Some high school-aged kids spend their summer working part-time jobs or maybe helping out on the family farm or business. Other kids may spend a portion of their summer attending various camps (sports, theater, space camp, etc.) and a number of kids probably spent their summer vacation in front of an Xbox.

For a dozen kids from around the United States, the summer of 2021 was likely an experience they'll never forget. The 12 teenagers spent a total of five weeks in Yellowstone National Park, working as volunteers on the Yellowstone Conservation Corps program. The park's official Twitter account shared this Tweet.

The kids get paid.

The teens earn Federal minimum wage working 40 hours a week (minus $10 per day for room/board/laundry) and they work five days in a row from their camp. They spend two nights a week at the YCC facility to shower, do laundry, and resupply.

Credit: Yellowstone National Park/NPS
Credit: Yellowstone National Park/NPS

The program is entering its 34th year.

For many teens, the opportunity to live and work in Yellowstone National Park for the summer is a dream job. YCC organizers say,

No previous wilderness experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, get along well with others, and maintain a positive attitude are essential for success.

It's not all work and no play. Participants can engage in a number of educational and fun activities during their stay, including "hiking, rafting, fishing, ranger-led programs, guest speakers, enrollee and staff presentations, and trips throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem."

Credit: Yellowstone National Park/NPS
Credit: Yellowstone National Park/NPS

The 2021 crew accomplished a lot.

According to the parks Tweet, the 2021 team of kids got a lot of work done. Highlights included:

  • Installing 58 bear-proof food storage containers at campsites.
  • Installed 13 new trailhead signs.
  • Picked up 5,389 pieces of trash.
  • Collected over 52 hours of visitor data.
  • Distributed 288 GPS unit to hikers to help analyze park use

If you have a teen (age 15 - 18) who would like to participate next summer, you can find more information on the Yellowstone Conservation Corps HERE. Applications are expected to be available in February.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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