Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia Enlists Help from Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps NCCC for Boy Scout Jamboree, 2013 Reach the Summit Initiative

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin takes a moment for a photo with Corpsmembers and staff from Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia and KUPU / Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps.

Click here to see more photos from the event

For one of their most ambitious projects to date, the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV) agreed to lead the 2013 Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative, which will see the completion of over 350 service projects in southern West Virginia this week. According to the organizers of the initiative, “it’s the nation’s largest community service project of its kind in U.S. history.”

“The Initiative is remarkable and the most significant project of its kind in our nation’s history,” said Robert A. Martin, CEO, Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia. “Moving forward, what we accomplish over these five days of service will be a shining example of what can be accomplished when we all work together.”

So who’s helping out? The Boy Scouts of America are hosting their annual Jamboree in conjunction with the event, with an estimated 40,000 scouts descending upon West Virginia for fun and service. Most of the approved work includes outdoor construction, renovation, painting, landscaping or clean-up efforts. The projects are located at cemeteries, parks, schools, humane societies, historic landmarks, ball fields, and other community gathering places.

Knowing they had their hands full, CCCWV also turned to some of their best friends and partners to help out. On Tuesday, the arrival of KUPU’s Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps crew caused quite a splash at the airport, where according to Charleston Gazette reporter Laura Reston, “the teenagers wore yellow leis Tuesday at the gate at Yeager and voiced a Hawaiian chant called an “Oli” to commemorate the entrance to a sacred place…” Noting the strong environmental connection many of the Corpsmembers feel coming from their state, Reston quoted Corpsmember Joshua Bailey-Belista as saying, “If you take care of the land, ‘the land will take care of you.'” They also had a chance to meet the Governor of West Virginia before heading out to Pipestem State Park.

Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National & Community Service has also headed to the event to tour sites and volunteer. Numerous crews from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps are also there to help execute and supervise projects.

Mary Ellen Ardouny, President & CEO of The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps will also attend. “This is an amazing event and a large share of the credit should go to Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia which has worked for more than two years to pull this event off seamlessly and by engaging a wide number of partners.”