Zuni Mountain YCC (co-ed 16-18)

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Zuni Mountain YCC: Job Opportunity for Ages 16-18

47 Days to Work Outside, Build Community, and Learn About Southwest Conservation in and around the Zuni Mountains.

Are you a 16-18 year old looking for professional development opportunities in the outdoor industry? A way to bridge the gap between summer trekking and becoming a Cottonwood Gulch staff member? A way to make money this summer? In 2018, the Gulch hosted the first Zuni Mountain YCC opportunity for 16-18 year olds to spend 4 weeks of their summer living and working at Basecamp in Thoreau and on the road, focusing on Basecamp’s backyard: the Zuni Mountains. Week days were spent working hard to manage erosion, maintain fences, monitor land usage within the Mt. Taylor Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest. Crew had a more typical trek experience on the weekends, including mountain biking, rock climbing, backpacking, and mentoring our summer treks. This summer, our Crew will be traveling throughout the state to perform work on different Forest Service lands, including the Lincoln National Forest and the Manzano Mountains. Interested? Keep reading to learn more about how you could get paid for to spend a summer at the Gulch!

What is YCC?

“The U.S. Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer youth employment program that engages young people, ages 16 to 18, in meaningful work experiences on national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries. Youth are engaged in fun, exciting work projects designed to develop an ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility such as include work such as building and repairing trails; preserving and repairing historic building; removing invasive species; helping with wildlife and land research; and leading environmental education. “YCC supports the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, or 21CSC, mission to put thousands of America’s young people to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors.

  • “Affords members the opportunity to work and learn alongside federal employees in a wide range of natural and environmental projects
  • Assists youth to develop a life-long ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility through team-based work projects and individual placements
  • Works to instill young adult awareness and appreciation of the public lands legacy and of the nation’s natural, cultural and  historic resources”

The above information is from the U.S. Forest Service YCC webpage, which can be found here.

This year, our crew will work:

  • trail building, including general tread, water diversion, brushing in the Manzanos
  • working on trail tread, brushing out, logging out (small diameter with hand saws), and general maintenance of trails in the White Mountain Wilderness
  • facilities construction at the Cottonwood Gulch Basecamp

Last year’s program focused their work within the Mt. Taylor Ranger District in collaboration with the Cibola National Forest to complete projects including:

  • Reconstruction of 1 to 2 miles of Forest Boundary fence
  • Repair 1 earthen tank with erosion control structure
  • Construct 10 monitoring cages and install them out in the field
  • Conduct inspections and compliance checks on 21 grazing allotments
  • Assist the District with inventory of invasive species, as much as possible


Apply: Applications are filled out online. Applications are now available for 2019 at this link. Email programs@cottonwoodgulch.org to be put on the email list for YCC updates.

Applications Review and Interview: If selected, applicants will be contacted by a Cottonwood Gulch staff member for an interview. *travel stipend may be available upon discussion with YCC Coordinator.

Work: Sessions are 7 weeks in duration. YCC crew members work a 40-hour weekly schedule and are paid the minimum wage, or the state minimum wage if higher, for the time worked (in this case, the state wage is higher at $7.50/hr).

Outside of Work: After a day of work, crew members will spend evenings at our Basecamp where they will have opportunities for leadership roles, play games on the field, and reflecting on their day around Campfire. Weekend activities will include more typical trek elements, like rock climbing, exploring slot canyons, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and learning about the native arts and cultures of the Southwest.

Residential Program: While some Forest Service units offer non-residential YCC prgrams, meaning crew commute to a work site and provide their own housing, the Zuni Mountain YCC crew members will live at Basecamp and on the road in tents and cabins with the entire crew. Crews will cook and share meals in a community setting. Residential programs, like ZMYCC, allow interested youth from communities not within commuting distance to participate. Each session will also include one Rendezvous, an event where all our summer treks come off the road to resupply and recount their experiences. This is a good time for families to visit crew members, as all members will be expected to stay with the crew for the entire duration of the 7-week session.

Are you eligible? We encourage all youth to consider applying for YCC jobs. To meet eligibility requirements, applicants must be:

  • At least 15 years old at the start of enrollment and must not reach age 19 before completion of the program
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., its territories, or possessions
  • Able to obtain a work permit as required under the laws of the applicant’s home state
  • Have a valid U.S. Social Security number or have applied for a valid Social Security number
  • Able to fulfill the essential functions of the assigned work with or without reasonable accommodations
  • Actively committed and willing to complete the assigned work projects

Crew members must also commit to the full length of the program and will need to bring their own backpacking backpacks and appropriate clothing, including long-sleeve shirts, long pants, hiking boots, and work boots (each serve their own important purpose). Crew members need to be capable of walking up to 3 miles with 45lb packs upon arrival, with the expectation to eventually accommodate up to 7 miles with 45lb packs. We expect crew members to have a willingness to learn to use hands for tools, controls, and other objects and they will be expected to occasionally lift and move up to 50 lbs.

Inquire at programs@cottonwoodgulch.org or 505-248-0563 to learn more about becoming a Zuni Mtn. YCC Crew Member!

Crew Member Details

 Follow the link on the button above to go the the application.

Email programs@cottonwoodgulch.org  to be put on our general YCC updates emailing list

  • Co-ed: Ages 16-18
  • 10 crew members/session
  • Session Dates: June 22nd-August 8th 2019
  • Wage: $7.50/hr
  • Workweek: 40hr/week

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