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Report from the Field

Parker (age 16)

Date/project: July 31-Aug. 4,

Location: Wolford Recreation Area (building, maintaining, and improving Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) areas)

Want to know what it likes to spend a week in the field working for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps? Perhaps no one sums it up better than 16-year-old Parker, who, wise beyond his years, got more out of it than he ever thought possible.

Parker spent the first week of August 2023 building and maintaining an OHV trail in the Wolford Recreation Area, constructing more than 4,000 feet of trail and installing 52 feet of ditches, including 13 drains. And even though he often felt drained himself by the end of the day, he says he wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

“When I first heard of RMYC at the service/volunteer fair, I was dumbfounded—it seemed too good to be true,” he posts in his Session Testimony. “RMYC is perfect for me. I joined for many reasons: the fun experiences, the chance to be fully immersed in nature, get some good old-fashioned exercise, and the chance to meet people with similar interests. You get all that and get paid!”


Despite his high hopes for the highlight of his summer, he says it was better than he could have imagined.


“I had high expectations and RMYC surpassed them,” he posts. “It’s been such a great experience. I’ve met great people.


He especially enjoyed both his fellow crew members and the crew leaders.


“All the crew members are fun loving, nature loving, motivated people,” he says. “The crew leads are great leaders and they had a zeal and fun spirit that surprised me and made the group become a real community.”


A case in point comes after one particularly hard day when they still managed to go have a little fun. “We built and finished a steep, mile-and-a-half stretch of sustainable trail and still had time to go to Rocky Mountain National Park and see the Barbie movie on the weekend,” he says.


He admits it wasn’t all smooth sailing. But being together with his fellow crew members made it easier to weather the more difficult times. “There were challenges and adventures, but we got through it,” he says, rattling off encounters with everything from moose to black widows.


And the weather itself proved a formidable foe as well at times. “We encountered some crazy, crazy storms as well as ominously close lightning which sent us running for the van,” he says. “But the group's great dynamic made even huddling in a van at midnight because of a storm into fun time. We played games and even something as menial as doing dishes was enjoyable with people yelling “Shark!” when passing knives and playing the ‘No talking—only animal sounds’ game.”


As far as advice to other future crew members, he says take a moment to enjoy and appreciate everything from the setting to the people you’re with and the work. “My advice to new RMYC crew members is to be grateful for the awe-inspiring places you get to work and to be proud of the work you do because it is hard and impressive,” he says. “Also, make sure to socialize and make friends since this is more than just a job, it’s a family. To those thinking about joining RMYC, I’ll just say you won’t regret it. There’ll be times of wet sleeping bags and mosquito swarms and the stench of a week without showering, but I wouldn’t trade the fantastic memories and experiences and adventures for anything. Have fun!”

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