Frequently Asked Questions

Hiring Process


After being Hired


Getting to Eugene


The Fundamentals - Boots, Paychecks, Bills, Internet, Laundry, Showers, and Food


Staff Training


Staff Days Off


Programs


Work


Youth


Field Staff Posititons


Woods Bosses and Program Coordinators


Hiring Process back to top

Q) What kind of training or experience is required to be eligible for hire?
A) Our staff come to us with varying degrees of prior training and experience. We will provide staff training before the program starts.  Please see the qualifications on our webpage for a more comprehensive list of eligibility requirements:  http://www.nwyouthcorps.org/fieldstaff.html.

Q) I have lots of experience with youth but not much experience doing trail work, should I apply?
A) Yes, you should apply.  During our staff training you will gain trail work experience and we will teach you about the tools you'll be using and different projects you'll be working on.  Throughout the session, you will have a Woods Boss or PC who will help you out on more difficult projects and continue teaching you things you need to learn.  There will also be other staff with outdoor and trail experience who can help you out.  Your experience with youth will be a great asset.

Q) I have lots of experience doing trail work but not much experience with youth, should I apply?
A) Yes, you should apply.  During staff training we will discuss different ways of working with and motivating youth.  Other staff will come with experience working with youth and will give you tips and ideas for dealing with youth.  Once the program begins, you will constantly be learning more from your interactions with the youth.  Your PC or Woods Boss will also be visiting your crew, and will see everyone most weekends and can help you deal with behavior problems and other issues that may arise.

Q) Is there a deadline for hiring field staff?
A) We operate on a rolling application process; we accept applications until all positions are filled.  Even after programs start, we may still be accepting applications if we have positions to fill.  Of course, we hire on a first come, first serve basis, so the earlier you apply, the better the chances of being hired and of getting the dates that work best for you if you have conflicts with certain dates.

Q) Do you do phone interviews for field staff positions?
A) Yes, we do phone interviews for field staff positions.  Many of our staff come from all over the country, and we don't expect anyone to fly out here for an interview.  If you live nearby however, we do ask that you come into our NYC Headquarters in Eugene for an interview.

Q) What kind of references do you prefer?
A) We prefer professional references.  Past or present supervisors, employers, college professors or advisors are all great references.  We're looking for someone who knows you in a working or otherwise professional environment.  Your reference should be able to speak to your leadership skills, organization, dependability, and overall work performance.

After being Hired back to top

Q) If I am hired, what happens next?
A) If you are hired, we will send you a hire letter by email and a hard copy by postal mail.  We will also email you a link to our staff website.  On this website, you will find more detailed information about the program, such as gear lists, the NYC Staff Guide and Leadership Manual, Wilderness First Aid and CPR course information, and other useful information about Eugene and NYC.  Also on this website is all of the required paperwork that you will need to send in before you start working here.

Once you've been hired, print out the required paperwork, fill it out, and mail it to Northwest Youth Corps.  Next, familiarize yourself with the Staff Guide and Leadership Manual.  Then get packed and ready to go for staff training!

Q) I am not available for the entire session.  Would I be able to arrive late, leave early, or leave for a weekend in the middle of the session?
A) We ask that field staff commit to the entire session, from the beginning to the end.  Other field staff and the youth all depend on each other for the entire session.  It is hard on other leaders if one person leaves early or comes late.  Not to mention, it is also hard on the youth, and disrupts the community that has been built over the weeks in the woods.  It is very difficult logistically to get someone into the field late or out early, since we work in such remote locations.  Leaving for a weekend in the middle of the session, for a wedding or family reunion, is usually impossible.   Airports are never close, and getting someone out of the field requires a lot of time to be taken away from a tight schedule for the crew and for the Woods Boss or PC.

If you aren't able to work the entire session, you should still apply, though.  Each of our programs has a different schedule and we may be able to find one that works with your schedule.  We also may be able to work with you to a limited degree.  Of course, we prefer staff who are able to commit to the entire session, and we may ask that you give up that wedding in the middle of the session, or instead offer the position to someone who will commit to the entire summer.

