The Minnesota Conservation Corps Summer Youth Program has been hard at work laying the foundation for a flower garden designed and built by youths at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd.
As a recipient of a U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Foundation Youth Employment Strategies grant, MCC invited employees of the U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray branch office to help with the project.
This project was organized by Kay LaFrance with the Northland Arboretum with the materials for the project funded through the Brainerd Community Foundation.
The MCC summer program is an eight-week residential conservation work program that provides Minnesota's youths, ages 15 to 18, the opportunity to learn and earn money while carrying out important natural resource and conservation projects around the state. Members spend their summer living in a rustic setting without electricity or running water.
While at the base camp at St. Croix State Park, the youths and staff members live in cabins that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The crews, however, spend a majority of the summer on "spike camp" living out of tents and preparing their own meals near the work sites.
While in the program youths gain valuable skills in career planning, job searching and resum building. Every corps member is required to complete his or her own resume before successfully completing the eight weeks. The youths finish the MCC program knowing they have grown as individuals, as well as contributed to the well-being of the state's natural resources.
"This MCC crew worked hard and as a team," said LaFrance. "I can see that this is a good program that stresses a solid work ethic while involving the youth in all levels of the work they complete. They have been instrumental in getting the youth garden under way."
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