Youth Corps

Do You Hear That? 

The “thud” of a Pulaski hitting the dirt, the “zeet” of a chainsaw being sharpened, or the “thwack” of a tent popping up?  Youth corps crews have hit the field and these are the sounds of the season.  It is hard to travel anywhere in the state without seeing (and hearing!) a crew or the result of their efforts. 

It’s easy to see a corpsmember install a fence, build a trail, or cut down a beetle-kill tree.  But what you might not witness is the lives that are being changed - whether it be a 14-year-old who has never had a job, an 18-year-old who left high school to care for younger siblings and work to support his family, a 24-year-old graduate student striving for her first natural resources job, or a veteran just back from war and now fighting wildfires.  Youth conservation corps don’t just conserve Colorado’s land, water, and energy resources - they change lives.

Your Lottery Dollars Support Colorado Youth Corps

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Colorado Lottery's only funding source,  has commited $500,000 for local government & open space youth corps projects.

Meet a Few Colorado Corpsmembers:


Christian Ndushabandi, Mile High Youth Corps – Colorado Springs

  • Born in Rwanda, East Africa
  • 19 years old
  • Lost both his father and stepfather to civil war and genocide
  • Immigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings
  • Speaks French, Swahili and now English
  • Was a full-time student at Pikes Peak Community College and part-time food service employee at the U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Currently serving in the U.S. Army

“I needed to find a job right away to support my family.”

The corps “hired me even though my English wasn’t very good and I had never done this kind of work.  I was so grateful.”

“I hope my sisters and brother have the opportunity to work for the corps someday, too.”


Grant Wahl, Larimer County Conservation Corps

  • Littleton native and Columbine High School graduate
  • Served on a chainsaw crew doing fire mitigation projects
  • Earned B.S. in Natural Resources, Recreation and Tourism from the Warner College at Colorado State University
  • Currently working for Jefferson County Open Space

"Our crew had a family atmosphere to it …we shared the stories of our lives over dinner and talked under the stars late into the night.”

“If I had to describe the corps experience to someone thinking of getting involved, I would tell them ‘it's hard work and it's not easy, but you get so much more out of the experience than you think. You get to make a real impact’."   


Elexia Seng, Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps

  • Steamboat Springs native
  • 16 years old
  • Her mom left home when Elexia was just five years old
  • She has struggled socially since elementary school
  • Partners of Routt County recommend Elexia for a corpsmember position
  • She thrived while in the corps and gained a stronger self-esteem 
  • Now headed to Alaska for a National Outdoor Leadership School course

"The corps had a really positive influence on me and I would do it again and again."

 “I learned the meaning of ‘work ethic’.”

 “Not only do you build friendships, you learn about yourself and how hard work means a lot in life.” 

For more information about Colorado's Youth Corps Program, visit http://www.cyca.org/ for more information.