Getting to Eugene back to top

Q) Does everything start and end in Eugene?
A) Yes.  All field staff will meet in Eugene at NYC headquarters prior to the session for staff training.
From NYC Headquarters, we will provide transportation for staff and crews during the session.  When the session ends, you'll be taken back to Eugene, and responsible for your travel from this point forward.

Q) Does NYC pay for my travel expenses to and from Eugene?
A) No, NYC does not pay your travel expenses to and from Eugene.  You are responsible for getting yourself to NYC Headquarters in Eugene at the designated time on the designated day your program starts.  Don't be late!

Q) Can I leave my car at NYC headquarters during the session?
A) Yes, you can leave your car parked at NYC headquarters.  However, we recommend that you find alternate transportation, or leave your car at a friend's house instead of at NYC.  In the past, we have had trouble with theft.  If you decide to leave your car at NYC, you will need to leave a key with NYC so we can move your car if necessary.  We recommend that you leave a spare key, and keep your original key with you.

There are also some secure local storage options where you can leave your car for a fee.  The following link has more information about car storage options: http://www.nwyouthcorps.org/pdf/Parking_Options.pdf

*NYC is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged property left at NYC headquarters.

Q) How can I get from the airport to NYC?  Can someone pick me up at the airport?
A) NYC does not typically pick staff up from the airport.  If you are flying into the Eugene airport, you can take a taxi, or the OMNI Shuttle, which costs around $20 to get to downtown.  If you are flying into Portland, there are a few more options.  You can take the Greyhound Bus or the train to Eugene.  Both of these will drop you off in downtown Eugene.  From downtown, you can take the #27 bus from the bus terminal to the NYC Headquarters.

Q) Do you have somewhere I can store things I don't need in the field?
A) Yes, you can store a duffel bag of personal belongings at the NYC headquarters.  We have limited space, so we ask that you limit the amount of belongings you store with us.  Your belongings will be stored in a large, locked, gear closet specific to your program.

*NYC is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged property left at NYC headquarters.


The Fundamentals - Paychecks, Bills, Internet, Laundry, Showers, and Boots back to top

Q) It looks like the work boots are important; what kind of boots do I need?  Where I should buy them?
A) Yes, the boots are important.  NYC requires that your boots measure seven inches from the top of the heel to the top of the boot.  Boots must also be all leather, with good traction.  Please refer to the following link for more details:  http://www.nwyouthcorps.org/pdf/Boot_Specifications_2006.pdf

There are many places where you can find boots.  Locally in Oregon, employees of NYC receive a 20% discount at any Coastal Farm Supply store.  To receive the discount, bring in a recent pay stub or your hire letter to the store.  Retail stores such as Joe's, K-Mart, Sears, as well as ranch and farm supply stores and specialty boot stores typically carry appropriate boots.  You can also check into specific brands to see where they are sold.  More expensive, higher end boots are Whites and Danners.  Red Wings and Nick's are quality mid-range boots.  Caterpillar, Georgia, and Wolverine are cheaper brands that carry adequate boots.

Q) How often do I get my paycheck?
A) You will get paid once a month.  Paychecks are issued on the last day of the month, and you will receive your paycheck from your PC or Woods Boss on the weekend after the last day of the month.  If you have direct deposit, your paycheck will be put into your account on the last day of the month, and you will receive your pay stub from your PC or Woods Boss on the next weekend.

Q) How do I pay my bills?
A) There are many different options for paying your bills.  First, you probably won't have as many bills as usual, such as rent and utilities, and possibly that credit card you pay off every month but won't have a chance to use in the woods.

