State funding could benefit Steamboat youth corps

$1M GOCo grant announced by governor

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Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version to clarify that the city's Community Youth Corps also will be able to use the GOCo funds for projects.

Funding announced Wed­nesday for the state’s youth corps programs will put more teenagers and young adults to work in Routt County.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps expects to see a portion of the $1 million in Great Outdoors Colorado funds set aside by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Executive Director Gretchen Van De Carr said. The dollars will be allocated through the Colorado Youth Corps Association, of which Rocky Mountain Youth Corps is a member.

Van De Carr said because there are eight youth corps programs statewide, she thinks Rocky Mountain Youth Corps will get about $125,000 of the funding for outdoor projects in 2011-12. She said it will allow Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to pay about 30 more 16- to 25-year-olds to work in summer on its Conservation Corps, completing local projects.

“We’re providing jobs for young people in our community,” Van De Carr said. “They’re doing meaningful work for the community.

“It’s a win-win. It’s not a summer camp. It’s a job readiness experiential employment program.”

She said the program typically serves 100 to 150 youths — many working for the first time — each summer, depending on how many projects they have to complete.

The funding would allow the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to maintain the work it has been doing with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks Service because state funding for youth projects involving those programs is mostly gone, Van De Carr said. She said those projects included wildlife habitat restoration, building irrigation ditches, trail maintenance and beetle-kill mitigation.

Van De Carr said she hopes that the Conservation Corps could complete similar projects in summer on Emerald Mountain.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps also provides similar programming for youths starting at age 10.

For the first time last summer, students entering sixth through ninth grades participated in the Service Learning Institute, earning an Ameri­Corps education award for completing 100 hours of work.

The Corps also partners with the city of Steamboat Springs on the Community Youth Corps for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds, who are paid for completing conservation projects locally. But Van De Carr said that program’s funding was cut in half for the upcoming summer.

Winnie DelliQuadri, the city’s government programs manager, said the city's Community Youth Corps also would be able to use the GOCo funding for its projects.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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