The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) provides youth, ages 15–18, with the opportunity to spend eight weeks living in the park, where they restore campgrounds, install bear-proof lockers, remove invasive plants and restore trails. It is one of only two programs of its type (the other is in Yellowstone), and participants are fully immersed in Yosemite’s natural settings, where they gain invaluable environmental and life skills. This experience marks the beginning of a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship and protecting natural places. To date, more than 2,050 youth have participated in this program; they have completed more than 400,000 project hours, providing more than $4 million in value to Yosemite.
YCC is enriching and fun, but it's not just a summer camp; enrollees do hard manual labor and complete projects the park needs. It is worthy of support, because through YCC, future rangers, firemen, trail workers and its other park staff are trained. It is not only an investment in Yosemite's present, but in its future.