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.

Ari Songer, Program Coordinator, - Ari began as an Outdoor Educator at Northwest Youth Corps’ Twin Rivers Charter School. When the school year ended, she transitioned into field work as a Crewleader in the Washington program. She continued working as a Crewleader for the Youth Corps Camping program in Oregon and eventually, moved out to Idaho as a Woodsboss. Ari developed her love for trails during her time spent working as a housekeeper in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Her other past lives include work as a farmhand, barista, language tutor, and model rocket builder. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Oregon and continues to follow her passion for educating youth by making education and youth empowerment a priority. Ari also spends her time growing food and biking.

Eric Oliver, Program Coordinator, - Eric started out as a Crew Leader for Idaho's Youth Corps Camping program before becoming a Program Coordinator. He grew up with New Hampshire's White Mountains as his backyard and has pursued the Great Outdoors ever since, whether bike touring in Latin America, ski instructing in Colorado, or hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail. Eric received a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Spanish from American University, and afterward worked on human rights policy advocacy in Washington, DC and Latin America. His combined experience has made him passionate about social and environmental issues and training the next generation of leaders in these fields. He also enjoys trail running, reading, and french fries.