Chris Merino grew up in Rifle, Colorado and participated in the first Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) Community Development Crew (engaging members between the ages of 14 and 16) that was based in his hometown. After successful completing that first term, he joined the Regional Service Crew (engaging members between the ages of 16 to 18) where he also successfully completed a term of service. These positive experiences led him to join the adult conservation corps – a meaningful advancement from the two- and four-week younger-member programs to the 3-month commitment of being with the crew 24 hours a day. This new challenge drove Chris to recognize a new sense of confidence, tenacity, and grit in himself.
Jessica Nicolosi, Chris’ assistant crew leader, shared that he was incredibly receptive to feedback and that he built upon the strong work ethic and passion he showed in the previous corps terms. Jessica noted that Chris was often able to express what many on the crew felt about the impact of a moment or the overall experience; and that his openness to share his thoughts and feelings about being on trail crew set a magical tone for the whole crew. Currently Chris is attending school in Glenwood Springs at the Colorado Mountain College supported by his AmeriCorps Education Award. Chris plans to return to RMYC for the 2019 season and continue his outstanding leadership development.