A day in Boulder at lovely Chautauqua park sounds like a lovely way to spend a Saturday, but for the fourteen members of the AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation (ACLC) program here at Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC), it was another day at the office. Well, perhaps not at the office, but it was a workday nevertheless, a workday filled with skits and hikes and mule deer sightings. Yes, life is good for the AmeriCorps members here at MHYC.
As Alumni Mentor for the conservation program, I was fortunate to be selected to accompany the ACLCs to Boulder. The goal of the day was to learn the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT), and furthermore, to be able to successfully facilitate trainings for the Summer of Service Corpsmembers that the ACLCs will be working with come June. Sponsored by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, the day’s activities included some hilarious skits: Mike Mullaley, portraying the overzealous camper, wants to build a five-alarm camp fire, while Andrew Kennedy, acting as his conscientious counterpart, convinces him a small, manageable mound fire is much more environmentally friendly; Collin Hoffman, as the no-holds-barred mountain biker, leaves a trail of wounded hikers in his wake on his reckless trek down the mountain.
Everyone learned a barrowful of new techniques and principles, and of course a myriad of unique LNT terms: the cat hole, using your elephant, broadcasting. In addition, the ACLCs got a chance to work on their facilitation and teaching skills, and did a wonderful job of being engaging and educational at the same time.
A special thanks to our facilitators Catherine, Sara and Sarah; and I look forward to seeing the ACLCs in action on their Summer of Service crews, spraying toothpaste far into the woods as they demonstrate their elephants to the Seasonal Corpsmembers.
-Steve Lynch, Conservation Alumni Mentor