SCA accepts applications on a rolling basis however we can only guarantee a review of your application if it is completed by the deadline. Our regular application deadline is March 1st. We do suggest that candidates look at our timeline to best know when we are reviewing and selecting, in order to have the best experience.
No, just ample supplies of enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a commitment to give it everything you've got. Keep in mind that a particular comfort level such as sleeping in a tent, interacting with wildlife, or making do without regular hot showers will likely result in an enhanced SCA experience.
Crew members must be between 15 and 19 years old. 14 year olds may apply as long as they will be 15 at the start of the crew. Candidates also need to be a current high school student when applying.
Backcountry crews conduct work in remote locations a mile or more from a road where the campsites are located in the woods. Frontcountry crews hike in from a campsite that is located in a more settled location such as a park campground. Both types of crews live in tents.
SCA places young people in national parks, forests, cultural sites and urban green spaces nationwide. Many positions are based deep in the backcountry, but most are closer to population centers. The common thread among our sites is that they are all places in need of our conservation efforts!
Serving in SCA is tuition-free. Participants pay only a $25 application fee to SCA, thanks to a combination of fee agreements with partner agencies and the philanthropic generosity of foundations, corporations and individuals around the world. Travel costs are the responsibility of the participant.
SCA does accept international applicants into our programs. As an international applicant you will be need to be aware of the following:
If you are Canadian - there is a special crew available to you called the Canada-US crew. It is the only crew to work in both the U.S. and Canada. It is made up of 4 Canadian students, 4 U.S. students and one leader from each country. To express your interest in this crew, complete a National Crew application, and then add to the question "Why would you like to serve with the SCA" that you are interested in the Canada/US crew.
To apply for the National Conservation Crew Program candidates are required to complete the online application, and have at least one reference form completed and attached.
To start an application, visit SCA's online management system, MySCA. You'll need to create a new account and follow the easy, step-by-step instructions. You can also watch a tutorial on how to use the new MySCA system.
There is a one-time application fee of $25 ($40 for non-US citizens). A single payment allows you to apply for an unlimited number of positions. You may pay by credit card online or send a check or money order to: SCA Center for Conservation Service, PO Box 550, NH 03603. If you have any questions, please contact Admissions staff at 603.543.1700 ext. 1499.
Log into your online profile, and under "Applications" you will see a list of other programs you are eligible for. Click on the appropriate application, and follow the prompts.
First login to your online profile. To update your basic online profile, click on "My Profile" at the top of the page, and make any changes there. To update your application(s), click on the "Applications" tab and then click update on your appropriate application.
Once you are logged into your online profile, click on the "Applications" tab and then "Update" next to the application you would like to update the availability dates on. The first page you come to will include availability dates. Be sure to hit save before leaving that page.
Candidates can update their email address through their online profile. Login and click on "My Profile". You will be able to update your email on the first page. Please note that even though you update your email, your username will remain as the original email you signed up with. Be sure to click on "Save" before leaving the page.
We have three tracks when our crews go into the field. The majority of our crews are 21 and 30 days in length, but we also have some that are 15 or 35 days long. Crews generally start in June and July. See the Overview page for a list of our current track dates.
There are between 6-8 members per crew who are similar in age but diverse in experience and backgrounds. Crews generally have two crew leaders and the members on the crew are an even mix of boys and girls.
SCA takes great care in selecting its crew members. Each candidate is evaluated individually based on the materials they provide. Please understand that this is a competitive process and that there is no guarantee of being selected. For more details on how you can improve your chances of being chosen, please see our How to Apply page. Once your application is completed, we will review all of your information. There are several different criteria that are considered for placement. Following is a list of criteria we look for in an applicant, in order of importance:
These criteria reflect the care we take to ensure that all members receive a placement they are well suited for. We begin notifying candidates of their placement in early spring. Once an acceptance is received, SCA will send Selection information, which includes the Participant Agreement, and other relevant Selection forms. These must be completed before the member enters the field.
If you decline our placement, your application goes back into the general applicant pool. We cannot guarantee that you will receive another placement. Remember that each site offers an amazing opportunity for conservation service and every crew is in need of highly qualified members.
Only applicants who have received a waitlist invitation via email are eligible for the waitlist.
