Youth Conservation Camp (YCC) & Leadership Institute (YCLI)

Youth Conservation Camp (YCC)

The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts sponsors a week long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students (currently enrolled in grades 9-12) on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

The program brings together interested students from around the state for a week of learning about Virginia’s natural resources from conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors.

The Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District will help to sponsor two students who would like to attend the camp.

Due to COVID-19, For 2021 VASWCD is partnering with the VA Dept. of Forestry to offer Virginia Academy of Natural Resources (VANR) for current 9th-12th graders.  The camp will be held virtually, where campers will attend virtually live presentation s in the morning and have exploration assignments in the afternoon.

The VANR will run July 12th-16th 2021.

To apply, please fill out the following form:   Applications accepted until April 30th, 2021.

Once accepted, campers will be responsible for a $25 fee.

Campers that attend this camp will still be eligible to attend 2022 Camp Woods & Wildlife, and Youth Conservation Camp.

We recognize that there are students who are disappointed that 2021 Youth Conservation Camp has been canceled, but keeping everyone safe and healthy is a top priority


  • To provide high school students interested in natural resources and conservation a fun and exciting week-long educational opportunity to attend a camp held at Virginia Tech.
  • To give financial support to students showing a strong desire to attend camp.

2020 Camper Application

2020 Youth Conservation Camp Guidelines

Camp Agenda 2020

2019 Camp Highlights

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute


What is Youth Conservation Leadership Institute and how does it work?

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute(YCLI) is a recognition program for High School students that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship.  YCLI began as an expansion of Youth Conservation Camp in an effort to keep students engaged in the environmental topics introduced at camp. YCLI offers high school students interested in environmental conservation and stewardship an opportunity to build leadership skills and connect with local mentors involved with environmental issues.  YCLI is a unique opportunity for high school students to receive experience and engage in networking opportunities to prepare them for future education and career paths.

Students choose projects that they are interested in to carryout in their community.

As a participant in the Youth Conservation Leadership Institute, students will be required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a focus in the natural resources conservation field.  Students are encouraged to focus work with the local Soil & Water Conservation District but any work that contributes to pollution prevention, natural resources conservation, and promotion of environmental literacy will be accepted.  All projects must have a confirmed mentor which may be a local SWCD, government agency, community leader, or similar local organization.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

YCLI is open to any Virginia high school (9th-12th grade )student committed to the entirety of the program including:

  • Completion of at least 20 community service hours to be approved by the VASWCD staff.
  • Submission of one interim and final report/presentation on the community work completed.
  • Attendance at the final recognition program to be held in Spring of 2019.
  • Read an assigned book on environmental leadership for a group discussion

The 2021-2022 YCLI can be found here: 2021-2022 YCLI Application.  Applications are due to Bonnie Mahl by Oct. 1st, 2021.  Please feel free to email her at with any questions,