Summer Jobs Program Kicks Off!
Yesterday marked the kickoff of one of our favorite programs here at SAY: the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps (SCYEC). This summer jobs program offers over 200 youth ages 16-24 the opportunity to gain work experience, environmental education, steady pay, and the chance to give back to their community through job placements at local non-profit agencies and ecological work at local parks and wildlife areas. Social Advocates for Youth is proud to be the lead of a consortium of youth agencies participating in the SCYEC, including the Center for Social and Environmental Stewardship, Petaluma People Services Center, Community Family Services Agency, in addition to Conservation Corps North Bay. Each agency is responsible for the hiring and supervision of the program’s youth participants, and this year SAY has hired 95 young people to work at sites like the Jack London State Historic Park, Prince Memorial Greenway in Santa Rosa, Laguna de Santa Rosa, the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter, and Lake Sonoma Fish Hatchery.
After a morning of clearing invasive plants at Spring Lake and Howarth Parks, the SCYEC crews, dressed in their iconic long sleeve gray shirts, gathered under a stand of beautiful oaks for a hearty lunch, teambuilding exercises, and some words of inspiration. Speakers included Sonoma County Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Susan Gorin, who shared a common message of thanks for the work these youth had agreed to do for their community, as well as an urging to use the experience as a springboard for future career pursuits. After some closing remarks, the group sprang up and bounded into a nearby clearing for a teambuilding puzzle game, their shouts and laughter ringing through the very spaces that would soon be their work sites. We wish them well on their exciting journey into environmental stewardship and beyond.