Service Knowledge Youth (SKY Program)

The SKY program provides students with an outdoor-based work experience blended with academic and trade instruction. SKY teaches job skills, teamwork and stewardship of public lands while providing an opportunity to earn academic credit through a combination of classroom activities, conservation projects and outdoor experiences.

By working on a variety of outdoor projects, SKY participants take responsibility and gain leadership skills by applying knowledge and teamwork toward solving real-life problems. Through participating in several day-long outdoor education experiences and extended overnight camping excursions, SKY participants achieve personal growth, positive social experiences, teamwork, goal setting and the rewards of personal and group accomplishment. Where many of today's youth are disengaged from their environment, SKY seeks to inspire them with it. Where many feel underused and neglected, SKY seeks to challenge them by raising their expectations.

Where many are lonely or caught up in negative social situations, SKY seeks to unite them together in a positive outdoor work environment. Where many severely limit their futures by making poor decisions, SKY seeks to nurture personal integrity and positive behaviors by helping the youth set and accomplish personal and career goals.

SKY Quilcene Ranger Corps

Since 2002, in partnership with Washington State University, the PNTA works with 4-H youth, ages 13 – 15 out of the extension office at Chimicum, WA. These young people do trail work and other various natural resource projects on the Hood Canal Ranger District for the USFS. These students are paid a volunteer stipend for their summers work. SKY Education Crews – since 2001, a partnership with various school districts along the corridor of the PNNST, these students age 15-18 are classified at-risk youth. The students are normally led in their summer work, both classroom and trail, by a local teacher. Each district varies as to subject matter and credits that can be earned, but each student can earn two school credits upon completion of the summer. The students earn minimum wage for the hours spent working on trail projects, most often along the PNNST. Programs are solely based on the availability of grants the PNTA receives for the various Regions along the Trail.

SKY Performance Crews

A lot of young people wanted to work on the Trail who didn't qualify for the "at-risk" educational programs, so in 2004 the PNTA created this program. Here again the number of young people employed is based solely on the availability of the PNTA to raise non-federal and grant dollars. These crews are expected to put in full days of work, just as they would in any workplace, and have shown that given the opportunity they can produce a professional product. Some of these young people come back year-after-year, moving up from crew member to senior crew member, then to assistant crew leaders and on to being crew leaders during their college years.

SKY Job Corps

Since 2003, a partnership with Department of Labor and Cascades Job Corps Center in Sedro-Woolley, WA, these young adults, ages 16-21, perform a myriad of projects. They may be dismantling a structure for the USFS, prior to a new structure going in, building a bridge, restoring a trailhead or campground, or performing trail work. The PNTA provides a work-based training environment for these young people entering the various trades at the Job Corps Center. Each group of five works with the PNTAs Staff for 4-weeks, then rotate into the trade they've chosen. This program is funded mainly with contract monies from the USFS, NPS, WADNR, or private landowners.