CCC celebrates 25th Anniversary
The California Conservation Corps is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, with South Shore corps members joining the festivities Wednesday in Sacramento.
The public celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the west steps of the state Capitol. Fire crew, search and rescue and flood fighting demonstrations are planned.
Since 1976, the corps, known to some of its members as “the C’s,” has provided more than 50 million hours of natural resource work and seven million hours of emergency response work.
In association with Americorps, the California Conservation Corps is comprised of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 23 from throughout the state.
“We have several crews in the Tahoe Basin,” said Chris Malinowski, a supervisor for South Shore’s corps division. “Our main center is up at Echo Summit and we have a satellite center up on the North Shore in Tahoe City.”
Some duties of South Shore’s crews include Tahoe Re-green as well as other conservation and lake clarity projects, trail work, erosion control, fire fighting, aerial training, tree planting, flood fighting and search and rescue.
“There are tremendous benefits,” Malinowski said of the program. “There are scholarships and there are trainings. We also have an educational program so people can get their GED while they’re here and there is personal gratification. All our efforts are centered around preserving Lake Tahoe and you don’t get more hands on than these folks.”
Corps members can earn a General Education Development certificate, high school diploma or college credits while in the program.
“For people who don’t have their high school diploma or GED, it gives them the opportunity to do that,” said corpsmember Coby Porter, who moved to South Lake Tahoe four months ago to join the corps. “There is a corps member development program that helps people get schooling. It gives you an opportunity to go to college. They pay for your classes if you pass with a C average.”
California Conservation Corps Director Wes Pratt said the corps counts park rangers, law enforcement personnel, teachers, attorneys and small business owners among its alumni. Many others are state employees.
Porter said being in the corps is difficult but rewarding work.
“You have to put out a lot of weight,” he said. “It’s repetitive work so you have to be in pretty good physical condition but as long as you’re devoted to working hard it’s pretty easy at the same time. They want you to come into the program to succeed. Their goal is to get you out of here with more knowledge than you had coming in.”
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