With the support of numerous partners, community members, and friends, this year’s summer crews ended with many high notes. We offered several firsts this season for our Corpsmembers: first job, first time working on trails, first time building a resume, and first time working with adobe. RMYC’s summer YCC crews stretched over three counties and 200 miles, with seven crews working from El Rito to Raton. For the 56 members that joined a crew this summer the memories of the experience will last a lifetime.
Funded through a division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, the Youth Conservation Corps has provided consistent funding for RMYC since 1995. The projects our crews worked on this summer were very diverse. In El Rito, the crew worked with the US Forest Service to complete the construction of critical fire line which will allow a professional fire crew to create defensible space through controlled burning. To complicate matters and add an additional sense of urgency to the work, the crew witnessed a fire raging just across the canyon which inundated their town and project site with thick smoke. Nonetheless, the crew persevered.
The Questa and Peñasco crews partnered with the Bureau of Land Management to complete trail maintenance in Wild Rivers Recreation Area and provide fisherman access points to the Rio Grande River in the Orillia Verde Recreation Area. The Questa Crew left this summer as heroes in their community: when a fisherman was found with a broken leg the quick response from the Corpsmembers led to a successful helicopter evacuation and recognition from the Mayor by dedicating June 11th as “RMYC Day” in Questa.
Our two Taos-based crews partnered with Holy Cross Hospital and the University of New Mexico-Taos. Projects included landscaping “pocket” parks at the Hospital, as well as building trails and a straw bale entrance wall to UNM’s Klauer Campus.
In Springer, the crew built park infrastructure by installing features such as slides, swings, and picnic shelters, and our Raton crew worked in Climax Canyon towards developing a city-owned hiking trail on the outskirts of town. This crew, too, was thwarted by ongoing forest fires and was even moved off project for a portion of the summer when the fire threatened to burn Climax Canyon.
On August 11, 2011 RMYC hosted the single largest graduation ceremony in the history of the organization. In addition to our summer crews, we recognized the service of three six-month crews. All in all we celebrated as 78 Corpsmembers received their Americorps Certificates of Completion and walked off with more than $115,000 in Education Awards.