Idaho Conservation Corps

Idaho Conservation Corps is a state wide program of Northwest Youth Corps. Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) was started in 1982—during a tough economic period—with the mission of helping youth and young adults to learn, grow, and experience success. Since that time, NYC has helped 17,000 diverse young people benefit from education, leadership, empowerment, and challenge, while completing high priority resource management objectives across the state. Annually NYC crews carry out 180,000 hours of projects such as invasive plant removal, riparian planting, stream restoration, fence construction, and trail maintenance for a variety of federal, state, and local partners.

Idaho Conservation Corps offers a challenging education and job-training experience that helps youth and young adults from diverse backgrounds develop the skills they need to lead full and productive lives.

Our core purpose is to provide opportunities for youth and young adults to learn, grow, and experience success.  Our programs focus on education, challenge, community, leadership and empowerment, giving youth critical life skills and confidence. Programs stress teamwork, inclusion, and leadership while promoting a solid work ethic and individual achievement. Youth leave Idaho Conservation Corps knowing that they can overcome obstacles, solve problems, make friends, and attain their objectives in life.

Contact Us

For all general questions contact:

 (208) 615-2726 

For questions about partnering with ICC or hiring ICC crews contact:
Tom Helmer, ICC Director 

(208) 615-4801

Our Staff and Contact Information

Tom Helmer, State Director, - Tom’s first experience working outdoors came in the late ’90s as a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew, where he became accustomed to long days and calloused hands. In 2002, Tom joined Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) first as a crewleader, and later as a Woodsboss and Program Coordinator in NYC’s Youth Corps department. In 2010 he took the position as OutDoor Oregon Program Director and in 2013 started the NYC’s Community Conservation Corps program. He also spent time as the Senior Field Operations Coordinator with the Coconino Rural Environment Corps and as a crew leader for the Youth Corps of Southern Arizona (both now part of the Arizona Conservation Corps). Tom was previously a member of the Pinnacles National Monument Trail Crew in California, and was once a timber framer in Vermont. Tom earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources from Paul Smiths College in Upstate New York. When not working, he enjoys free heeling, good music, running a chainsaw, moving large rocks, hiking, riding his bike, and the local sports team.

Kait Lemon, Panhandle Coordinator, - Kait began her conservation corps career as a Crew Leader in Oregon, and then in Washington, with the Northwest Youth Corps. After a year in Colorado working as a Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service, she returned and joined the Idaho Conservation Corps crew as a Woodsboss. A former field biologist, Kait earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Management and subsequently worked as a wildlife biologist in Costa Rica, Hawaii and Montana, and as a field ecologist in Michigan. Kait also works as a graphic designer for her family’s business, and has worked as a restaurant manager and professional photographer to fuel her ski bum lifestyle at resorts in Colorado. A wandering dreamer and explorer of adventure, Kait spends her free time making music, backpacking, snowboarding, paddle boarding, and fire hooping. She also has a dog named Lexi, who is her hero, and her role model for life.

Chelsy Frakes, Program Coordinator, - Chelsy began her time with NYC and ICC in 2010 as a youth participant. She was so moved by her experience that she went on to complete NYC’s Backcountry Leadership Program and Leadership Development Program. She continued up the NYC ranks as a Crew Leader and later as a Woods Boss. Most recently, Chelsy spent a few summers working with the United States Forest Service as a wild land firefighter where she gained experience in forest ecology and fire suppression/prevention before returning to NYC/ICC to fulfill her passion for giving back to her community and inspiring the next generation. Her previous experiences have led Chelsy to wholeheartedly believe in teamwork, inclusion, and leadership development while promoting a solid work ethic and individual achievement. Outside of ICC Chelsy works toward a degree in Biology with a Heath Care emphasis. She has earned her certification in Emergency Medicine and is focused on risk management and the safety of all participates. In her free time Chelsy takes pleasure in practicing yoga, long runs, and spending time with her sisters in her hometown of Boise.

Emma Stammer, Internship Coordinator, - Emma returned to the Northwest Youth Corps and Idaho Conservation Corps family after serving as an AmeriCorps member with NYC's first run of the Community Conservation Corps (now known as NSC/ISC) in 2014. That sparked her AmeriCorps journey and she went on to serve two terms with the City of Vancouver Urban Forestry and Friends of Trees. Passionate about hands-on learning and community involvement, she has worked as an environmental educator and volunteer coordinator. After living in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, Emma found her way to Idaho and ICC. When not working, she enjoys hiking, drinking coffee and tending to her composting worms.