YCC, NCTC, Shepherdstown , West Virginia
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
How Stephanie Deal got involved with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Nearing the end of my Junior year in high school, I found myself searching for a job. I applied to dozens of places, but didn't hear back, probably because I had very little experience (my only other job was being a nanny to my cousins the summer last). The guidance department of my high school announced that YCC job applications were available for anyone 15 or older, so I jumped at it. I didn't know much about the USFWS, NCTC, or YCC but I really needed a job. I wasn't too crazy about the hard, outdoor labor though. A few weeks later, I got a call that said I was hired! Soon, I was buying work boots and jeans, my uniform for the next eight weeks.
Working in the Youth Conservation Corps at the NCTC this summer was a very rewarding experience, and I'm not just talking about the paychecks. I was sure that I would hate the summer heat and the back-breaking labor over the summer. I was positive that it would be a major chore that I would get through for the money, but I was wrong. Sure, some days were harder and hotter than others, but it was still enjoyable working and talking with my YCC crew. The other crew members have become good friends of mine. We have so many jokes and have had an awesome time getting to know one another. Besides the daily work of weeding, watering, and taking care of the grounds, we went on trips almost once a week to places like Canaan Valley, Antietam, and a fish hatchery. Honestly, some days felt like I was being paid to go to summer camp! Not only have I enjoyed this experience, I have been changed by it. Working with nature and talking to people who are so passionate about the planet makes you want to help it, too. I am now considering working with animals as my future career, but who knows what the future holds.
Stephanie Deal's accomplishments
This summer, my YCC crew and I have done many projects impacting nature, the community, and the NCTC. Only a weekly basis, we perform tasks that are simple, but very important. We water a nursery, pull weeds, cut down and pull out invasive, non-native species, take care of reforested areas, and clean out buckets of coffee grounds for planting. We also do many larger projects such as helping build an outdoor nature classroom for a local daycare, determining the water quality of local ponds, and creating and maintaining trails. Besides helping and working, we have also learned an incredible amount from the friendly employees at the NCTC. They were all eager to enlighten us.
Stephanie Deal's next steps
As the summer comes to a close, I am getting ready to return to high school. I am excited to start applying to colleges and then start my career education. After my summer working for the Fish and Wildlife Service, my ideas on my career have changed. I'm not sure if I want to teach kindergarten or help endangered species. I do know that I would love to come back to NCTC and the USFWS for an internship or other opportunity in the future, though.
Hometown: Shepherdstown, West Virginia
School: Jefferson High School