by Maelynn Dickson, SCA Crew Leader
One morning in April, I accepted a job offer from the Student Conservation Association that undoubtedly changed my life and reshaped my career goals. This job would send me into the Alaskan wilderness during the summer to teach teens the importance of trail work and conservation.
Although accepting this summer job was a last-minute rushed decision, there was no way I was giving up pursuing the dream job I’ve always wanted — being outdoors and teaching people about preserving this planet.
To my surprise, this job not only accomplished those dreams … but so much more.
After successfully completing two weeks of incredible training, it was time to head out to Cordova, Alaska, and begin the project that my co-leader and I were responsible for. We were assigned a group of seven high school students from all over the lower 48 — Maryland, Pittsburgh, Vermont, Michigan, Minnesota and Seattle. As co-leaders, we were responsible for the students’ health, safety, happiness, and ability to learn about trail work and conservation. And let’s not forget, we were camping the entire time!
Most of the work we completed was aimed at preventing the death of salmon offspring and ensuring current trails were maintained; without maintained trails, visitors tend to go off trail, which ruins the surrounding ecosystems and habitats. To accomplish these tasks, our crew worked four 10-hour days each week — a schedule that was brutally tiring, but worth the three-day weekends.
On our off days, we spent the time hiking to four nearby glaciers, exploring the 2,200-person town of Cordova and, of course, getting cleaned up. In total, we all had the pleasure of showering and doing laundry four times within a month, something my California state-of-mind didn’t complain about.
I recommend 100 percent that other students follow their dreams and take a spontaneous move to explore what might be. I will never forget my experience, and I am hoping to return to Cordova next summer. The next adventure awaits.
Read more in the Orange County Register…