew Leaders and supported a week of virtual training. During training, CorpsTHAT provided direct communication, leadership, and educational training that was tailored to fit the needs of Deaf leaders and members as well as technical field training.

Providing Qualified Outdoor Interpreters

Working with Trailblazing Interpreters to provide interpreters for Project Contact meetings, training, and debriefs on-site and at the office.


Hosting presentations at area schools virtual and hosting job opportunity webinars.  Sitting in on interviews to provide direct communication as well as feedback in hiring.

Programmatic Support 

Training staff and project contacts, debriefing with staff, and being available to answer any questions or concerns. provided ongoing education and knowledge sharing of the Deaf community and working with Deaf individuals.

This crew was made possible thanks to the partnership between CorpsTHAT and Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, The Student Conservation Association and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources