CCA's New Team Member

A new avenue for reaching the community has arrived at CCA through the Department of Interior / Volunteer in Service to America (DOI/VISTA) program. Despite the wordy title, the goal of DOI/VISTA is simple; end poverty. Americorps VISTA was started in 1965 as a domestic version of the Peacecorps. After 50 years of poverty focused work, the VISTA program expanded the scope of its mission to include Conservation Legacy putting VISTAs to work building a new generation of public land advocates. Ryan McConnell, CCA’s VISTA, is a recent graduate from Colorado Mesa University (CMU) who developed the CMU Sustainability Council from a volunteer run club into a student organization with seven paid positions. Through the VISTA program, CCA will expand their capacity to reach the community and protect the land by building sustainable projects. In addition to capacity building, McConnell will be implementing research to understand the Hispanic community’s use of the NCA lands. To engage the Hispanic community according to their desires and interests, CCA is using a community based approach to the research. CCA will involve key partners from the Hispanic community to guide research questions and build programs based on the results. CCA will have a VISTA working on capacity building and diversity projects for the next three years. Projects started by McConnell, the first VISTA at CCA, will be carried on by the next VISTA who will continue to improve CCA as they contribute their own ideas and time.