Hildene Youth Corps

UPDATE, Hildene Youth Corps, 2021:

Ordinarily, we announce the schedule for our Hildene Youth Corps program in February. However, since much remains uncertain with the evolving pandemic, we have not yet made any decisions regarding our summer youth programming. We expect to be able to share our plans with you in March, with the same excitement and enthusiasm we’ve always had. It is our nature to be optimistic. In the meantime, let’s look forward together to better times and a renewed sense of well-being

With hope to be inviting 7th and 8th graders into the Hilden Youth Corps program in the 2021 summer season, please check back in March.

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Hildene Youth Corps is designed for eight highly-motivated young people who will be entering seventh and eighth grades in the fall of 2020. First and foremost, the program is intended to be fun. Under the surface, it is also designed to begin the process of allowing these young people to start the transition from childhood to a world in which they have responsibility to others. Our goal is to create a sense of ownership, accomplishment, and caring about the wider world. 

Those participating in the Hildene Youth Corps will, on one hand, be closely supervised. But they will also feel a sense of freedom and of being an insider – a little like being a member of the Hildene staff. We want those who participate to fondly remember this experience for the rest of their lives. The team will be led and mentored by two Hildene Youth Corps counselors.

Hildene Youth Corps hauling supports

This summer’s project will focus on our honey bee operation. We are moving our bee yard so our guests may observe and learn about the honey bee as a powerhouse pollinator.  The youth corps team will construct a rail fence around the bee yard to keep visitors at a safe distance while still enjoying the comings and goings of the bees. They will also build an apiary room for bee equipment in the Dene and experience what it is like to be a beekeeper.  During the course of the project, the team will learn about sustainability as it relates to the importance of providing habitat for pollinators. Nearly 85% of all flowering plants rely primarily on bees to reproduce.

Hildene Youth Corps securing planks

During the construction of these projects, the Youth Corps team will develop basic carpentry skills under the guidance of Hildene’s Building Superintendent, TJ Lillie. While mornings will focus on the honey bee operation, the afternoons will be spent learning about and exploring the ecology of Hildene, helping with chores at the goat dairy and Dene farm, researching nonprofit organizations, enjoying crafts and playing games.

Hildene Youth Corps, constructing bridge footers

The cost of this two-week program for each Youth Corps member is $300 for Hildene members and $350 for nonmembers. (Please see below if cost is an issue for you.) At the end of the program, those team members who have shown up every day and interacted well with their teammates, our guests and the Hildene staff, and have fully participated in the experience will be awarded $50 for their hard work to donate to a nonprofit. They will be able to choose from a list of nonprofit organizations committed to ecological conservation. They will have an opportunity to research these organizations to help base their decision. The goal is to deepen their understanding that organizations doing good work need financial support and to give them the satisfaction that comes from doing so.

Hildene Youth Corps, from one task to the next

The Hildene Youth Corps program will run from Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 17. Their days will be from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The last day will end with a celebration of the work they have accomplished. Families will be invited to come early that day to share in the celebration.

Although the first day is Monday, July 6, there will be an orientation for Youth Corps members and their parents on Sunday, July 5 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Hildene Youth Corps, at the overlook

Those interested in being a member of the Hildene Youth Corps must fill out the application attached to this description and submit it to Hildene by mail or by email to lisa@hildene.org. Acceptance is based on a first come first serve basis, in addition to calling teachers for references and a meeting with the candidate and his or her guardian(s) within two weeks of Hildene receiving their application. We need to know that the prospective Youth Corps member truly wants to be here, will be engaged and committed to the Youth Corps goals. Upon acceptance into the program, the slot will be assured when Hildene has received full payment. If you think your child would benefit from this program, but find the cost an obstacle, please call Brian Keefe, Hildene President, at 802-362-3996.  

Click here to download the 2020 Hildene Youth Corps Application Form.