For the past six years, DCNR has worked with the state Department of Labor and Industry and the Student Conservation Association to provide hands-on training opportunities that empower hundreds of young people across the state to provide for needs of families through the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.
DCNR highlighted the work of these programs, which follow in the footsteps of other programs like the Youth Conservation Corps and the Civilian Conservation Corps, in having a lasting impact on public lands through the six-week summer youth programs. ages 15-18 or a 10-month program for young adults ages 18-25.
Beyond being great ways to spend the summer or year doing meaningful and lasting work, the Pa. Outdoor Corps – especially young adult crew opportunities – has been a great gateway to a job with DCNR.
Paula Lewis Roman – Park Ranger 1 at Kings Gap EEC
Take Paula Lewis Roman for example. Paula left her home in Puerto Rico for Pennsylvania after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and forced her to think about her future career opportunities.
A talented actress and singer, Paula had wanted to enter the arts as a profession; However, her background changed in Harrisburg when she was looking for work in the Harrisburg area and the Latino Hispanic American Center connected her to the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps Young Adult Team Opportunity in 2018.
Paula worked with the Harrisburg Adult Crew that year and returned to the Outdoor Corps in 2019 and 2020 before accepting a position at King’s Gap Environmental Education Center as a semi-skilled laborer.
She has done this job so well, she has been encouraged to apply for a position of Park Ranger 1 at the center and has been serving the community in this role since July 2021.
Paula thanks Outdoor Corps for exposing her to the possibilities of working with DCNR and then teaching her useful skills that she could use to help in her career development.
“At first I didn’t understand that there were opportunities to learn and be a part of DCNR,” said Lewis Roman. She added that she can pursue her passion for the arts in her spare time, while helping to be an excellent steward of our environment for her daily work.
Interestingly, Paula says the Outdoor Corps helped her see the overlap between the physical work she was doing and her artistic talents.
She has learned to see the artistic vision of trail development and uses it to think of ways to expand the experiences of park visitors through creativity.
Paula hopes her creativity will help foster better relationships with diverse visitors and expand opportunities for those who may not be aware of the opportunities to work with DCNR.
Al Germann – Deputy Chief Digital Officer
Like Paula, Albert Germann, Deputy Digital Director of DCNR, shared a similar experience revealing opportunities through the Outdoor Corps.
Al was looking for change and wanted to quit working in retail. He remembers visiting DCNR websites for park maps and then seeing information about the Pa. Outdoor Corps.
Aside from his current role at DCNR, Al says his time with the Harrisburg team has been the best job he’s ever had.
He thrived in the culture of acceptance that sought to develop young people while learning skills, the importance of teamwork, conflict resolution, and more.
“They really prepared you to be successful in making connections and networking, as well as getting things done,” Germann said. “The Corps helped me realize that I can do these things at DCNR and make a difference. “
Al highlighted the opportunity of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to observe DCNR professionals during the mission.
He followed Aura Stauffer, a wildlife biologist in the department. Although he eventually took a different direction, Al says it was a good experience that helped him see what the job really involved.
“Try it out if you’re someone who needs to try something to find out if you like it,” Germann said. “You might end up really enjoying the experience.”
Jamie Klebanski – Fleet manager intern
Speaking of benefiting from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps experience, Jamie Klebanski explained that the Outdoor Corps was such a positive experience that she felt like crying at the impact of the program on her career.
Following his stint with the Uniontown team in 2019, Jamie worked for DCNR as an intern park manager for eight months before seizing an opportunity with the Allegheny National Forest.
“All of my professional experience is program-related,” Klebanski said, adding that the work is difficult and can be tedious, but it prepares the members of the Corps in a way that makes them outstanding candidates in the recreation fields. .
Jamie takes pride in his time with DCNR and has appointed Deputy Director of State Parks Jason Zimmerman as a mentor who has been helpful long after completing the Outdoor Corps program.
She said he gave her tips on how to interview, dress professionally and convey interest in the job in a way that matters.
Her current supervisor in the forestry department explained in 10 minutes why she wanted this job to distinguish her and helped her land the role she currently occupies.
Matt Pecora – Deputy Director of the Delaware Canal State Park
Current Delaware Canal State Park deputy director Matt Pecora recounted a similar love for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program.
Matt had worked with the Student Conservation Association in New York and Ohio before working for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.
In his final year with the Outdoor Corps, he was the Philadelphia Crew Project Manager. He was ready to work for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps for a third year; but applied to become a fleet manager intern.
Although he enjoyed building bridges, habitats, doing trail work, etc. With the Corps, Matt said the most valuable takeaways from the program were the soft skills he learned – which he uses a lot as deputy park superintendent.
Having spent time as a leader with the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, Matt says he stays in touch with his former crew members and helps them pay when they need referrals or a listening ear.
“This is a good opportunity for growth,” said Pecora. “They teach you healthy ways to work with your peers and help you develop a lot of good skills. “
All four alumni agreed that the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps is a wonderful avenue for self-discovery, learning professional skills, and building meaningful relationships.
Everyone thanked Mike Piaskowski, Director of the Outdoor Corps Program, for being genuinely interested in their professional development and staying in touch throughout the process.
Mike stays in touch with alumni, helps them with their resumes, shares opportunities, connects them with other recreation professionals, and is a resource for youth beyond their time in the Corps.
Since the start of the program, more than 20 Outdoor Corps alumni have accepted positions at DCNR.
Fall registrations open soon
Hiring for the 2022 10-month-old young adult teams will begin quickly in the fall. Keep an eye on the DCNR website for candidate announcements.
Follow DCNR on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates on the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.
For more information on State Parks, Forests, and Recreation in Pennsylvania, visit the DCNR website, click here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, visit the Good Natured DCNR blog, click here for events at come, click here to connect with DCNR on other social networks. media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
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– DCNR: announces the allocation of $ 602,306 in grants to volunteer firefighting societies to help fight forest fires [PaEN]
– Alliance for Chesapeake Bay: The Connecting Power of the Susquehanna River Stay By Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary of the DCNR [PaEN]
– Register now! South Mountain Partnership Fall Meeting September 17 – Bringing Climate Issues to the Local Level [PaEN]
[Posted: August 19, 2021]