Parents Corner

A Message from SCA Recruiting

Welcome to SCA!  At SCA our goal is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and we can’t do it without your help.  We’re excited to see that you’re taking an active interest in your child’s professional development. 

On this page, we want to provide you with suggestions on how best to support your son/daughter during their SCA candidacy. We’ll also share some resources that you can peruse to learn more about SCA.

We look forward to working with your son or daughter.

Best Wishes,

SCA Recruiting Staff

My child has been selected to serve in an SCA position!  Now what?

Your child is about to embark on a life-changing experience, where they will have the opportunity to meet new friends, explore potential careers, gain leadership skills, and accomplish hands-on conservation work that will have a lasting impact on the planet. Visit our Benefits page to explore the many benefits – personal, professional, and global – of serving with SCA.

Like most professional experiences in life, every opportunity comes with a little paperwork.  Even though this is not employment, it’s national service, and we still need your son/daughter to complete several steps before they can begin their position. We’ve often found that students tend to drag their feet on completing their paperwork.  Encouraging your child to complete the enrollment process quickly will help to make the transition into their internship a smooth one.

Our paperwork is done entirely online.  So your son or daughter will need to check email and log into their application to get all of the necessary documents they’ll need to complete to serve in our program.

Here are some key steps in the enrollment process that your son/daughter will need to complete:

  • Background Check: Every SCA participant over age 18 is required to complete and pass a federal background check.  Sometimes this can take a week or two to process, so it’s important that your son or daughter fill out the consent form as soon as they accept a position in order to expedite the process. You can help support them by encouraging them to move on this quickly.
  • Proof of Identity:  Members are required to submit proof of identify for various participant forms. We know that often times parents hold on to important documents to ensure their safety.  So have those ready and available for your son or daughter in the event that they are accepted into the program.
  • Medical Forms: Some of our programs require members to complete medical history forms. As a parent you have a keen knowledge of your son/daughter’s medical history.  Serving as a resource to your son/daughter will help to expedite the process.
  • Gear Lists: For many of our internships, SCA or your son/daughter’s immediate supervisor will supply them with a list of equipment they will need to bring to their internship. In most cases, your son/daughter is going to be living away from their current environment for a period of weeks or months.  Preparing for an extended period of time in this manner can be daunting.  Your support during this time could make the difference between your son/daughter showing up for their position fully prepared, or you spending the summer shipping needed items from home.
  • Travel: Your son/daughter will receive specific travel details when they are accepted to a position.  We recommend they arrange their travel as soon as possible once selected.  They can contact us at any time if they encounter any challenges: 603-543-1700 ext. 1498.

Tips for Parents

Applying for an SCA position is an opportunity for your son or daughter to take the initiative to engage in the process.  Many of SCA’s programs require students to work independently and as part of a team, sometimes in remote locations. SCA and our partners want to be assured that your son or daughter can demonstrate they are responsible and are prepared to enter a conservation internship. The application process is the first step. 

  • Your son or daughter should be filling out their own application. Personal voice and enthusiasm is a critical factor used to match candidates with the best internship experience. However, sometimes students overlook punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure, and these factors are all-important to presenting a positive and professional image during their candidacy.  One way you can help your son/daughter increase their marketability is to offer to review their application and provide constructive feedback.
  • Resume Building:  While we don’t require a resume, we highly recommend it. Numerous resources are available for crafting a resume that best represents one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. Encourage your son or daughter to seek out career services professionals, explore online sites specializing in resume writing, or schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor if they are in school.
  • Selecting Opportunities:  We ask every candidate to select only those positions that he or she would be prepared to accept if offered, so it’s critical that the students choose positions they feel comfortable with.  Offer to act as a sounding board if your child needs to talk about opportunities, but let them make the ultimate decision on whether a position is something they want to pursue.
    • SCA is a competitive program and we recommend that your child be open to a variety of positions in order to increase their chances of selection. Well-known sites like Yosemite, Yellowstone, or the Grand Canyon will have very large applicant pools and will therefore be the most competitive. Sites that have less name recognition can still provide an amazing experience, but will often have a less-competitive applicant pool. Encourage your child to focus on the great experience they can receive with SCA, and to avoid becoming too focused on a particular location.
  • Interview Coaching:  Students seeking their first professional experience through an SCA position are often inexperienced in matters of professionalism. The majority of SCA’s interviews are conducted over the phone. It is not uncommon for students to rely upon conversation fillers (“Um,” “Ah,” “Like,” “You Know”) while trying to answer important questions. Offer to role play – act as the interviewer, and give your child some standard questions and offer feedback on ways to improve.     
  • Follow Up: Candidates who have the greatest success securing a position with SCA check their email regularly.  Some of our most critical communications to your son or daughter will take place via email, and the messages are time-sensitive.  Encourage your child to check their messages regularly (2-3 times/week minimum).  It could mean the difference between getting an internship and missing an opportunity.
  • Encourage Your Child to Be Proactive: 
    • Read the website FAQs.
    • Call SCA’s Recruiting team to get feedback on the application if needed.
    • Engage Recruiters on site every Friday to ask SCA questions in real time.
  • Act on Feedback:  At SCA, it’s our mission to develop the next generation of conservation leaders and we take that very seriously.  If your son/daughter acts on our feedback, it dramatically increases their likelihood of securing an internship.


Safety is our #1 priority for all of our programs.  SCA has developed standards and guidelines that promote a strong safety culture. We evaluate the safety of every SCA program before placing a member in his or her internship. SCA is proud of our safety record and risk management program.

Utilizing 55 years of experience, SCA has developed standards and guidelines that promote a strong safety culture.  SCA continually evaluates safety through hazard assessments, incident and “near-miss” analysis and integrates the lessons learned into our protocols, procedures and training. In addition to being time and event-tested, SCA’s risk management protocols and procedures are thoroughly reviewed (and revised, if necessary) annually by SCA’s Risk Management Team.

  • Training: Every internship at SCA involves training to prepare your son or daughter for their experience. Trainings vary depending on the areas of focus, and on environmental considerations (terrain, wildlife, remote locations, etc.).  In most cases, each position description indicates the specific trainings your son or daughter will receive.
  • Requirements: In each position, we indicate the specific skills your son or daughter will need to have in advance of their position to ensure his/her success.  In many cases the skills required are to ensure their safety in a position. 
  • Qualified Supervision: Whether your child will be directed by SCA crew leaders or supervised by one of our many site partners, we vet every position to ensure that each SCA member has highly qualified and responsible leaders to guide them through their experience.