Corpsmember Perspective: Let's Move! Outside - YMCA San Antonio

Chloe Crumley is one of The Corps Network's AmeriCorps EAP members who is serving at a local YMCA location as part of Let's Move! Outside initiative. As a member of Texas Conservation Corps, Chloe is based out of YMCA of Greater San Antonio.

In 2015, The Corps Network joined the Department of the Interior's Let's Move! Outside initiative: an effort to build coalitions in 50 cities across the country to put into action the Department of the Interior’s broader youth initiative, which is focused on enhancing and expanding outdoor recreational, educational, volunteer and career opportunities on public lands for millions of youth. The Corps Network is aiding the initiative by placing TCN AmeriCorps EAP members at YMCA locations in many of the 50 cities. Each Corpsmember assists a Community Coordinator at the Y in leading a coalition of local organizations working to inspire young people to play, learn, serve, and work on public lands. Chloe's cohort (the first 25 cities) will end in August, and new EAP members will be selected for the remaining 25 cities. 
By Chloe Crumley
Texas Conservation Corps

Let’s Move! Outside has been an adventure. I may not be scraping my knees or climbing mountains in the most literal since, but figuratively, I have done just that. It all started with our summit in August 2015 in San Antonio, which was two days after I began as the AmeriCorps member with the initiative. I only vaguely knew what the initiative was about, but I did know I love being outside, I love being an advocate for the outdoors, and I’m excited for the opportunity to reach more people in my community to find that feeling and love of nature as well.

The beginning trek. The first summit had over 50 people in attendance from over 20 different organizations in and around San Antonio. In those three-hours we were able to discuss the outdoor opportunities this city has, the volunteer chances, and how we can all work together to better our existing programs. It was a fabulous event where passionate people were able to meet others in their same field and mind set of the outdoors and youth. That summit really lifted off our initiative and got many people and organizations excited for the future.

The first cross road. Now that the initiative had some excitement, I thought moving forward would be a breeze; however, due to my own excitement of getting youth and the community involved in the outdoors, I started running before I ever knew where I was going.
When the initiative was given to us, it stated two things: 1. We want 10,000 youth volunteers in each city and 2. There are four pillars – Play, Learn, Serve, Work.
The rest was up to us.

Climbing up hill. The openness of Let’s Move! Outside that was given to us, has the benefit of truly creating an initiative that fits our city and our needs, but the downside of little to no structure has meant a longer amount of time getting our footing. For a few weeks we worked on getting more partners involved and interested while we figured out the best way to find a mutually beneficial arrangement of their role in LMO. We worked on establishing a dedicated steering committee which has been a large part of our success. Then with that steering committee, we were able to work on a mission statement, develop goals, and decide our next steps with LMO.

The view. I know we have not reached our peak yet and even though we have fallen a few times and lost partners or fumbled with program development, we are now coming across a beautiful view. A couple of accomplishments in our journey have been:

  • A new program with Parks and Recreation Youth Programs and the National Historic Missions where youth are taught about the missions and parks and then taken to the missions to complete their Junior Ranger Training
  • A weekly educational hike at Hill Country Natural Area State Park specifically for youth
  • The first ever volunteer day with The Doseum and its members to have a family friendly outdoor volunteer day
  • Having the YMCA come out to the volunteer Arbor Day and do zumba with volunteers,
  • (And my favorite) A steering committee member from East Central ISD was committed and took a group of students to Big Bend National Park to learn, discover the park, volunteer, and express their passions to their peers when they returned.

The overlook. Most recently, I have been working with community members around San Antonio who are interested in volunteering and just need some help finding places to go, so it has been my pleasure to match families and businesses to opportunities. We also just had our SECOND summit for Let’s Move! Outside where we were able to discuss our goals and what the community needs from us. The most brought up resource needed is a website with calendars, partner resources, etc. so that is our #1 priority. At the second summit,we were glad to see organizations attend who have not been a part of the initiative. It proved that there are many people who could benefit from us, we just need to continue reaching out to them. We are also excited for the expansion of some volunteer days in our city like “It’s My Park Day” and “National Public Lands Day” thanks to LMO.

An adventure it has been, but it has been incredibly worth it and I am proud to be a part of this process to engage our youth and community to #getoutdoors #letsmoveoutsideSA


Photos of the Month: February 2016

Keep updating those Facebook photos! We'll collect some of our favorite photos posted on Corps Facebook pages within the past month and post them on this blog. Here are some of our favorites from February 2016. 