For those bills you still have to pay, you can have your mail forwarded to the NYC headquarters, and your Woods Boss or PC will bring your bills out with your mail on the weekend.  This is not the most reliable method at times though, since you may be on a two week project and not see your Woods Boss or PC that weekend.  Also, if mail doesn't arrive by Friday morning before we leave the office, you won't receive your mail until the next week.  It could be up to three weeks before you receive a bill, depending on timing.  If you do have your mail sent to NYC, just be sure to change it back after the field season.

You will also only be in the field for 4-6 weeks at a time.  If you time it right, and possibly pay some bills ahead of time, you can take care of your bills before, after, and between sessions.  Another option is to use bill pay online.  You can have many of your bills paid automatically online.  You could also have a trusted relative or friend pay your bills for you.

Q) Will I have Internet access? Can I bring my laptop computer?
A) You will not have internet access while you are out in the field.  On your day off, if you are in a town with public internet access, you may be able to use the internet.  However, this is not a guarantee.  Before and after the session, while you are in Eugene, you'll be able to access the internet at the Eugene Public Library or at the University of Oregon Library.

We do not recommend that you bring your laptop computer out into the field.  You will have very few chances to use it, and even fewer chances to use it to get on the internet.  It is highly likely that a laptop could get stolen, lost, or damaged due to the nature of the circumstances and the travel.  It is possible to bring a computer and store it at NYC Headquarters, although this is not recommended.

*NYC is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged property left at NYC headquarters.


Q) Will I be able to shower and do my laundry?
A) The crews and staff have a chance to do laundry and take showers most Fridays.  As a crew leader, you will be responsible for making time for showers and laundry on Fridays, which tend to be fairly hectic since it is also a travel day.  Your PC or Woods Boss will most likely have suggestions for you as to places to shower and do laundry but you can also ask around locally.

If you are on a two week backcountry project, you won't have access to showers and laundry until after the two weeks.  You may also have to skip showers and laundry if you are running too far behind schedule or if something comes up.  If this is the case, we try to get you and the crew to a shower and laundry on Sunday when you drive to your next project.

Q) What kind of food do you eat when out in the field? How do you handle food restrictions?
A) We have two different types of food.  The first is for front country, where we have a large, two-burner propane stove and can have heavier food since we don't have to pack it in (canned foods, turkey, fresh fruit and vegetables).  The other type of food is for back country, when we only have small 1 burner white gas stoves such as the MSR Whisperlite, and Coleman Peak One, and we must hike our food many miles in addition to all of our gear.  Backcountry food tends to be lighter, often dehydrated food.

For both font country and back country food, we offer a well-balanced diet of protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables, and vegetarian options.  We provide a solid breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as food for a morning and afternoon break, plus additional snack foods.  A 12-person crew digging trail all week can put down a lot of food!

Because of the limitations of working in the woods, supplying food for hundreds of people at a time, and cost restrictions, we are unable to cater to people with dietary restrictions.  If you are vegetarian, you will easily find a filling and satisfactory meal.  We do provide protein substitutes for meat such as tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, and lots of vegetables.

However, beyond that, you'll have to be flexible and get creative!  Sometimes it even means bringing your own food supplement, depending on your needs.  And while we don't cater to special needs, we have had people work for us with dietary restrictions including people who are vegan, lactose intolerant, and with peanut allergies.

Staff Training back to top

Q) I am not able to be there for the entire staff training; will that be a problem?
A) It is not ideal to miss staff training, and we highly encourage every staff member to be at staff training for multiple reasons.  Staff training is an intensive time in which we spend the days working and learning project skills that will help you enormously throughout the session.  You'll also learn the daily routine of NYC and how to use the gear.  Every evening is spent discussing leadership skills, working with youth, dealing with behavioral issues, what to do in an emergency, and managing everything that is required of you during the session.

Regardless of your experience with youth and with conservation work, it is important that you are at the NYC staff training.  To drive NYC rigs or to use a chainsaw while working with NYC, you must be certified by NYC.  This happens during staff training.  But most importantly, staff training is a time for you to understand NYC protocol and our expectations for staff.  In order for NYC to run consistent and successful programs, it is vital that all staff attend staff training.

