YMCA Receives Service-Learning Grant


  • Delle Foundation underwrites summer program for youth ages 11 to 17

Youth in the Y’s Earth Service Corps program visit the Romero Farm in Española. Courtesy/YMCA

The Family YMCA’s Earth Service Corps YESC program started in 2001 following the Cerro Grande fire with the goal of providing an opportunity for youth to assist in repairing trails.

The Delle Foundation is a Los Alamos-based foundation started by Helen and George Cowan.

Helen Cowan, who passed away in 2011, was an avid hiker and was a devotee of local trails.

Some issues of damage from last year’s Las Conchas Fire will be addressed this summer.    

YESC meets from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday from May 30 through Aug. 3.

Registration is currently open at the Y for the program and will close when spaces are filled.

The four pillars of the program are to empower youth to be effective, responsible global citizens by providing opportunities for environmental education and action, leadership development and cross cultural awareness.

During the summer youth learn first aid/CPR, tool safety, trail maintenance, games and numerous environmental concepts while providing hands-on service through trail repair and erosion prevention.

Participants will also learn organic gardening skills and will be engaging with the LA Youth Food Project garden site.

Other activities include camping, climbing and working with the Wildlife Center and animal shelters in Los Alamos and Espanola, as well as up-cycling and recycled art projects.

The Y partners with Craig Martin, Los Alamos County Trails Specialist, to identify and repair needed trail work in the county.

The Y charges a fee to train and supervise the youth.

Delle Foundation support will also support the cost of tools and instructional staff for the youth.   

“I am so appreciative of the Delle Foundation for making this program possible and for supporting our youth as they develop leadership skills and connections to our community and environment,” said Adventure Program Director Sylvan Argo, who oversees the YESC.

Since YESC began, 248 youth have participated.

Volunteering from 70 to 100 hours over the summer, they have contributed 17,897 hours of time toward remediation.

The value of this work toward the community, when given a near minimum wage value of $8/hour is $143,176.

YESC registration forms can be picked up at the Y or found online at www.laymca.org/yes.shtml.

For more information, call the Y at 662-3100.


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