California Conservation Corps 

Mt. Adams Institute 


Heart of Oregon Corps 

Limitless Vistas, Inc. 

Western Colorado Conservation Corps 

Greater Miami Service Corps 

Arizona Conservation Corps 

Washington Conservation Corps 

Texas Conservation Corps 

Climb CDC 

Mile High Youth Corps 

Utah Conservation Corps 


Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center Courier: Volume 3, Issue 1

2016 Corpsmember of the Year Speeches

Every year, the Corpsmember of the Year speeches are a highlight of The Corps Network National Conference. Click below to watch the 2016 Corpsmembers of the Year tell their inspiring stories. 


Jasmin Angeles - Los Angeles Conservation Corps 



Timothy Gunn - The Sustainability Institute


Keoni Kikala - Kupu, Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps


Katheryne Lewis - Montana Conservation Corps 


Angela Noah - Northwest Youth Corps

Photos of the Month: January 2016

Keep updating those Facebook photos! We'll collect some of our favorite photos posted on Corps Facebook pages within the past month and post them on this blog. Here are some of our favorites from January 2016. 


California Conservation Corps 


Texas Conservation Corps 

Texas Conservation Corps

Green City Force

New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg

PowerCorps PHL

RMYC - Taos

Onondaga Earth Corps 

Limitless Vistas, Inc.

Conservation Corps North Bay

LA Conservation Corps



Out There - Florida's Backcountry

By Crew Leaders, Abbey Toomer & Shane Murphy, who along with Andrew Oliver (pictured above) and their crew participants from Community Training Works (CTW) & Young American Conservation Corps (YACC) have worked along the Florida National Scenic Trail, Apalachicola National Forests, Osceola National Forest and trained crew at CCFC's first project in City of Apalachicola, to name a few locations.

Being crew leaders working Florida’s backcountry can be both exhilarating and miserable. We’ve been on the job from the swamps of Okeechobee, the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve to the tall pines and ravines of the panhandle.  Florida’s climate provides an awesome year round growing season but leaves us with only 5 to 6 months of cooler weather for a safe working environment in the thicket of lush vegetation one finds in the southernmost state.

Since the sheer volume of work potential is staggering on a peninsula over 500 miles long and 160 miles wide, we just focus day to day maintaining trails, creating new trails, building and repairing footbridges, adding blazing and signage, or installing farm fence. These are just a few of the projects we've done in our couple years as a Forestry crew. While front country projects can be approached as any normal work day, most of the sites have been in the remote backcountry where commuting is unfeasible requiring hiking in fully equipped to camp overnight on “hitches” from 2 days up to 2 weeks. Out there we’ve encountered hot and freezing temperatures, dangerous thunderstorms as well as rambunctious wildlife and swarming insects. The upside is the food tastes better over a hot campfire and the stars really do grab your attention on a clear night. So with a positive attitude plus training and resources we were able to be successful with each project helping to preserve these less travelled forgotten environments of Florida.

As the season winds down and the typical hotter months return there are opportunities for further certifications in Wilderness First Aid & CPR, Wild land Fire training, Trout Headwaters “Wader’s in the Water Basic & Level 2 and advanced chain saw training.  It’s a great time to meet with other corps to share ideas and learn new methods of back country work and lifestyle.  It has been a privilege to train new corps members in their local communities and we welcome members from other corps to check out our projects in the sunshine state!  Roughin’ it and lovin’ itl!


Trained Corpsmembers Work on Climate Resilience Across the Nation

Submitted by Luke Frazza
Trout Headwaters, Inc.


Please join us in wishing good luck to the first ever group of Resilience AmeriCorps as they join Waders in the Water (WitW) graduates across the country working on-the-ground to help develop and implement local climate resilience plans.

Waders in the Water (WitW) graduates from a broad spectrum of conservation corps nationwide have been battling climate change since WitW was deployed almost two years ago.

Certified corpsmembers have worked on climate resilient projects including:

  • Wetland mitigation projects in multiple states to offset adverse development impacts
  • Stream restoration with the New Jersey Audubon Society
  • NFWF Wetland Restoration project in Washington, DC
  • Coastal stream and ecological data collection to support the Corps Network’s own Coastal Streams and Habitat Restoration and Management Initiative in the Gulf.

