Hildene Youth Corps

July 9 - 20, 2018

The Hildene Youth Corps is designed for highly-motivated young people who will be entering seventh or eighth grade in the fall of 2018. First and foremost, the program is designed to be fun. Under the surface, it is also designed to begin the process of these young people transitioning from childhood to a world in which they have responsibility to others and recognize the connection between work and reward. 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. They will take pride in their Hildene Youth Corps tee-shirts, develop an Esprit de Corps among themselves and have a great two weeks. We want those who participate to fondly remember this experience for the rest of their lives.

Youth Corps members will be involved in one key project in which they will be able to take great pride in completing and leaving as a legacy to Hildene. The underlying theme for the Youth Corps experience will be hands-on learning about the special environment in which the members will spend their two weeks. They will be constructing a boardwalk adjacent to a vernal pool on our property. This vernal pool is an integral component of our school program about these ephemeral wetlands. However, it is difficult to access. The construction of this boardwalk will allow school groups, as well as our guests, to have better access to this unique and fragile area while also protecting it from visitor foot traffic. During the course of the project, the Youth Corps team will learn about vernal pools and the animals that make their home there.


There will be eight members of the Hildene Youth Corps and two Hildene Youth Corps counselors, including returning counselor Piper Campbell. The Youth Corps team will work with Hildene's Building Superintendent TJ Lillie to construct the boardwalk. Before the start of each workday TJ will introduce a new building concept so the team learns about construction while they work.

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 that are committed to ecological conservation. They will have an opportunity to research these organizations in order to make an educated choice. 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.

All Youth Corps members will arrive each morning for a meeting with their leaders at 8:45 am and then head to the job site to work on the boardwalk. There will be a mid-morning break. At noon they will clean up the job site and have lunch. Their afternoons will be spent learning about and exploring the ecology of Hildene, helping with other projects, researching the nonprofit organizations, enjoying crafts and playing games. Rain day activities will be built in for days that the team is not able to be outdoors.

Youth Corps members will be expected to dress appropriately: sneakers, clean knee-length shorts, Hildene baseball cap, and one of the two Hildene Youth Corps tee-shirts each member will receive. Youth Corps members are representing Hildene and therefore must maintain an appropriate appearance.

The Hildene Youth Corps program will run from Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 20. The day will run from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm. 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 9, there will be an orientation for Youth Corps members and their parents on Sunday, July 8 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

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 March 23. Acceptance is based on a first come, first served basis, in addition to calling teachers for references and a meeting with the candidate and his or her parents/guardians. We need to know that the prospective Youth Corps member truly wants to be here and is engaged. If you think your child would benefit from this program, but find the cost an obstacle, please call Seth Bongartz, Hildene President at 802.362.3996.


Click here to download the 2018 Hildene Youth Corps Application Form.