Montana Conservation Corps Works with the NMRC and Education Northwest to Build Organization, Expand Services

MCCMontana Conservation Corps (MCC) is a Montana-based nonprofit that currently serves almost 300 Montana youth ages 12 to 18. Modelled after the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps, MCC youth crews composed of AmeriCorps volunteers, participate in summer conservation service programs primarily in Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, and Wyoming. MCC works in partnership with Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park, and also provides programming to youth ages 16-25 of the Blackfeet and Wind River Tribal Communities. The mission of Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) is to inspire young people through hands-on conservation service to be leaders, stewards of the land, and engaged citizens who improve their communities.

MCC

Since its inception, over 4,000 AmeriCorps members have served in MCC, constructing trails, eradicating weeds, and performing other land stewardship and community service activities in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and the Dakotas. MCC recently began growing its services to reach more Montana youth in the communities it serves, by expanding its programming for middle-schoolers and extending the program services available for both middle and high-school youth. During the course of their work, MCC requested technical assistance (TA) from the National Mentoring Resource Center to review their proposed program framework, and advise on the program design for the MCC’s school-year and summer programs.

Working with National Mentoring Resource Center assistance providers at the Institute for Youth Success at Education Northwest, MCC drafted a theory of change and a program framework to provide direction for their program as it evolves. The content of these documents was then incorporated into the training of four Youth Program Managers, as well as MCC’s fifty youth mentor leaders.

MCC

The revamped training especially affected MCC’s Youth Program Managers, who utilized the Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) to help them define how their staff could create an environment that promotes the social-emotional skills of youth in the program.

For Montana Conservation Corps, the technical assistance provided by The Institute for Youth Success at Education Northwest through the NMRC was very beneficial. It allowed them to increase the quality and quantity of their mentoring relationships for the youths they serve. “I would highly recommend NMRC TTA to any program considering a change or expansion in its services,” said Kate O’Neill, MCC’s Director of Programs. “The technical assistance provided essential information on Theory of Change development and current research in youth development to ensure our program framework was focused on the most important outcomes for middle school and high school youth.”

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) to the mentoring field. In addition to convening a Research Board which develops evidence-based reviews about mentoring topics, and offering a comprehensive mentoring resource center website, the NMRC provides mentoring programs nationwide with the opportunity to request and receive no-cost technical assistance to help them more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices into their programming. Once a mentoring program requests technical assistance, their request is assigned to a local or regional technical assistance provider within MENTOR's network of state and local affiliates and TA providers. New and emerging mentoring programs may benefit from technical assistance to help them design and implement programs that meet quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, while existing or established programs may utilize TA to improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.

Learn more about Montana Conservation Corps here, and the Institute for Youth Success at Education Northwest here. Submit a request for no-cost technical assistance for your youth mentoring program here.

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