Missing all or even part of staff training is not desirable, for you or for NYC.  However, even if you won't be able to make the entire staff training, still apply.  Each of our programs has a different schedule and we may be able to find one that works with your schedule.  We also may be able to work with you to a limited degree.  Of course, we prefer staff who are able to commit to the entire staff training, and we may ask that you give up that wedding, or instead offer the position to someone who is available for training.

Q) Do I get paid for staff training?
A) Yes, after completing staff training, you will receive a $250 stipend.  NYC also provides travel from the Eugene headquarters to the staff training location, provides cooking supplies and tools, and provides food during the course of the training.  In addition, you will gain valuable training on trail and of course working with youth.

Staff Days Off back to top

Q) How do the days off work?
A) Staff generally take 24 hours off every 2 weeks.  Typically, staff on their day off will leave the crews on Saturday morning, and return on Sunday morning.  Depending on where you are on the weekend, your day off may be in very remote location.  If you are backcountry for two weeks, you'll hike a ways away from the crew and have a day off alone in the woods.  If you are front country with the other crews, you and the other day-off staff will be taken into a nearby town if there is one, and you can camp there, or get a motel together, and then you will be picked up the next day.

Most of the towns we camp by are pretty small, without a lot of amenities.  Some have internet access, but others do not.  If there isn't a town nearby, you and your fellow staff may have to camp out a ways away from the crews and take your time off in this way.  We try to get staff some time off in a town; however, in the many remote areas of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, this is not always possible.  You will find though, that there are advantages to both staying in a town and being out in the woods by yourself.

Q) Do I get paid on my days off?
A) No, days off are unpaid.

Q) How long will I be out in the field?
A) You'll be out in the field for 4-6 weeks at a time (what we call a session) depending on your program.  TNT is a shorter program and the session only lasts for 4 weeks, while the 16-19 year old programs vary from 5 to 6 weeks.  All programs include a 10-day staff training prior to the start of the first session.  If you are hired on for Spring or for Fall, you will only work one session.  If you are hired on for a summer program, you will work two sessions.  There will be a 4-5 day break between sessions.

Q) What happens between the summer sessions?  Where do I go?
A) Between the summer sessions, you will have 4-5 days off, depending on your program.  All programs end on a Saturday or Sunday, and your time off will begin sometime in the evening of Saturday or Sunday.  All staff are required to be back at NYC Headquarters by 8 am on Thursday or on Friday, depending on the program.  Your PC or Woods Boss will let you know when you need to be back at NYC once you've been assigned to a program.

During the time off, you will need to find a place to stay.  You will not be able to stay at NYC Headquarters.  Many staff stay with friends or family either locally in Eugene, or travel to visit friends and family during the 4-5 days off between sessions.  Others will go in on a motel together or stay in a hostel.  Most staff don't have any trouble finding lodging, especially after getting to know other staff out here.

Programs back to top

Q) Why are some programs longer then others?  What's the difference between these programs?
A) The Teens and Trails Program (TNT), is shorter then other programs because the youth are younger (ages 14-15).  The programs for 16-19 yr olds are typically 5-weeks long.  However, as another option for corps members, we do have two programs that are 6-weeks long.  The only difference between these two programs is the length of time.

Q) What does a typical week look like?
A) The typical week begins on Sunday.  After packing up the gear and tying down the trailer, the crew heads out to their project location.  They set up camp, have dinner, and then spend an hour of educational time (SEED) observing and writing, then discussing their experience.  If there's some extra time, the crew might listen to one member's personal history, or life story.  Sometimes the crew leader will meet with the contact on Sunday to go over the project.  If not, then on Monday the contact will meet with the crew leader.

