July 3, 2019, GREENWICH, CT
For more than 40 years, the Greenwich Youth Conservation Program (GYCP) has helped local 14- and 15-year-olds gain summer work experience while they make Greenwich more beautiful. This unique public-private program kicked off its efforts this month and will focus on conservation projects at Greenwich Point Park and Binney Park this summer.
GYCP’s mission is to develop the potential of young Greenwich teens as they make Greenwich a better place in which to live. GYCP was created in 1978 when the Greenwich Department of Social Services saw an opportunity for an “earn and learn” program that would give young teens a summer job experience -- complete with a supervisor, co-workers and a paycheck -- while they enhanced town parks and public spaces. Participants would come from all areas of town and from public and private schools. While GYCP started as a small pilot program, it has grown tremendously over the years as it’s gained awareness and support from residents, local businesses and other donors. Today, GYCP – now administered by the Greenwich Departments of Human Services and Parks and Recreation – gives 112 young teens a first job opportunity each summer.
A session with GYCP is highly sought after by teens. Every year, there are far more applicants than available spaces. Most teens learn about GYCP through their school guidance office, and all candidates are interviewed before participants are selected. Since 2013, GYCP has expanded from 72 to 112 teens thanks to a local supporter, The Resource Foundation, Inc. Youth Program Administrator Christina Nappi says, “We’re grateful for this expansion because GYCP helps fill a gap in the summer job marketplace. While they were once a rite of teen passage, summer job opportunities have declined over the past few decades. We want to help reverse this trend because teens who can find summer work reap both immediate benefits and skills they can use for future employment.”
In recent summers, GYCP teens have worked at more than 15 parks throughout Greenwich, including planting 40 trees at Byram Beach Park last year at the site of the new town pool. Other parks have included Bible Street Park in Cos Cob and the Glenville Green. The donations GYCP receives make it possible for each teen to receive a stipend for their work. “It’s a win-win proposition,” Ms. Nappi says. “Teens want to learn job skills and make an impact in their community, and citizens and local businesses alike benefit from a more beautiful community.”
For more information about GYCP, please contact Youth Program Administrator Christina Nappi at Christina.Nappi@Greenwichct.org or (203) 622-7792.