Parks Get Cleaner as Young Missourians Get Jobs

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COLUMBIA - Young Missourians get summer jobs and Missouri gets cleaner parks and the application process for the third season started Tuesday.

The nationally recognized State Park Youth Corps (SPYC) jobs program began in 2010. SPYC is a cooperative partnership between the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and the Division of State Parks.

Missourian ages 17 and 23, can apply online. Deputy Parks Director J.C. Kuessner said anyone interested should apply, even if they are unsure if they meet the eligibility requirements. "It is a great experience for young people in Missouri to figure out what interests them, and work needed in the parks is endless," Kuessner said. 

Finger Lakes State Park on Highway 63 north of Columbia is one of the 85 possible sites and has participated in the program since the beginning. Wesley Nachbar, now 20, worked at Finger Lakes Park in 2010 and 2011, and already applied to work again this year.  "I love being outdoors and although it can be hard work, the people you work with make it enjoyable and we have a good time and make some money," he said.  

Employees do routine maintenance work, trail construction, office work, paint bulidings, roof repair, etc. In 2011, SPYC workers put in more than 177,000 hours at 84 state parks and historical sites.  

The program starts June 1 and runs through September 20. According to Kuessner, there will be 85 sites this year and the programs hopes to employ around 500 young Missourians.