Anna Sivil: Crew Leader Development Program
Anna moved to Durango in March 2010 to join our Crew Leader Development Program and was hired on as a Crew Leader afterwards. She continued on to be a crew leader in the fall and returned the next year (2011) as one of SCC's Field Supervisors. In 2013, Anna got a job as the OHV (Off-Highway-Vehicle) Trail Crew Lead for the Columbine Distirct in the San Juan National Forest. She is currently an Intern with the Bureau of Land Management's GIS Department, where she is contracted out through SCC. After her internship, she plans on trying to get a job as a Timber Stand Improvement Forestry Technician (better known as a Fuels Crew Member) with the Dolores office. Within the next few years, she plans on attending graduate school, attributing her experience with SCC and the USFS to help her get in. I continue to recommend the Southwest Conservation Corps to individuals who are looking to take the next step in their lives. Anna says, “I suppose I am still trying to figure out my life "plan," but the Southwest Conservation Corps was the entity that opened all these doorways for me and exposed me to so many new experiences.”
Tim Stygar- Veterans Fire Corps
After serving as an infantryman in Iraq with The US Army, Tim felt very unhappy with his job as a civilian contactor. He felt the need to be engaged in something more active, physically demanding, and to be part of a team again. During the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs, Tim was laid off from his job and then evacuated from my home. Growing up, he had dreamed of being a hotshot, so he wanted to volunteer and help with fire, but didn’t have the required experience. Tim lost almost everything after a break up and was struggling trying to find a job to support him while pursuing his degree in Outdoor Leadership and Recreation Technology. Eventually, he became homeless and felt like he didn’t have anywhere to go. Tim saw Veterans Fire Corps as his only option, but also a great step to begin a new career that aligned with his passions. While waiting for the program to start, Tim worked out for countless hours every day trying to get into shape, while living out his car. He knew he needed SCC to achieve his goal of becoming a hotshot in the next two years, so he packed up his things and moved to Durango, Colorado.
While serving in VFC, Tim received countless hours of training and hands on experience, while making friends with fellow veterans. He loved the camaraderie of working with other veterans again, learning new skills, and spending so much time in the outdoors. After his time with VFC, he went on to get a job with Chloeta Fire in Oklahoma for the spring to gain more fire experience. And after a long year working hard to qualify as a hotshot, he was offered a position on the Cedar City Hotshots in Utah for the 2014 fire season! Tim says, “I feel like I have the future that I always wanted and that I’m excited about. I definitely would not be where I am now if it weren't for the Veterans Fire Corps and Southwest Conservation Corps.”
Auston Craig- High School Camping Crew
Auston Craig began his first corps experience in 2012 as a 17 year-old home-schooled local kid who happened upon SCC at a career fair. After hearing he could join a program where he would be camping for a whole month, he signed up! After a successful first summer with SCC, Auston decided to sign up for a young adult AmeriCorps Conservation Crew in the fall of 2013. Again, Auston thrived. He loved the hard work, the peacefulness of the natural world, and the camaraderie of working with a group of his peers. But it wasn't easy either. Auston came from a very different background than a lot of his co-members. He had been homeschooled as a child, he had not experienced higher education, and he had rarely left his home state of Colorado. Despite his differences, Auston quickly gained the respect of his peers and leaders. He exemplified all the traits we look for in our members - a strong work ethic, other-centered, patience, grit, and teamwork. His peers said that he was a natural leader. Auston did not believe this about himself, but he said that after two seasons with SCC, it started to sink in that he was capable of great things. He even received the Corps Member of the Year Award, through Colorado Youth Corps Association. Now Auston has his sight set on working for a public land agency either as a trail worker or, ideally, a wild land fire fighter. He is not sure where this will take him - perhaps continuing a career in natural resources management or obtaining a degree in engineering with the help of his AmeriCorps education award. Wherever he ends up, Auston feels much more self-confident and motivated to do something meaningful with his life and to follow his passions.
Michelle Carty- Dolores River Restoration Crew
Michelle joined the Dolores River Restoration Crew program in 2011 where she learned how to use a chainsaw and remove tamarisk from the watershed. Michelle loved being a part of a team, spending time outdoors, and working hard while participating in meaningful conservation projects. She wanted to continue with another term of national service, so she became a Team Leader in the inaugural class of FEMA Corps; a program that engages young adults in emergency management projects through AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. The skills she learned in the DRRC program helped her successfully lead her team in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New York, after Hurricane Sandy. Currently, Michelle is working for Habitat for Humanity International, as their Volunteer Engagement and Support Coordinator for the Latin America and Caribbean Global Village programs. When asked to reflect about her experience, Michelle said that SCC definitely helped her become more well-rounded, and expand her skill set, which is very important when applying for jobs in the non-profit sector.