Summer Outdoor Opportunities for Virginia Youth


Let’s start thinking Summer!

Nominations are open for the 69th annual Holiday Lake Forestry Camp, to be held June 15-20 at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center. This camp is hosted by the Virginia Department of Forestry, with support from conservation agencies, businesses and individuals.

Forestry Camp provides a unique field-based learning experience related to natural resource career paths.  Topics include wildlife habitat, tree identification, timber harvesting, reforestation, environmental protection and more.  Campers also take part in field trips, exploratory classes, outdoor recreation and a Lumberjack Field Day.

Teachers, natural resource professionals and others working with youth may make nominations for this camp. Nominees must be Virginia residents 13-16 years old with good academic standing, have an interest in natural resources, and must not have attended Forestry Camp before.

Every camper selected to attend receives a scholarship and pays only $85 to attend the week-long residential camp.

Nominations are due by April 1.

For more information please contact Ellen Powell at the Department of Forestry at 434.220.9083.

High school students have another opportunity for summer work and education through Virginia State Parks.  This is the Youth Conservation Corps running from July 19th-August 8th.

Teams of eight to 10 participants will be chosen from current high school students between the ages of 14 and 17 (participants must be 14 by June 1). Applicants must demonstrate an interest in protecting Virginia’s environment. While no prior experience is necessary, participants will work outside, and the service is physically demanding. A positive attitude, an interest in learning, curiosity about interpreting nature, and the physical ability and desire to work outdoors are also important factors in the selection process.

YCC crew members are provided room, board, T-shirts and equipment. They receive a $500 stipend at the end of the three weeks.

YCC participants help with assorted park projects, including wildlife and fisheries habitat improvement, trail and campground construction and restoration, timber and shoreline improvement, and landscape beautification. The YCC is modeled after the federal service program AmeriCorps and the depression era Civilian Conservation Corps that built the original six Virginia State Parks.

Applications are due April 15th. For more information about the YCC program, call 804-887-8933 or e-mail .

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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