Written by Cora Stewart
The Forest Stewards Youth Corps (FSYC) program started strong this year with a week-long training. The five youth crews from Northern and Central New Mexico camped together at Glorieta Adventure Camps, right outside Santa Fe. Crews were excited to meet each other, learn more about the program, and get some experience on the ground.
The first day of training focused on the Forest Stewards Youth Corps program’s goals, the Guild’s larger mission, and our work partners’ missions. FSYC has the goal to provide service, training, education, and employment opportunities to the local youth of New Mexico while increasing the capacity of federal and local land management agencies.
Eytan Krasilovsky, the deputy director of the Guild, talked about the rich 25-year history of the FSYC program and then discussed the many ways the Forest Stewards Guild works toward our mission of responsible and sustainable forestry. We then had our work partners from the Pueblo of Jemez Natural Resource Department (POJ NRD) and the National Forest Service (FS) come to speak about their work and mission. Eytan raised a great question to our work partners,
“What do you wish you knew about the workforce when you were 18?”
Each of our partners answered insightfully, from letting people know that plans change, to pushing through difficult times, to pursuing their professional goals despite social pressure.
On the second day of training, members went through a CPR/First Aid course in the morning. Members started with learning the first steps in an emergency- assessing the scene and calling 911. They then got to practice their CPR skills on mannequins. The second half of the course focused on general first aid and blood-borne pathogens.
Crews then headed to the National Pecos Historical Park to learn about the history of New Mexico. Members walked through an interactive museum, hearing stories from Pueblo members, and learning more about the traditions that still define many cultures in New Mexico today. We then had a ranger lead a tour across the ancestral lands, where we learned about the large trading post Pecos Pueblo once was, the Spanish Conquistadors, and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
The next day of the training, crews finally got to get their hands dirty. For many members, this was their favorite day of the week. Carlos Saiz, the Guild’s Fire and Fuels Coordinator, and Dayl Velasco, the Guild’s newest Program Coordinator, lead a discussion on safety. They highlighted the dangers of monsoon season, how to properly use tools, and why personal protective equipment can save lives. Crews then got out on two trails in Glorieta, Chili Dog and Holy Moly, where they helped maintain the trails by clearing loose rock, and branches.
When everyone returned from the work project, we continued our discussion about safety and reviewed how to stay emotionally and mentally safe while on the job. We then talked about truck safety and had everyone learn how to change a tire.
The next and final morning, the Guild led an active bystander training, where crew members learned how to intervene in uncomfortable situations. We had an activity where people got to practice shutting down hurtful and inappropriate comments using scenarios. In the afternoon, Sam Berry, the Southwest Associate Director, led a goal-setting activity, where each crew discussed their personal and professional goals. Members then packed up and headed back to their land management office to jump into the rest of the field season.
*Editor’s note: stay tuned on social media, our FSYC page, and elsewhere for more highlights on crew member goals and progress!