ORACLE, Ariz.—A team of 11 members of the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program, has been stationed at Oracle State Park for five weeks to perform general park maintenance.
From Nov. 20 to Dec. 19, 2012 the team of 18 to 24 year olds will be working at the short-staffed park, performing trail clearing and building, forest fire mitigation and firewood collection, ranch house cleaning and a variety of other tasks.
“We’re very happy to have the help and youthful energy of the NCCC crew,” said Jennifer Rinio, Park Ranger at Oracle State Park. “They’re honing their handyman skills with a variety of park maintenance projects, as well as getting the opportunity to consider their own roles and talents as future land stewards.”
The state park, which serves as a wild life refuge, educational center and recreational area, is open partially throughout the year, so much of their work will be in preparation of its reopening in Feb.
The team has a diverse background, comprised of members from all over the United States. Despite their close encounters with coyotes and cacti, and other elements of the Arizona wilderness that are foreign to most of them, the team is enjoying their stay and work at Oracle State Park.
“This project has definitely taken many of us out of our comfort zones,” said the NCCC crew’s Team Leader, Casey Bartlett. “Living in tents for weeks on end and being in this environment has been a growing experience.”
AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program in which 1,200 young adults serve nationwide each year. During their 10-month term, Corps Members – all 18 to 24 years old – work on teams of eight to 12 on projects that address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.
Members work on a series of different projects, typically lasting six to eight weeks each, to mentor students, construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans, and address countless other local needs.
The Southwest Region campus in Denver is one of five regional hubs in the United States and serves eight states in the southwest part of the country. The other campuses are located in Perry Point, Md., Vinton, Iowa, Vicksburg, Miss. and Sacramento, Calif.
In exchange for their service, Corps Members receive $5,550 to help pay for college, or to pay back existing student loans. Other benefits include a small living stipend and room and board.
AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, for more information about AmeriCorps NCCC visit Americorps.gov/NCCC.
To comment on this article and others visit the Copper Area News Facebook or send us an email at CBNSun@MinerSunBasin.com