Hildene Youth Corps

Summer 2023: Constructing a Gathering Place in the Dene
July 10 - 21, 2023

Hildene Youth Corps is designed for eight highly-motivated young people who will be entering seventh and eighth grades in the fall of 2023. 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 the 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 a Hildene Youth Corps counselor.

Hildene Youth Corps 2021, measuring for accuracy

In 2016 Hildene started its revitalization of the dene with the construction of an educational horticultural greenhouse. Behind the greenhouse are the dene gardens which are used for propagation, production and education. The 2023 youth corps team will complete a number of projects including building raised garden beds, picnic tables and benches, to make the area around the greenhouse more productive and inviting.

Hildene Youth Corps, 2021, filling holes

During the construction of this project, 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 project, the afternoons will be spent learning about and exploring Hildene, helping with chores at the goat dairy and animal barn, researching nonprofit organizations, enjoying crafts and playing games.

Hildene Youth Corps, 2021, securing cross rail

The cost of this two-week program for each youth corps member is $375 for Hildene members and $450 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 which they will then donate to a nonprofit of their choosing from a list of nonprofit organizations committed to ecological conservation. They will have an opportunity to research these organizations before making their decisions. The goal is to deepen their understanding that organizations doing good work need financial support and to provide the students with the satisfying experience of having given such support.

Hildene Youth Corps, 2021, learning more about the apiary

The Hildene Youth Corps program will run weekdays, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 21. The last day will end with a special gathering to recognize all they have accomplished. Families will be invited to come early that day to share in the celebration.

Although the official first day is Monday, July 10, there will be an orientation for youth corps members and their parents on Sunday, July 9 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Hildene Youth Corps, relaxing in front of their newly constructed apiary fence

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 Maggio, Youth Corps Coordinator, at lisa@hildene.org. Acceptance is based on a first-come, first-served basis, in addition to calling teachers for references, and a meeting with the candidate and their guardian(s). We need to know that the prospective youth corps member truly wants to be here and is 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 to be an obstacle, please contact Lisa by email or phone, 802-362-3996. For the safety of the team and Hildene staff, we ask that all participants show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.  

Click here to download the 2023 Hildene Youth Corps Application Form.