Monday through Thursday is pretty similar.  The crew gets up, has breakfast then has their 15 minute safety circle where they stretch and talk about safety concerns.  Then they hike down the trail to their project, and work.  Work days are typically eight hours, although this may vary depending on the circumstances.  After work, the crew comes back to camp, and then starts chores, such as cleaning camp, making dinner, making lunch for the next day, and cleaning and maintaining tools.  Then there is another hour long SEED.  If time allows, the crew may have some “Big Fun,” a fun activity like tag or team building activities.  Then they might share stories around a campfire.  After all that, it's time for bed.  Crews are required to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.

Fridays are a bit different.  Crews typically only work a half day, then pack up and head to the nearest town for laundry and showers.  Once these tasks are completed, the crew travels to the weekend site, an area where they'll meet up with up to three other crews for weekend activities.  A whole lot goes into a Friday, and they can be a bit crazy at times, but also a lot of fun.  This is the day when the entire staff can get together for the first time after a long hard week, talk about how their crew's doing, and provide support for one another.  Friday night is also when the Woods Boss or PC will meet with all the staff and go over important business and where everyone will be working the next week.

On Saturday, all 40 or so (four crews) of the crewmembers have breakfast and complete camp chores.  Half the staff take a day off, either in the nearest town or camping nearby.  The other half of the staff is on for the weekend, and each staff member will take 10 youth on a recreation trip.  We try to give the youth a relaxing day, while at the same time exposing them to the local environment.  This could mean going to a local museum, checking out nearby waterfalls, hiking up to a look-out tower, or enjoying a lake.

Saturday night, after the recreation trips, one crew cooks dinner for everyone else, and then we have Saturday Circle.  During this time, there is an activity of some kind, like a skit about the week, or a relay race.  Then the Woods Boss or PC talks about the week, everyone shares stories from the week and the Woods Boss poses a question.  Everyone in the circle as a chance to answer the question and has a turn to speak around the circle.

Sunday morning, staff on their day off come back to camp, and everyone packs up camp, loads into the rigs, and travels to their new project site.

Q) How do we get food, mail, and tools if we don't come back to Eugene during the session?
A) A Program Coordinator will bring out your food and tool resupply in addition to your mail every weekend, or every two weeks if you are on a long backcountry project.  Mail can be sent to the NYC headquarters.  To expedite the process, be sure to have the sender put your program on the mailing label.

Work back to top

Q) What types of projects do the crews work on?
A) We work on a wide variety of projects, the majority of projects being trail maintenance, and also including drainage structures and retaining walls, slash piling, noxious weed removal, and pruning.  Other projects include vexar, stream restoration, fencing, bridges, trail structures, ORV trails, campground development, and habitat restoration.

Q) How long is the work week?
A) The work week is 32-40 hours of project work depending on the age group and the project.  The Teens and Trails Program (TNT) crews typically work shorter days.

As staff, in addition to the hours on the work project, you will also essentially be working all day, every day.  Of course, you'll have time to sleep, and if you manage your time well can easily get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  But should an emergency come up in the night, you are on call.

Youth back to top

Q) How big are the crews?
A) Youth crews consist of 9 -11 youth and two or three staff members.  The Leadership Development Program consists of 10-12 adult crew members and one crew leader.

Q) Is NYC a program for troubled youth, therapy program, or behavioral modification program?
A) No.  While we do accept folks who have involvement with the criminal justice system, we do not recruit specifically for these youth.  Furthermore, any youth who has been involved in the criminal justice system must be approved by the office based on the length of time since the incident and the progress they have made since then.

We are also not a therapy program or behavioral modification program.  While many youth who come out here have incredible experiences, it is not the job of field staff to counsel or provide therapy for the youth who work for us.

Q) Do the youth earn a wage or do they volunteer?
A) Every youth is paid for the work they do in the form of a tax-free stipend.  A huge part of the program is becoming responsible while working and living with others, as well as developing a work ethic.  Part of having a job is earning a paycheck, and at the end of the program, taking responsibility for those earnings.

