Y Earth Service Corps Participants Spend Morning Working Outside At Los Alamos Co-Op Market

A group of YES Corps participants work on the raised beds at the Los Alamos Co-Op Market Tuesday morning. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Ethan Fox, left, and Brendan French pull some weeds from a raised bed at Los Alamos Co-Op Market. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Claire Whitley works with Co-Op general manager Jim Fischer Tuesday morning. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com


Participants in the Y Earth Service Corps (YESC), a six-week summer service-learning program for youth ages 12 to 15 (going into 7th-9th grade) were at the Los Alamos Co-Op Market Tuesday morning working with general manager Jim Fischer on the Market’s raised beds and open outdoor spaces. They were accompanied by YES Corps assistant directors Henry Ricker and Katie Laintz.

The YES Corps crews, which have eight or fewer members each week, work on various projects over the summer such as helping with local trail improvement, gardening and landscaping at local facilities like the senior centers, and even mucking out stalls at the local stables.

Ricker said he moved to Los Alamos four weeks ago to spend the summer. He said every week is considered a new session for YES Corps which means there is a different dynamic among the participants each week.  Some come for just a week and some stay with the program for several weeks. Ricker said the focus of the activities has been on being outside and connecting with the environment.

“We work with the Los Alamos County Open Space folks on local trails. We went to the Gifted Horse at the stables and learned about the daily life of being involved in a place with horses. They learned some basic horse care and got an opportunity to ride,” Ricker said.

Last week, participants worked on a landscaping project at Betty Ehart Senior Center and learned some gardening. The crew is also slated to work on a project at the Oppenheimer house later in the week, Ricker said.

Fischer said he welcomes the opportunity to invest in the future of the young people and make things more natural for kids heading into a new school year by giving them a chance to mingle and get back to normal.  He clearly enjoyed teaching the group about composting, as he had them gather older produce, shredded paper and other items to add to the Co-Op’s composters. While some participants clearly had more experience than others with weeding, composting and even mowing grass to collect the clippings, everyone appeared to be learning something new and having fun.  

Joseph Dale, who is heading to Los Alamos High School next semester, added water to some very dry compost to prepare it for spreading on one of the raised beds. Dale grows food at home with his family and seemed to have a pretty good take on how things work. It was his second week at with YES Corps and he was excited to learn how to make a drainage ditch on the East Park Trail. He liked the opportunity to work on some projects that help the community and the environment where he could use his existing knowledge and skills while learning new ones.

The YES Corps mission is to empower young people to be effective, responsible, global citizens by providing opportunities for environmental education and action, leadership development, and cross-cultural awareness. The program runs from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays through Thursdays until Aug. 1 and costs $40 a week.

Tuesday’s activities were organized by the Co-Op’s marketing manager Judith Stauber.

Los Alamos Co-Op Market general manager Jim Fischer and Joseph Dale figure out how much water to add to a container of compost that is ready for use. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Y YES Corps assistant director Henry RIcker with Taelin Stanfield and Benjamin Dattelbaum. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com

Django Salas, right, pulls weeds and thins seedlings with from left, Katie Laintz, Ethan Fox, and Brendan French. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com