Gov. Jay Nixon spoke at Rock Bridge State Park today to encourage young Missourians looking for summer employment to apply online with the State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC) program, which is back in 2013 for its fourth year. SPYC - a nationally recognized jobs initiative started by Gov. Nixon in 2010 to enhance Missouri's 87 state parks and historical sites - is a cooperative partnership between the Division of Workforce Development and Missouri State Parks.
"Over the past three summers here at Rock Bridge, the young men and women of the State Parks Youth Corps have maintained many miles of trails, re-shingled and painted shelter houses and other buildings, and have helped park volunteers in leading tours of Connor's Cave," Gov. Nixon said. "At Finger Lakes State Park, they've built four miles of new trails for mountain bikes; repaired trails, fences and buildings; and replaced the park's front gate.
"Just last month, Missouri was named 'Best Trails State' by the organization American Trails, and the quality of the trails in our state parks was a major factor in that selection," Gov. Nixon said. "The work of SPYC statewide on trails and other projects helped provide the 18 million people who visited Missouri State Parks last year with an even better experience, and we're going to build on that success again this year."
Missourians between ages 17 and 23 who meet eligibility requirements will be put to work at state parks and historic sites across Missouri, with the program running through Oct. 31. Applications for the program are now being accepted online on the state of Missouri website, MO.gov.
During 2012, SPYC workers put in more than 119,223 hours at 69 parks and historic sites, performing a variety of tasks, ranging from routine maintenance work and trail construction to interpretation and social media efforts. Examples of projects from around the state included rebuilding a wood picket fence at the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site in Kansas City; painting 42 historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Pin Oak group camp at Lake of the Ozarks State Park; assisting with photo documentation and transcription of exhibit text at the Missouri State Museum in Jefferson City; participating in wildfire response training at St. Francois State Park in east-central Missouri; and completing a study of trees at Weston Bend State Park in Platte County and making the study into a book.
The State Parks Youth Corps and Gov. Nixon were recognized in 2010 with the President's Award from the National Association of State Parks Directors for the innovative program.