In the early 19990s I won the job lottery. I became a part of the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) employed through the National Park Service. I learned how to use an auger, annihilate acacia, roll ice plant, and harvest native seeds. It was the best first job I could have imagined. It led me to get my dream job as a Park Ranger (for a different agency) just a few summers later. My career has taken me places I could have never imagined after that.
In the Youth Conservation Corps high school students submit an application and names are randomly drawn (typically 50% male and 50% female). Getting my first job was pure chance- a lottery. My first summer job started me on a career through 3 different federal agencies (and a couple of other side adventures). It has been a great ride that all started with that one application. I spent three more seasons with the YCC in the National Park Service before I became a Park Ranger.
I hope some other youth this summer take the advantage of this amazing program to jump-start their careers. The Youth Conservation Corps application season is open right now. If you know any youth aged 15-18 in the Bay Area of San Francisco, wanting to live in Yellowstone or Yosemite, or in any other area listed on this website http://www.nps.gov/gettinginvolved/youthprograms/parksycc.htm
Apply by April 15th 2014 (some have earlier deadlines… contacts are on the website) the application information is at: http://www.nps.gov/gettinginvolved/youthprograms/yccapply.htm
May this be the start of many new careers…. good luck in the most amazing lottery ever.