Urban youths embrace nature thanks to wilderness jobs

The Daily Courier
Wednesday, March 7, 2012


BLM/Courtesy photo. Juan Sanchez, Aridai Pelayo and Daniel Flores build part
of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Courier

“It feels great because you can see what you’re accomplishing right away,” Sanchez said.

Like the others, Sanchez said it was his first time in the backcountry.

“I’ve been able to sleep better, and you can see the stars,” he said. “I’d tell all the youth to go for this.”

The Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Act channels money to the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County to recruit youth through the Arizona Call-A-Teen Youth Resources.

Before they start work, the youth learn some valuable skills such as wilderness first aid, GPS use, driving an off-highway vehicle, using a chainsaw and wildland firefighting.

“Our goal is to enhance management of Arizona’s public lands while exposing urban youth to exciting opportunities in federal careers and mentoring them through pathways to federal jobs and college programs - even earning college credits at no cost to them,” said Steve Cohn of the BLM.

A 55-year-old national non-profit group called the Student Conservation Association is helping the BLM with the program, including overseeing the work crews. … continue reading