Field Staff Positions back to top

Q) What's the difference between an ACL and Rover?
A) There is no difference between an ACL and Rover.  These are two different terms we use to refer to the same position.  ACL stands for Assistant Crew Leader.  We use the term Rover because the ACL/Rover “roves” or switches crews each week.  These two terms are used interchangeably, although in the field we tend to use the term Rover more then ACL; it's more fun to say!

Q) Does the Assistant Crew Leader stay with the same crew for the entire session?
A) No. Typically, the ACL, or Rover, switches crews each week.  There are usually 4 crews on each program, or side, and we try to have every ACL work with every crew.  Of course, this doesn't always happen; sometimes an ACL will be with a crew for 2 weeks in a row because the crew is backcountry.  Also, ACLs who work with the Backcountry Leadership Program are with one crew for the entire session.

Q) Will I ever see any other staff while I'm out in the field with my crew?
A) Yes.  Usually, we have two crew leaders with every crew, so you will typically have another staff member with you most of the time.  You will also see your Woods Boss or PC during the work week, although they don't come out to every crew every week.  In addition, on the weekends, all four crews on a side get together at a central location, and you will see all of the staff at that time.

Q) What is the average age of field staff?
A) The age of Northwest Youth Corps field staff ranges from 21 up through age 30 on average.  We have had staff older then 30 out in the field, as well as 20 year olds.  We do not hire anyone under the age of 20 for field staff, since the youth we work with are ages 16-19.

Woods Bosses and Program Coordinators back to top

Q) What's a Woods Boss and what do they do?
A) Woods Bosses supervise the staff and the crews. They lead the staff training for their program.  During the session, they work with a different crew each day and oversee weekend activities.  They also provide staff support and act as a parent-staff liaison.  The Woods Boss position is a seasonal job, and is typically someone who has worked for NYC in the past as a crew leader.

Q) What is a PC?
A) A PC is similar in some ways to a Woods Boss, and in fact is often mistaken for one.  PCs are out in the field during the session, supervising staff and crews.  They lead the staff training for their program.  During the session, they work with a different crew each day and oversee weekend activities.  They also provide staff support and act as a parent-staff liaison.

The PC position, however, is a year-round job.  In addition to all of the work the PC does in the field, he or she spends the off-season at the Eugene Headquarters, setting up projects for the summer, contacting project sponsors, hiring staff, organizing his or her programs, writing specs, and improving the program during the winter months.

Q) How often is the Woods Boss or PC in the field and in the office?
A) Woods Bosses are in the office less then a PC.  The Woods Boss goes to the office on Friday and spends Friday morning loading his or her resupply food and tools, picking up mail, and taking care of office business.  The Woods Boss leaves early afternoon on Friday for the weekend site, and is in the field until coming back to the office on the next Friday.

Because the PC sets up projects, writes specs, and organizes the program, the PC spends all day Thursday in the office getting everything ready for the next week.  Then on Friday, he or she loads resupply food and tools, and does everything else a Woods Boss does.  The PC leaves Friday afternoon, and is then out in the field until the next Thursday.

While both the PC and Woods Boss spend time in the office, they don't typically go back to the office once they've left until the next week.  This means if staff need something from the field, they need to ask for it on Fridays when they call the office to check in.

Q) How often will I see my Woods Boss or PC?
A) You will spend all of staff training with your Woods Boss or PC.  During the session, your Woods Boss or PC will spend about one day with each crew during the week.  Woods Bosses will have an extra day in the field, and will be able to see more crews.  PCs, on the other hand, have to be in the office and won't see every crew every week.  Your Woods Boss or PC will spend the day working with you and your crew, and spend some time with you back at camp.

Woods Bosses and PCs are at nearly every weekend site.  You'll see them then, unless you are on a two week backcountry.  The Woods Boss or PC will arrive on Friday night, and be at the weekend site until Sunday, and will be the last to leave.