Youth Outdoors graduates say they are higher academic achievers, have taken a science course, regularly volunteer and plan to pursue higher education because of their Conservation Corps service. The findings, from a recent study by a University of Minnesota researcher, showed the afterschool program’s positive, long-term impacts on high school students’ future achievements. A survey was mailed to all alumni who had served in Youth Outdoors since its launch in 2008 and for whom the Corps had current email addresses. Almost 20 percent responded.
A summary of study results showed:
- 88 percent of YO graduates agreed the program influenced their academic achievement.
- 45 percent indicated that prior to YO service, they had expected to complete a high school education or less.
- After serving, 94% plan to pursue higher education.
- 72 percent noted YO increased their science interest.
- 66 percent took at least one elective science class after their YO term.
- 87 percent of respondents are in full-time education; 58 percent are working full- or part-time.
- 88 percent agreed YO increased their interest in environmental issues.
- 59 percent increased the time they spend outside.
- 73 percent of graduates continue to volunteer ― significantly higher than the national average of 26 percent.
Youth Outdoors engages diverse teens, ages 15-18 from low-income households, in environmental science education and service-learning projects during 11-week fall and spring school semesters and an eight-week summer session. Participants earn a stipend while increasing their interest and aptitude in science and learning work and career readiness skills.