WitW was designed to introduce students to sustainable aquatic restoration techniques by teaching them how to improve the climate-resiliency of our streams, rivers, and wetlands while inspiring participants to become the next generation of stewards of our natural and cultural resources. It offers an opportunity to earn the only private restoration industry-recognized credential in the installation of aquatic restoration projects.

The planet we share, and the growing restoration economy needs a trained workforce now.      

         Register Here for an upcoming Waders in the Water class

The next two-day training takes place:       

Mon.  Jan. 25, 2016  - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EST

Tues. Jan. 26, 2016  - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EST

This Training meets 2 times. Attendees are expected to attend both sessions.

Class size is limited so Register Here Today!

Contact Luke Frazza with any questions

Photos of the Month: December 2015

An Interview with Len Price, a 2016 Corps Legacy Achievement Award Winner

Len Price of Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa was selected as a 2016 Corps Legacy Achivement Award Winner. We interviewed Len to learn more about him and his experience in the Corps movement. Click here to read Len's bio. 

How did you become involved in Service and Conservation Corps?  What were you doing before?

My knowledge of the Conservation Corps did not occur until my Legislative days. In the 1990s, the Corps ( known then as MCC or Minnesota Conservation Corps) was part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and as such was funded through the budgeting process for that State Agency. As a committee member of the Minnesota State Senate Finance Division that had jurisdiction over that budget, I heard about the program and supported its funding. In the state budget proposal for the 2001-2003 budget there was no funding offered for the Minnesota Conservation Corps. I was approached by Corps members at one of my senate Legislative Town meetings to try to figure out how to prevent the proposed cut to the funding and in essence end the Corps’ existence.

I was then Chairman of the Senate Finance Division for Natural Resources and championed the Corps funding and held the position through the Legislative process and conference committee  for the State Budget and the Corps emerged with funding to keep it intact as a 501 c 3 nonprofit and saved from extinction.

I was not reelected to the State Senate in the next election (2002), and  was asked to join the Corps Board of Directors in 2003. With a bleak outlook for funding, the Executive Director for the Corps left.  I was asked to apply for the position, was hired, and began work as the Executive Director in January of 2005. I am retiring December 31, 2015 after 11 years of service.

Prior to the ED position at the Corps (2005-2011), I was a classroom teacher at a suburban high school for 34 years (1965-1999) and concurrently a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate for 20 years (1983-2002). I have always had an interest in youth issues-employment and training. The Corps work seemed like a good fit.


Who are some of your heroes?  What did they do to inspire you? 

Among my heroes are my parents, both hard working Greatest Generation individuals who lived through the Great Depression and World War Two. They gave me the values and ethics that have guided my life. The late Minnesota State Representative Willard Munger gave me the inspiration and tenacity to use the legislative process to help protect and sustain natural resources. I was also inspired by President John Kennedy’s challenge, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. I took that to heart and became a social studies teacher.


Describe some of your most memorable experiences working with Corps programs.

Every day there are memorable experiences associated with the Corps and Corps’ programs. To see first hand the change in youth and young adults after their term of service or completion of a project or a days’ work provides me with great satisfaction. To give individuals a chance to have new experiences outdoors and be involved in a tactile manner; to see the personal growth, the skill changes, the attitude changes and the appreciation of caring for the environment and each other; and the improvements made to a stream, trail, shoreline, forest, landscape, or a public place and the team spirit that develops in the process provides me with a very warm feeling. As an example, I’ll not forget the day a crew of six teenagers, including two deaf corps members, successfully and safely dismantled a problematic beaver dam in the Minnesota wilderness. They carefully and strategically repositioned themselves in order to extract each carefully constructed stick in the beaver dam. They emerged from the water coated with mud, filthy and smelling like the rank water in which they toiled for about 45 minutes. The joy on their faces of such an accomplishment is etched in my mind. They wore the mud proudly like medals for the rest of the day. Together with their crew companions they had experienced a once in a life time activity. The face of the crew leader reflected the elation of a job well done…of what a successful day had become.


Given your experience, what is the primary piece of wisdom you could provide to Corpsmembers?

As a corpsmember, remember it is okay to ask questions, to learn new things, to be supportive of team members, and to relish the new things that you can experience. You are not alone in not knowing. Embrace the chance, the adventure and be supportive of others.


What is the primary piece of wisdom you would provide to staff at Corps?

