Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Amy Shellman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Anderson Young, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Paul A. Schmidt


The purpose of this study was to examine the benefits that participants receive from serving in youth conservation corps. The entire population of one youth conservation corps was selected to participate in the study during the summer of 2012 trail work season. The study utilized a mixed-method approach that included a one-time pre/posttest with a retrospective pretest adapted from the American Camp Association’s Youth Outcomes Battery (YOB) and an open ended interview session. Of the 109 participants in the field at the time, 101 chose to participate in the quantitative survey. The YOB tested four areas: independence, responsibility, teamwork, and affinity for nature. Fifteen participants were interviewed in order to gain a more insightful view of what participants believe they attained from serving in a youth conservation corps. A MANOVA test determined that there was a statistically significant impact for the overall program in the areas of independence, responsibility, teamwork, and affinity for nature when tested at the .05 significance level. A two-way ANOVA was calculated to compare means between dependent and independent variables and revealed statistically significant interactions between age group and perceived independence, and crew length and perceived independence from pre to posttest. In-depth interviews revealed that participants felt a broader sense of community, experienced greater feelings of empowerment, and developed a variety of skills as a result of serving in a youth conservation corps. It was concluded that participants gained a variety of benefits from serving in a youth conservation corps ranging from increased self-confidence to a closer connectedness to nature.