Teen Trail Crews are ideal for adventurous teens aged 14-19 interested in the experience of camping or backpacking and learning or improving on outdoor skills, while engaging in meaningful conservation service projects. All crews are co-ed and range from beginner crews to more experienced ones.
The service work entails conservation-related projects in regard to maintaining hiking trails and protecting surrounding national forests and wilderness lands. Each crew will have a specific project, which may involve clearing brush to better define the trail, cleaning drainage to help with erosion problems, installing water bars and bog bridges to stabilize the trail, repairing ski trails, building cairns above tree line, redefining protected land boundaries, working on shelters, painting blazes, building rock staircases, and other crucial conservation tasks. Everyone on crew helps out with chores and meals as supervised by the crew leaders and food menus are created based on the allergies/non-allergies of the crew, ahead of time. AMC supplies all shared gear such as tents and any personal gear like a sleeping bag must be brought by the volunteer. An extensive gear list will be included with the full registration packet after an application has been received. On SPIKE crews, all group gear, tools, and food is divided up amongst crew members to carry into the backcountry in their backpacks which usually weigh 40-60 pounds. This does not apply to base camps, however, they will carry tools to their work site and may be asked to carry some additional items in their day packs. Participants are eligible to receive community service hours for their volunteer work. You do not need previous outdoors experience to try one of our trail crews but the crews longer in length are reserved for those who are more advanced at trail work and camping. TYPES OF CREWS & AGE LIMITS 1-Week Base Crew (14-16) 1-Week Spike Crew (15-17) 10-Day ME Woods Base Crew (16-18) 2-Week Spike Crew (16-18) 4-Week Leadership Spike Crew (17-19) LOCATIONS: Maine Woods White Mountains (NH) Bay Circuit Trail (Boston) Noble View Outdoor Center (MA) The Berkshires (MA) Harriman Outdoor Center (NY) Mohican Outdoor Center (NJ) BASE CREWS: This is a crew where teens are camping in the front country meaning a place you drive to, at a pre-existing facility that could have flush or pit toilets, showers or swimming area, tent platforms, an established camp site, and possible food storage. In most cases the general public will be camping nearby. At some locations, crews will simply hike to their project site.In other locations it will be necessary to drive to a trail-head in a 12-passenger van. SPIKE CREWS: This is a crew that backpacks as a group to a primitive site in the woods. It is off-trail and has been pre-scouted by an AMC Staff member to ensure there is flat ground to camp on, a water source, and will not overly impact the environment. There are no toilets, showers or other amenities besides nature. Teens are taught the principles of Leave No Trace and how to minimize their impact in pristine areas.