Crew members on the waitlist are not rank ordered. If space on a crew becomes available, a decision will be made at that time. Ex. if a 15 year old female drops from a backcountry program, we will find a 15 year old female suitable for the backcountry from the waitlist.
You are responsible for travel costs as well as for providing your personal equipment such as backpacks, a sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad. We suggest that you try to borrow these from a family member or friend rather than buy each item. SCA has some equipment that it can lend and your selection information will give you information about how to borrow something from SCA. SCA will supply group gear like tents, cooking supplies, cook stove and fuel.
We have a generic list of equipment here. Please do not buy all that is on it until you talk with your crew leader about your specific crew. Your leader or our staff in the office can give ideas of what to bring for your specific location.
We recommend that you bring about $80 for souvenirs and other small purchases during travel days and recreational/education days. SCA will provide all necessary food.
A financial aid form will be included in your selection information. You should submit this completed form to SCA and, if you qualify, we will reimburse you for your travel expense. Please note that the financial aid pool is limited, and we may not be able to grant the full amount requested. The maximum award is $400.
All of our leaders are caring and dedicated outdoor professionals who have experience conducting youth programs and outdoor activities. They come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are attending graduate school while others are school teachers or year-round outdoor leaders. They are all 21 years of age or older and hold current wilderness medicine certifications. Crew leaders have primary responsibility for conducting all aspects of the National Crew program, including meeting you at the airport, shopping for food, setting-up camp, and conducting the program to ensure the emotional and physical wellbeing of all crew members.
We do not place friends on the same crew together. We do this because we feel that an important part of the SCA experience is about getting out on your own and meeting new people.
Absolutely! The SCA experience is about doing something totally new and different. Therefore, we encourage applicants to try to go to a location that is outside of where they live. We do, however, also want people to serve in their local areas as well if they are interested in being closer to home.
Crew members sleep in tents on both front and backcountry programs. Tent occupancy is divided by gender. Crew leaders have separate tents within the camp. There are also a few crews that stay in bunkhouses.
There is free time at the end of the day, both before/after dinner. Some evening activities may include swimming, hacky sack or a card game. Each crew will also have some days off and the crew will decide as a team what they will do on their time off. These days are usually used to explore the area or learn something about the environment of the region.
Crew members usually get up around 6-6:30 AM and take turns preparing breakfast and cleaning up the kitchen and camp site. Everyone then packs a lunch and heads off to the project site. Crews work approximately eight hours -- taking time out for lunch and breaks. At the end of the day the crew members head back to camp and again take turns preparing dinner and cleaning up. Most evenings are unstructured, with time for reading, writing letters, telling stories or playing games.
The water supply used for cooking and drinking is purified by using iodine, boiling, or a water filter. Front country crews often have drinkable water on site.
Yes. Some backcountry crews do not get mail on a regular basis so be sure to check with the crew leader to see if care packages will be delivered to you. If your parents do send a care package of goodies, they should send enough so that you can share with the entire group.
If prearranged with the crew leaders, parents can visit the group. However, there are no overnight visits.
Rec trips at the end of the program are all different. Some crew leaders have a plan in mind before the crew members arrive; others wait until they have a chance to observe their members skills or discuss the options with them. The trips range from backpacking for three or four days in the nearby area, to day trips around the area they have been working in, to a canoe trip on a nearby river.
You and your parents will schedule and pay for your transportation. You should use whatever method is the most feasible, in most cases this will be a flight that is scheduled to arrive by the time specified on your placement email. Your crew leader will meet you at the airport and provide transportation to the camp site. We recommend that members travel with a cell phone so that they can use it to contact their leaders and parents if their flight is delayed.
It is important that you travel to the airport specified on your placement email and not a larger or cheaper airport. Wear your SCA t-shirt, which will be mailed to you before you need to leave for the crew, so that you can be easily identified by the crew leaders. Your crew leaders will inform you and other members of your crew of travel day details before you leave home.
We do not allow cell phones on crew members while they are on project time. Crew leaders carry radios and/or cell phone for emergency use. Members are encouraged to travel with a cell phone but are then required to hand them over to the leader for safe keeping. Occasionally members can call home during recreation days if there is cell service.
The National Park Service and other partners require SCA to raise funds from the public to match the grants they make to us for the cost of our volunteer programs. Generally, they pay 80 percent of the costs to us and we have to raise the other 20 percent. That funding comes from people like you, foundations, clubs, and corporations.