As a staff person, you have the chance to influence your charges, your crew, in so many ways. You are a mentor, a role model, an authority figure, a counselor, and an influence for life. Ask participants in programs from the past and they will likely share the profound ways that you affected them emotionally. Staff in leadership positions, carry the burden of perpetuating the reputation of the Corps movement and sometimes the sustainability of the Corps mission. It is you that must take up the mantle for the future of the Corps and national service- you must be an advocate, an educator to the public, that does not know or understand what the Corps is and what impacts it has on individual lives and the social good and value-added that Corps programs produce. You must be the storyteller and the role model.


In the future, what developments would you like to see happen in the Corps movement?

If I were king, I would require all high school graduates and school drop-outs to serve at least one year of service in a community and service activity before they pursue post- secondary schooling or work related training. Ideally it would not necessarily need to be just in the natural resource world. It would allow time for many young people to have some world experience, grow up a bit, and help many worthy causes and the needs of communities. Exception to the requirement would be for military service. As king I would not hesitate to provide the necessary funding to make such a worthy and noble cause become reality.


What do you hope your legacy will be?

I hope my legacy is that I was part of caring for others and my community and that programs like Corps will be in existence for opportunities forever. Participation to that end will help us take care of public places and spaces and” restore resources and change lives”.



An Interview with Dwight Washabaugh, a 2016 Corps Legacy Achievement Award Winner

Dwight Washabaugh of Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps was selected as a 2016 Corps Legacy Achivement Award Winner. We interviewed Dwight to learn more about him and his experience in the Corps movement. Click here to read Dwight's bio. 

How did you become involved in Service and Conservation Corps?  What were you doing before?

For 20 plus years prior to being involved with Service and Conservation Corps, I had been the Controller, Director of Development and Executive Director for a faith based organization. Next I did independent consulting for nonprofit organization for 3+ years facilitating strategic planning, consulting related to data management and serving as a contract administrator for a nonprofit organization.

While it is unheard of in today’s world, I was reviewing the job classified ads in two northern California newspapers and found the Sacramento Regional (Local at that time) Conservation Corps was seeking an Executive Director.  The combination of working with youth and the environment peeked my interest and I applied; and thirty days later I was offered the position and began a steep learning curve with a wonderful 21+ year career until I retired March 31, 2015.


Who are some of your heroes?  What did they do to inspire you?

Two groups:

  • Historical

Jesus – Inspired by his teachings and his actions.

Abraham Lincoln – Inspired by his leadership skills and determined focus.

  • Personal

A.     Business man and board member in my first nonprofit experience who when he graduated with his MBA from Harvard, his goal was to be president over the years of 10 different companies.  He has accomplished that goal.  I was inspired by his combined focus of the mission of the organization and the bottom line to create a successful organization and program.

B.     Ira Okun and Bruce Saito within the Corps movement:  I was inspired by both men as they helped me with the steep learning curve of directing a Corps and building relationships with government leaders.


Describe some of your most memorable experiences working with Corps programs.

My most memorable experiences occurred between me and the corpsmembers.  Topping the list were the opportunities to hear their stories about how they grew and were successful during their participation in the Corps program.  These experiences were much greater than the mere statistical accomplishments.  Their successes brought deep convictions of change in their lives, which also brought a richness to our community and to my personal experience.


Given your experience, what is the primary piece of wisdom you could provide to Corpsmembers?

I would share with corpsmembers the importance of letting go of the past and to focus on the opportunities they can achieve going forward. Be proud of who you are and strive to do your very best in every endeavor.  Begin by investing the time in the Corps program and   opportunities that are available to you, and participate fully.  Be honest with yourself and others.


What is the primary piece of wisdom you would provide to staff at Corps?

Work as a team to provide a strong, viable and meaningful program that supports, encourages and challenges each corpsmember participant.  Demonstrate to the Corpsmembers that each staff member cares.  Each staff member must “model” him/herself in his/herself day-to-day actions as a professional, caring person and leader.  Actions speak louder than words.


In the future, what developments would you like to see happen in the Corps movement?

The Corps movement today and the original Civilian Conservation Corps of the Depression era is a well kept public secret.  I would like to see a comprehensive ongoing National marketing plan using television, bill boards, newspapers and social media that spreads the word about Service and Conservation Corps and the multiple benefits to every community.

Secondly, I would like to see federal funding, similar to that of Job Corps for Service and Conservation Corps that would compliment State and local funded work training and service projects.


What do you hope your legacy will be?

My hope is that my legacy has built a strong foundation for the continued growth of the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps as a significant part of the community fabric serving young men and women in the region with training and education while providing a meaningful workforce for important urban conservation and environmental needs.