Rachel* is 16 and a junior in high school. She heard about the Tree Trust Youth Conservation Corps from her mom and her school counselor, and thought that it sounded like a good opportunity. Through participating in the program she has learned about landscape construction and has developed leadership skills. Rachel stated that “I know that I can lead very well and help my crew leader out when she needs help.”
Her favorite part of the program is “rebuilding the site because I know that had an impact on the park to make it better…It’s important to me to know that people were affected by what I did.” Rachel has also enjoyed working in a team environment.
She hopes to get another part-time job during the school year. Rachel will be applying for colleges in the coming year, and also plans to take some Advanced Placement tests. Her current job and any part-time job she starts will help to pay for those applications and tests.
Rachel states that some of the things she learned from her experience with Tree Trust include “knowing what to expect, knowing that I have to follow someone’s directions…that I have to do my part as part of a team.” Rachel isn’t sure what she wants to do for her adult career, but she knows she wants to have a job that will make her happy so that she’ll enjoy waking up in the morning on work days, as she does for her Tree Trust job. About her position with Tree Trust, she says, “I actually like coming here, always something different, I’m always outside…I was never really an outdoors person, but now I actually like coming out here.”
The biggest difference that Tree Trust has made for Rachel is that now she is “actually embracing outside. At first I did not like being outside, but now I do.” She gestures at the project she is working on in Wesley Park and says. “This is amazing to look at. Coming outside and just having this around me has changed [me] because now I can go outside…and like it.”
* Names have been changed