Youth Corps Camping

Youth Corps Camping programs combine education and job skill training with outdoor adventure for 16 to 18/19 year olds. With the guidance of experienced field staff, youth crew members work on conservation, reforestation, and recreation projects, while developing leadership skills and learning how to work as a team. Crews camp in the field for their entire 5-6 week session, traveling to a new project each week and recreating on the weekends. In addition to earning a $300/week stipend and high school credit, participants make new friends, learn new skills, explore the Northwest’s wildest places, challenge themselves, and have an awesome summer!

Session Information

Program Tuition:
Youth Corps Camping programs have tuition ranging from $50 to $225. Tuition assistance is available to help cover most of these costs. Tuition Assistance is awarded based on a families' size and monthly income and we are determined to not make tuition a barrier for our programs so please contact us with any questions. 

Program Stipend:
Youth Corps Camping participants earn an education stipend for their participation and can also earn bonuses.  Both the stipend and bonus is paid in the form of a check made out to the participant which they can use as they wish.  The base stipend is $300 a week which equals:

  • $1,500 for Five-week programs
  • $1,800 for Six-week programs

In addition to the base stipend, participants have the opportunity to earn up to $50 in bonuses a week (also part of the education stipend) for safety, dependability, and completing the program. Bonuses are paid upon completion of the program session.

  • Completion Bonus: $20/week for finishing the session
  • Dependability Bonus: $20/week for completing all the hours scheduled for your crew
  • Safety Bonus: $10/week for a perfect safety record at the end of the session

Food costs ($66.50/week) will be deducted from stipend.

Participants leaving the program before the graduation date will receive a prorated portion of this stipend, calculated to the nearest full day of work, but will forfeit all bonuses.

NYC participants are required to provide their own transportation to and from their orientation and graduation for their specific program. In the event that a participant chooses to leave prior to completion, is asked to leave or is unable to complete the program for any reason, they are still required to provide and fund their transportation home. In the event circumstances require NYC to provide and/or pay for a participant’s transportation home for any reason, the participant and his/her family agree to reimburse NYC, upon demand, for all expenses it incurs.

To apply for a program, please read the description of the program, check the schedule to make sure that you are free for the entire period of the program, and then complete the application and the additional paperwork (either online or print it off and mail/fax it to Northwest Youth Corps). Once a youth is offered a position into our program they will be required to 1. Call and confirm their position and 2. Either pay the full tuition or pay at least 25% of the tuition and set up a payment plan to pay the remaining tuition in full before the program starts.

If you are interested in our available programs, please view the program schedule

Northwest Youth Corps offers Backcountry Leadership and Leadership Development programs for returning crew members desiring new challenges. Crew members are encouraged to discover and master different leadership techniques while developing a leadership style that is effective for them.



YCCamping session overviews

Sessions open for all applicants to apply for:
Spring / Fall Sessions Summer Sessions American Sign Language Inclusion Sessions

The following Sessions are only for Alumni who have received a recommendation for BLP or Swamper from a prior YCCamping Session:
Backcountry Leadership Progam Peer Leaders (Swampers)

Spring & Fall Conservation Corps

Age: 16-19
Length: 5 weeks
Location: OR 
Tuition: $50

Are you out of school, between schools, or thinking about returning to school? Maybe you just want to be in a different space while you figure things out. In any case, the challenge and simplicity of five weeks in the woods will give you the chance to regain perspective, meet new friends, and discover new opportunities. Sound appealing?

With Northwest Youth Corps, you will learn how to pitch a tent, cook over a campfire, and stay dry in the rain. And, in the process, you will discover a new ability to address the unknown and surmount challenges that will prepare you for life's next adventure; finishing high school, starting college, or landing that next job.

With an NYC Spring or Fall program, you quickly become an integral part of a hard-working team. You travel throughout the Northwest and complete important conservation, recreation and reforestation projects. Like other NYC programs you and your team will usually be assigned to a different project each week.

The Northwest's unpredictable weather makes our spring and fall programs a unique challenge, one that demands a person of special fortitude, determination, and patience. For five weeks, regardless of the weather, you and nine other people your age will live, work and travel together.

Living in a tent for a month is not easy but the payoff is immense. But not necessarily in terms of money. Sure you will you receive a stipend check and discover pride in doing work that really matters. But perhaps just as important is what you will learn about yourself; about getting along with others and about what you value.

Take time out from the hustle and bustle of city life. Spend five weeks in the woods and leave with new friends, money in your pocket, amazing calluses, and great stories. 



Summer Conservation Corps

Age: 16-18
Length: 5-6 weeks
Location:  Washington, Oregon, Idaho
Tuition: $225*

The journey begins here! With NYC's Summer Conservation Corps you will complete vital resource management projects and explore the hidden corners of the Pacific Northwest. A ten-person NYC crew will spend time building hiking trails, protecting endangered species, and restoring wildlife habitat. You will learn how to swing a tool, bake in a Dutch Oven, pitch a tent, build a campfire, and load a backpack.

