The 7 Lakes Alliance Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) season wrapped up last week! This season certainly came with its fair share of challenges, and we were fortunate to have an experienced and mature crew to make it work. With a team of just six members practicing social-distancing and mask-wearing, we were able to focus on high-priority issues and complete a number of erosion-control projects throughout the watershed. Most team members are going back to school this week, but we will still be conducting site visits and tying up loose ends through September. The success of the YCC during this difficult season has been made possible by our outstanding crew and wonderful supporters!
This year, the recipients of the Joly Award are Courtney Richard and Connor Grindle. The Joly Award was established to reward and incentivize great work by our staff and to commemorate the late Bob Joly of Smithfield, Maine, a founder of the Youth Conservation Corps in 1996. Each year, we select two worthy recipients from among the YCC staff who have demonstrated exemplary work effort and teamwork. Bob Joly cared deeply about the lakes and about youth, and this award is a fit tribute to his tireless volunteer efforts.
Courtney Richard, a graduate of Mount Blue High School in Farmington, currently attending the University of Maine, Presque Isle. This was her second season with the YCC and she demonstrated leadership, maturity, and a strong work ethic. She comes to work every day with a positive attitude and is key in motivating the other crew members. Courtney is truly a role model for new and returning members. She is consistently punctual, attentive, and driven.
Connor Grindle, an expected 2021 graduate from Lawrence High School. This was also Connor's second season with the YCC--he is one of the hardest workers we have had the opportunity to work with. Connor shows up to work early every morning ready to take on whatever we throw at him. In both seasons, Connor showed exemplary work ethic. When we get a delivery with huge bluestone rocks, some crew members groan over the hard work ahead of them--and Connor is already loading wheelbarrows.
We would also like to recognize Tyler Pellerin, Messalonskee High School Graduate, UNE dental school student, and past winner of the Joly Award, for being an outstanding Assistant Director of the YCC this season. Tyler's most impressive quality is his professionalism when dealing with both landowners and colleagues, and he carried the team through this challenging season, working with landowners, writing permits, and supervising the crew.
"Courtney and Connor and Tyler: Thank you for your contributions to making 2020 a successful YCC season!" said Mel Croft, Treasurer of the board for 7 Lakes Alliance. "The qualities that you exhibited this season (that Lauren described to me) are traits that will carry you far in life. Professional. Hard working. Great attitude. Positive outlook. Leadership skills. Strong work ethic. I wish you the best as you prepare for what I'm sure will be an exciting and fulfilling career."
"Excellent news, Lauren, and congratulations on your creative leadership during the unprecedented and unpredictable challenges that you dealt with this year," said Jon Atkinson, of the YCC Committee. "Kudos to Courtney & Connor for their terrific contributions. Hip Hip Hooray!"
Left to right: Mike Chavez, Tyler Pellerin, Brennan Dunton, Courtney Richard, Connor Grindle.