Oregon Youth conservation Corps [OYCC] provided $12,000 to fund Al Kennedy High School’s summer crew. Every summer Al Kennedy High School runs a six to eight week summer crew program, where crew members are paid minimum wage and work on conservation projects. The Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC) was created by the 1987 Oregon Legislature to emulate the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. OYCC’s purpose is to build on strong connections between positive experiences, work skills, personal responsibility, commitment to education, and future employment for Oregon's youth. Matt Hall, Kennedy Conservation Corps crew leader, said “We really hoped we would get this summer crew funding as it would enable us to pay our student crew to move the contents of the school from Kennedy’s old location on South 8th street in Cottage Grove to its new location at Delight Valley School in Saginaw."
A requirement of the grant is that early in the summer the crew leader has to attend a three-day OYCC Crew Leader Training session, this year’s was held in Bend. “I’ve attended a number of these trainings in the past,” said Matt Hall, ”I always learn something new and come away better prepared to provide a positive work experience for my youth crew.”
Beginning on June 12 for almost a full week, the eight youth members of the conservation corps, with lots of assistance from the school district’s grounds and maintenance staff, loaded and unloaded trucks ,trailers and a U-Haul van. During that time the entire contents of six classrooms, the library, the music room, the principal’s office, the secretary’s office, the cafeteria, the crew leader’s office, the crew room, tools and the outdoor education equipment were transferred to the new classrooms or temporary storage at the Delight Valley School location. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act office was moved to its new location at 19 North sixth street through the assistance of the student crew. The move was complicated as some classrooms at the Delight Valley location were available to move into and some were still occupied temporarily by Head Start of Lane County who will be sharing the campus with Kennedy for the 2017-18 school year. When asked to provide feedback on the student’s job performance Trevor Smith, Maintenance Supervisor for South Lane School District, said, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Kennedy crew during our transition to the Delight Valley site. We were all impressed by their team work, their work ethic, and their character. We would be more than happy to work with them in the future and are excited to welcome them to their new school.”
After the move was completed the crew spent three days finishing building the new garden area, the native plant nursery beds for the Army Corps of Engineers and Lane County waste management and rebuilt the pollinator garden, a project undertaken in collaboration with The Cottage Grove Ranger District. All the remaining nursery stock and garden plants that had been salvaged from the nursery and garden at Kennedy’s old site were planted in the new beds. The rest of the summer program was spent either working on the Row River Trail “bike path” for the BLM or digging up blackberries and scotch broom in the Brice Creek drainage for the Forest Service. The summer crew program ended on August the 17. Student crew members earned an hourly wage for all their summer work. OYCC is funded primarily through Oregon’s Amusement Device Tax, via the Oregon Lottery to be able to support school conservation corps.