Winner of the Governor’s Award for Environmental and Economic Leadership


The C.R.E.W. is an environmentally oriented nonprofit youth leadership and employment organization. Founded in 1991, the C.R.E.W provides leadership and job training, paid employment and community service opportunities to local youth aged 14 to 26, while providing the resources needed to preserve, maintain, and improve public and private wild lands as well as to protect local communities against the threat of wildfire.


The C.R.E.W. has developed a replicable working model for community resource development in communities adjacent to public and private wild lands. The C.R.E.W. was founded in 1991 as a non-profit environmental, job training and employment program for male and female youth aged 14 to 26 as well as an environmental support organization that maintained and improved access to public lands by constructing, restoring and maintaining back country trails and campgrounds. To these have been added fire prevention support and environmental programs. Most of our employment services and community service opportunities are in public wild lands. The C.R.E.W. believes that paid employment is a vital component of the life altering experience shared by C.R.E.W. participants. Part-time employment is very difficult to find in rural communities. Youth work hard in wilderness settings, create new friends, learn new values, take great pride in the results of their work, get a regular paycheck, and acquire good employer references. Some also establish a career track in fire fighting and forestry. We focus primarily upon youth in areas adjacent to Federal, State, and County wild lands. The C.R.E.W. currently operates in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties where it contracts with the U.S. Forest Service, City and County fire prevention agencies, and private sector organizations. Each year we train and employ 100 male and female youths. They are trained in leadership, work habits and job skills, job safety, and respect for fellow workers and supervisors and vital life skills. Over 40% of C.R.E.W. participants are low income or at risk.