“I was a freshman in high school when I began to rebel and start to make bad choices. I didn’t take school seriously, thinking that graduation didn’t matter and I would never go to college. The summer of 2008 changed my life. I joined a multicultural youth group sponsored by Youth Discovery and the Utah Conservation Corps. I didn’t know what to expect but knew we were going to learn a lot about leadership and the outdoors. By the time the summer was over we had worked hard and built a great relationship with each other. All the skills I gained began to show my senior year. As a result of a speech I gave about the summer program, applying for a scholarship, the improvement of my grades, and all the experiences I had at UCC, I was chosen to receive a four year scholarship. I gained so much confidence and all thanks to this summer program. I had no idea how it would turn my life around.”
Jessica Vieyra at Tony Grove Bilingual UCC 2008
Please write an evaluation of your summer experiences on the YCC and Common Ground crews. Here are some ideas of things to trigger your thinking and things we would like to see described. We would like to use your evaluations for future promotion of multicultural outdoor adventure clubs.
Describe some of your favorite experiences during the summer, plus some of your least favorite.
Favorite experiences……. Would just have to be everyday work. I looked forward to getting up in the morning and just wondering what was going to happen today. Every day we would have a highlight among the depressing work day pulling out sage brush. The two experiences that stick out most in my mind were during Friday activities. One was at the Riverdale festival when Jessie, Tino and I jumped from a 20ft bridge onto the running river. We were all scared but through each other’s support we were able to take that jump forward. And my other memory was from White Pine Lake, when me and Tino crossed the ice cold lake!!! We barely made it but were very proud of ourselves.
Was your job experience worthwhile to you? Please explain why and how, or why not.
YES!!! I went around and ask all the crew members how they have changed this summer and what this job and everyone has changed them and it got me thinking how this has helped me! This job gave me sanity and hope. I worked for the past three years with my brother’s ice cream truck. That is all I knew of labor. I got tired; it was about 7days a week for 8hrs all for four month straight! I couldn’t handle it. The YCC and its crew saved my summer and it gave me hope that next summer I would be lucky enough to find a job other that Yum Yum Ice Cream.
How do you feel the summer job has affected your future life and outlook on life?
This job just made me want to work in the outdoors and with young kids all my life. I know I am a kid as well, but high school students have this certain energy and mind set. I simply I always want to work for the common good.
Describe how your relationships and friendships were affected during the summer.
It started of slow as I figured it would be since it takes a while for me to get comfortable with others but when we all relaxed we became ourselves. We certainly got close to each other and just saw each other develop and change as you would expect with a summer job like this. I know this YCC crew was meant to be.
How do you feel about being outdoors and how the outdoors affects your life?
Working outdoors was something I always pictured myself doing. It felt good to finally do a physical outdoor job. The outdoors is my escaping mechanism and is just so fascinating. The outdoors calms me and gets me focused, it is my inspiration. There is no words that can describe my connection to the outdoors.
How did the job affect your leadership abilities?
This was what I was most excited about, I have always been a follower and wanted to be release my leadership character. Training certainly helped to start my new persona but nothing was more triggering than being put on the spot. Nothing shifted my personality more that being put on the reigns. Also the three weeks I was out with the UCC crews camping and paying attention to other UCC crew leaders and how they handled their team. As a crew leaders, I passed on the authority to the YCC crew members for making decisions, just to let them feel comfortable with their own leadership personalities.
Would you like to be involved in multicultural outdoor adventure programs during the school year, and how?
Of course, I will be happy working with the YCC crew once again and assisting for as many hours a week on any other high school or middle school were the club will be starting up.
How could the program be improved? Please comment on safety, leadership, team building, personal growth, work projects, etc.
Safety wise the only suggestion would be maybe to gather some rain gear and work boots to give to the needing crew members. In the leadership sense I thought two crew leaders for the YCC was an excellent idea, especially a boy and a girl. The amount of training for crew leaders’ position was just right, I was really impressed with myself and what I took from every exercise. Team building comes with work time in addition to Friday activities. But in my view the Rope Course Friday activity was critical for us to trust each other as a group and forget about any ridiculous dislike we have towards one another. Personal growth comes after team building and learning from one another. As for work projects please more VARIETY! I know it was Golden Spike’s fault but next year just more meaningful work other than picking sage brush that will grow back later.
Were the training days (Fridays) worth your time? What did you enjoy most? Least? How could they be improved? (YCC only)
The very few training days were positively worth my time. It was still work but yet so relaxing we were able to be out of the repetitive work environment and be different people around each other. Friday activities was a very nice treat that allowed us only to get closer as a crew. My least favorite part was, as I hinted earlier, there were very few Friday activities which wasn’t expected as our hopes ran high at the beginning of the summer. The only improvement I have is a heads up at least a week, more activities and variety.
Would you consider working on a YCC or Common Ground crew again next summer?
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