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Voices from the Field

First Installment

Words of wisdom from one of our Regional Youth Crews from the summer of 2023, executing fieldwork throughout Northwest Colorado, from Rangely to Grand Lake and the Wolford Recreation Area

Want to know what it’s like to be an RMYC trail crew member?


Look no further than the following excerpts, or Session Testimonies, complied from crew members over the course of the summer 2023 season, revealing a few thoughts crew members had about themselves, being outside in nature and the whole RMYC experience.

“I came to RMYC because I already knew I liked trail work and camping. When I learned that I could get paid for it, I was sold…”

             -QT, June 5-9, Rangely Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Site/Canyon Pintado. Installing signs, removing weeds and trash.


“The best thing was hammering the signs and placing them in the ground…it uses a lot of teamwork and working together. Also, it takes hard, physical work and makes a big impact on the site. I also learned about a new hobby some people practiced called “Larping”—or role playing as different fictional characters they would fight with padded ‘swords.’”

            -June 12-18, Rangely OHV Site/Canyon Pintado. Building/installing fences and signs, removing plants.


“A challenge our crew faced was managing inconsistent directives. We overcame this problem by discussing it with our project partner and getting a clear plan. It’s a unique work opportunity that lets you meet other people interested in the outdoors.”


“One weird crew ritual that I experienced was our bump circle. When we were in the park, many people thought it was really weird and gave us strange looks.”

               -AJ and Jacob, June 18-24, LO7 OHV Open Area Trails. Building/installing/repairing fences, signs, trails and ditches.


“Our project was building an OHV recreation site to help protect the environment—I Iearned that creating a specified area for OHV use lessens impact elsewhere. But our short-term goal was to make Cody happy. Every dinner the crews circled up and chanted, basically our crew looked like a cult. I was at this RMYC session to do an outdoor job and meet cool people and gain some new friends. I did all of that.”

              -June 26-29, USFS Forest Recovery, Grand Lake. Restoring campgrounds, hauling/stacking trees and rocks, installing/improving grade dips.


“RMYC is a fun learning experience where groups get to connect while working outside. The best thing about it is the teamwork. The work also teaches you to persevere and it’s super rewarding to see the finished product. But a lot of people do get homesick.”

            -July 15-21, North Sand Hills. Building fences to establish boundaries.


“We had frequent storms making us go into the van and practice lightning policy. One night most people had gone to sleep beforehand; we made this unpleasant experience tolerable by talking and listening to each other to understand our individual needs.”


“My experience taught me more of what conservation actually is, about how to use the land in the least harmful manner. I’m now way more conscious of Leave No Trace.”


“I chose to do RMYC to prove to myself that I could explore new places with new people. It’s allowed me to become more outgoing and open to new people, experiences and perspectives. I became friends with people I probably never would have talked to before. It’s taught me to judge less and open my heart more.”


“RMYC has taught me about myself. I took this job to see if I’d be interested in something similar in the future, and while I’m still interested in conservation, I don’t think I’m the type to spend longer than two weeks camping. I came here to push myself out of my comfort zone and I learned that I can control my own experience, make the best of it and not be a victim of my own anxiety. I learned that I can be an explorer.”


“The best part was seeing how motivated everyone was to finish the trail. It pushed me to keep working and see how our hard work paid off. Katie really inspires me. She’s done RMYC for 20 weeks and has found something she loves and has an incredible passion for. I hope I can find my own thing to be as passionate about.”


“Advice to future crew members? Enjoy the time you spend outdoors because it’s an incredible experience. It’s difficult work but the experience is totally worth it. And the people you meet will surprise and inspire you every day.”

              -July 24-28, Wolford Recreation Area. Building, maintaining, improving OHV areas.


“I liked the social aspect—all the time people were talking, cracking jokes, solving riddles or having random side conversations. I was never super bored because I could start up a word game or join a conversation. Everyone played a role on the team; no one ever felt left out or excluded. We all got along and had a ton of fun.”


“You join RMYC to join a team and work on a project outdoors while making a bunch of friends. Advice I’d give? Make the most of everything. There will be times when you’re exhausted and don’t want to do anything but just remember to see the good in everything. I thought it was just a job where you build trails but that's only half of it. The other half is the people; you get to connect and interact with people from all across the country. And the goofy times and funny moments make it well worth it.”

                  -July 31-Aug. 4, Wolford Recreation Area. Building, maintaining, improving OHV areas.

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