The Mission Mountains Youth Crew (MMYC), a summer job program that exposes high school-age youth living on the Flathead Reservation in Western Montana to career pathways in natural resources, finished its second year this past summer.

Building off the successes of our 2021 pilot year, we hired an additional two members from local high schools, bringing the crew up to eight high school-age members and two leads from the Salish Kootenai College for the 2022 season. The crew worked for seven weeks, completing stewardship activities on ancestral lands of the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille in the Mission Mountains.

Splitting time between each side of the Mission Mountains, the crew worked alongside and learned from natural resource professionals from both the CSKT and U.S. Forest Service.

Throughout the program, the crew participated in projects ranging from wildlife biology and forestry to heritage and recreation. They also learned about native ecology and historic and contemporary uses of the landscape. A favorite activity each year is a two-day float trip down the Flathead River at the start of the program where crew members pick up trash, clean up campsites, and get to know each other along the way.

Instructional leads from CSKT Tribal Education, SKC, and Swan Valley Connections helped ensure that the crew met its work and learning objectives and engaged in meaningful projects. MMYC is a partnership between CSKT, the Salish Kootenai College, Swan Valley Connections, the Flathead National Forest, and the National Forest Foundation.

All photos by Alex Kim.


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