Gearing Up

20 February 2015 Published in CCYC Blog
Our 2014 CLDP crew reducing fuels in Blanding, UT Our 2014 CLDP crew reducing fuels in Blanding, UT Photo by Jenna Whetzel

In less than two weeks, our office will be flooded with talk of chainsaws, bar oil and inside jokes. An odd stench will hover in the air that can only be attained by working in the field without showering for nine consecutive days. What can we say; we're excited to have new blood around! We've moved offices so that all of our colleagues in the Four Corners School office have more room for new hires and don't have to smell our funk wafting through the halls each Monday! We didn't move far, we're right next door! CCYC now lives in the apartment next to the Four Corners School office. In fact, these words are being typed from the kitchen right across from the fridge, which is humming loudly.There were a lot of changes made at the start of 2015. Not only have we moved locations and started a blog, but we are excited to have two new CCYC Co-Directors! Jake Deslauriers worked as our Field Coordinator last season and decided this year he wanted to run the show with his friend and counterpart from the Yellowstone Conservation Corps, Mike Coonan. Mike is from Iowa and was delighted to come and explore the Four Corners region. Combined, they will use over ten years of corps experience to make CCYC more efficient, find even more work in diverse locations and hire more crews this season! Which is pretty great! We also have hired a new Program Development Coordinator, Nate Price to streamline all of our information intake and make life easier for everyone involved with CCYC. He comes to us from Southwest Conservation Corps and has over five years of corps and outdoor education experience. Welcome aboard, Mike and Nate!

This year will mark the second year of our Crew Leader Development Program! Last year's crew leaders became seasoned vets by the end of November and accomplished more work than was expected from them. Two of last years crew leaders are returning this season to be head crew leaders. Welcome back Mark and Whitney!Their crew will learn about effective leadership in the first few months of the Spring season with daily lessons both in and out of the field. During the second half of the season they will put these skills to the ultimate test: they will lead a hitch with a co-leader and take over all the regular duties of a crew leader. This means everything from waking up early to heat up water, making sure the group buys enough food for the week, checking the tire pressure on the van, solving conflicts, taking care of Joe when his toenail gets ripped off, making sure there are no peanuts cooked for dinner that would make Jane's throat swell up like a balloon and a multitude of other random, necessary tasks. Will they be able to handle it? We are confident we have chosen able leaders up to the challenge!

Though we have missed the excitement that having crews on the ground brings, we have enjoyed the snow this winter in San Juan County. The entire CCYC office staff and most of the FCS staff love going cross-country skiing in the beautiful blue Abajo Mountains that rise above Monticello. Indoors, we have been busy writing grants, going over budgets, hiring crewmembers and securing work for the entire year! We cannot wait until the snow melts and crews are working hard to reduce fuel loads, build trails and remove invasive species from the Colorado and Dolores rivers once more! Keep checking in...we will post again with highlights from training!