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Rocky Mountain Youth Corps Ramps Up for Record-breaking 2024 Season

Local youth program coming off 30th anniversary, new CEO, new programs and more


When its first crews of the year head out into the fields on June 9, Steamboat Springs, Colo.-based Rocky Mountain Youth Corps will usher in its busiest season to date, with new programs, a new CEO, and more.

In February 2024, longtime Chief Program Officer Ryan Banks took over as the local nonprofit’s new CEO, replacing 30-year founder and retiring CEO Gretchen Van De Carr. With a background in education, environmental studies and community service work, Banks spent several years working with AmeriCorps programs before joining RMYC’s full time staff team in 2017.

“I’m excited to work with our team to continue to provide meaningful service opportunities to young people, while strengthening partnerships with land managers throughout our region," says Banks, who will oversee a more than $7 million operating budget. “It should be a great season ahead.”

This year’s season also comes on the heels of RMYC celebrating its 30th year of operation in 2023, continuing its award-winning tradition of engaging youth in the outdoors while linking community, education, and environment through service. Over its 235 project weeks last season, RMYC served over 850 youth through its programs, improving 1,621 acres of public lands; maintaining or building 705 miles of trails; and removing/mitigating 15,797 trees. (In so doing, it also reached the milestone of more than 100,000 PBJs served!)

Housed in a 4,300-square-foot headquarters on a 3.4-acre campus in Steamboat Springs, RMYC has served more than 13,000 youth in its three decades of service, including more than 5,000 through its Yampa Valley Science School program. Its crews work on everything from community cleanups, wildfire mitigation and tree planting projects to trail building and maintenance, GIS programming, historic structure preservation, hydrology and archaeology projects, beetle kill removal, and more. This year, they will continue work on rerouting and maintaining trails on Colorado 14ers and 25 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. Its newest program—Natural Resource Internships—has grown to more than 130 participants in seven short years.

This year’s fire teams will also include RMYC’s second-ever all-women’s chainsaw crew, which will perform wildfire mitigation work throughout Colorado; as well as a ladies youth crew that will participate in conservation and recreation projects across the state. “It’s a pretty male-dominated profession, so whenever we can help get an opportunity to increase diversity it’s pretty special,” says Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest fire management officer Chris Green of the all-women’s fire mitigation team.

Providing more than $5 million in wages and benefits to its seasonal staff, paid corps members and interns annually, RMYC is building its long-term financial sustainability by building its endowment fund held at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation to $2 million by 2026.

“We’re looking forward to another action-packed summer providing life changing service opportunities to young people of all ages. All while supporting public land managers in completing priority conservation projects” says Banks.

About RMYC
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps engages the strength and potential of youth and young adults to make a difference in themselves and their community through meaningful service opportunities, educational experiences, and group recreational activities. RMYC strives to meet the needs of the communities of northwest Colorado and southern Wyoming by offering a variety of programs and services for youth ages 11-35 years. For more information visit

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