With NYC you will learn how easy it is to live in the woods without the comforts of modern civilization. And, you will find incredible pride in a newly peeled log, a stack of firewood, or the removal of a huge boulder. It will be a summer filled with days you will not soon forget; like the feeling of accomplishment that Friday, after a week of sweat and hard work, that you and your crew hike back out over a mile of freshly dug trail.

At NYC you will discover a unique magic where strangers become family, hard work becomes fun, and people find joy and laughter in trivial daily events. It is a place where you discover new priorities. A place where, when you return to the world of pizza and porcelain, you experience a new appreciation for little things and a new distinction between what you need and what you want.

For more than a month you will live and work outdoors all day, every day. You may go to sleep watching the moon rise and get up in time to see the sun come up. It is a busy world, one where days blur into a rhythm of working, eating and sleeping. But it is also a world you will leave with lasting friendships, pride in accomplishment, fresh perspectives and untold new skills. 



Backcountry Leadership Program

Age: 16-19
Length: 5 weeks
Positions: 20
Location: Idaho
Tuition: $225

You have successfully completed your summer conservation corps program, or maybe even a few, and are now wondering, what’s next? The Backcountry Leadership Program may be the next challenge you crave.

The Backcountry Leadership Program (BLP) provides crew members with additional leadership skills and opportunities. As a part of the BLP team, you will hike deep into secluded wilderness areas and work on intense, challenging, and technical projects. Here the landscape is more pristine, the laughter more bountiful, the expectations higher, and life fuller than any place you may have ever been. In past years, The Backcountry Leadership Program projects have been in Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness

“Leader of the Day” takes on a whole new meaning during the BLP experience. Through a combination of instruction and practice you will develop the skills needed to take charge of individual projects, coordinate camp activities, present natural history lessons and eventually accept all crew leadership responsibilities for a day. Each crew member must do the necessary research prior to their session so they are prepared to teach their leaders and peers their own SEED lesson. This can be on a variety of topics, but should be something you are interested in and can share with others

After your completion of the Backcountry Leadership Program, you will have gained more than just the ability to lead a group of peers at NYC. You will have leadership skills that will assist you in your future pursuits. A few of the many skills you’ll learn and practice are taking initiative, goal setting, time management, and positive motivation. Most importantly, you will gain self-confidence in your own ability to lead a group through the hands-on experience of BLP.

Since 1992, Backcountry Leadership Program crews have earned a reputation for incredible productivity, quality workmanship and an unwavering commitment to getting the job done. Graduates of this program are in high demand to return to NYC programs as a Peer Leader (aka “Swamper”), as well as by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for their summer trail crews. Only 40 BLP positions are available each year.

Please be aware that, due to the nature of the high elevation locations of the BLP projects, orientation locations are subject to change.


Peer Leaders (Swampers)

Age: 16-19
Location: Idaho, Oregon, Washington
Tuition: $225

Peer Leaders, also called Swampers, help motivate and encourage their crews. They must have demonstrated a high level of commitment to NYC, a mastery of technical skills, and exhibit a high level of leadership competency.  Peer Leaders are required to have successfully completed the Backcountry Leadership Program or a previous session as a Swamper.  Peer Leaders must have a positive attitude and good humor that will help boost morale and help keep a crew on track.

Peer Leaders are not afraid of challenging work. They are role models for their crew, and set a positive tone by promoting a responsible and respectful standard of conduct. They must be experienced campers and hard workers who are always willing to lend a hand or put forth a bit of extra effort. Most of all, a Peer Leader must have the desire to learn and practice good leadership skills. Peer Leaders must help their crew stay focused, build a nice piece of trail, put in a tight fence post, or construct a strong retaining wall, in addition to the extra assistance they provide back at camp.  This may include helping a new crew member learn how to sharpen tools, getting kitchen tarps set up, or showing others how to put up the white wall tents.

Peer Leaders are expected to accept additional responsibility for lending a hand on the project site, in camp, and on weekends. Below is a list of Peer Leader responsibilities.


  • Conduct tool inventories at all breaks and at the end of the day
  • Inspect tools to ensure they are in safe working condition
  • Tool Lock out/Tag out
  • Assist program training of new crew members


  • Assist the Woodsboss with resupply
  • Oversee NYC's Recycling program by ensuring that all recycling is properly cleaned and sorted.
  • Perform tool inventories each week; account for the previous weeks specialty tools and receive any new tools or gear required for the upcoming week.
  • Consult with program staff regarding crew productivity, motivation, and cohesion.



Session 2019 Dates Tuition*
Spring 4/27-6/1 $50
Spring (Chemawa students Only) 5/3-6/7 $0
Oregon 1 6/8-7/20 $225
Oregon 2 6/15-7/20 $225
Washington 1 6/22-7/20 $180
ASL Inclusion Crew 1 6/22-7/20 $0
LGBTQ Inclusion Crew 1 6/22-7/20 $180
Oregon 3 7/27-8/31 $225
Oregon 4 7/27-8/31 $225
Washington 2 7/27-8/31 $225
ASL Inclusion Crew 2 7/27-8/31 $0
LGBTQ Inclusion Crew 2 7/27-8/31 $225
Fall 9/14-10/19 $225

* Tuition assistance is available based on need. We do not want tuition cost to be a barrier for anyone.

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