Working with the Youth Conservation Corps

As I said in the first post, my job is working with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). They are local high school kids who live in the Grand Canyon year round. I have been mostly working with the interpretation kids, which consists of around five kids. We go see ranger talks in order to prepare them for their own program that they will give to an audience by the end of their season. We also work at the touch tables in the village as well as the visitor center, where we choose what to put on the tables for the visitors to interact with.

On a typical day we put out elk antlers, elk skulls, a mountain lion pelt, mountain lion skulls, replica scat, a bighorn sheep horn, and 1,200 year old corn cobs. I love working at the tables because everyone is so fascinated with the props and us. We would also swear in Junior Rangers, which was another one of my favorite parts of the summer. We talk to the visitors and answer any questions they might have about what’s on the tables, or about the park in general. I love talking to the visitors. I am a very introverted individual, but talking to visitors is pretty cool. When we first started working at the tables, the YCC kids were a little nervous and had uncertainty when talking to the visitors, myself included. But as time progressed I could see their (and my) confidence rise every day little by little, until we were to the point that most questions didn’t stump us. All the YCC kids had to do a ranger talk, and I gave them help when they needed it. One of the YCCs decided to talk about the elk in the park. She was a bit nervous at first and it was a little tough getting her to practice her talk in front of us, but she did so well when she gave the talk to the visitors. In fact, she did so well that she did the program a second time. A different YCCer wanted to talk about something that no one else talks about. She decided to talk about astronomy, which no YCCer has ever talked about. It was really cool that she wanted to challenge herself on a topic that the park doesn’t talk about as much, compared to geology or wildlife. All of them did so well on their talks, and I’ve been so blessed to see these YCC kids grow from their first day here to their last. The rest of the kids are also so great. They are all hilarious and goofy, and it was so awesome getting to know them. I would only see the other YCC kids who worked in different areas on Fridays, but I got to know them better during the rim-to-rim hike. All of them are great, and I am going to miss them alot.  I wish them well.

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