By serving corps, we serve the world

CYCA changes lives and landscapes by creating opportunities for youth, young adults, and veterans to serve their community on public lands

Our mission is to serve on behalf of Colorado conservation corps that transform lives and communities through service, personal development, and education statewide. We execute this mission in several key ways:

  • Raising resources for corps
  • Assuring quality through annual accreditation
  • Overseeing the largest AmeriCorps grant in Colorado
  • Developing high-quality professional development opportunities
  • Telling the corps story to audiences around the state

These efforts have helped launch corps to the forefront of the conservation movement in Colorado. Our partnerships have generated more than $3 million annually to deploy crews and place interns around the state. The outcome is healthier natural resources for Colorado and a brighter future for our members. Our most important impact is on the youth, young adults, and veterans who experience the spark of stewardship during their term. Our participants graduate our programs with professional experience and credentials and are informed and engaged citizens about the environment. They experience firsthand the fulfillment of serving a community and improving an ecosystem. You may find corps members building highly-technical trails on Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks and felling hazard trees around campgrounds. You may find them eradicating harmful invasive species along the shores of our rivers or installing high-efficiency light bulbs in low-income urban housing developments. You may even find them re-building a 19th-century homestead or planting thousands of saplings where a mine closed decades before. But no matter where they are serving, our corps members share the common impact of conserving and improving Colorado’s natural resources.

In 1995, an advisory group comprised of public and private grant makers, leaders in the environmental sector, youth development professionals, and representatives from local, state, and federal government agencies joined together to develop a strategy to expand youth conservation corps in Colorado.

This coalition was driven by two identified needs: the need for effective youth employment and youth development programs across the state; and the need for assistance in conservation efforts to preserve our state’s iconic and under-resourced public lands.

The result was the creation of CYCA in 1997, which operated under the legal and fiscal umbrella of the Piton Foundation until receiving its IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit determination in 2000. Today CYCA serves 8 accredited corps that reach more than 1,600 youth, young adults, and veterans annually.