Overview of the Youth Program Policy

140 FW 1
FWM Number
Originating Office
Division of Facilities and Operations (NCTC)

1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter:

A. Encourages U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees to engage, educate, and employ young Americans in an inclusive workplace;

B. Provides a framework to accomplish this by encouraging flexibility, creativity, and partnerships, and by using all resources available;

C. Outlines the wide variety of complementary programs and opportunities through which employees may engage, educate, and employ youth, partners, volunteers, and others in quality experiences while performing the Service’s conservation mission;

D. Provides an overview of the Service’s youth programs described in the chapters identified in section 1.4 of this policy;

E. Describes the overall roles and responsibilities of our employees related to youth programs; and

F. Identifies and links to youth engagement, education, and employment program policies in other sections of the Service Manual so that employees can see the entire spectrum of relevant policy (see Table 1-3).

1.2 What is the Service’s youth program policy?  It is our policy to empower our employees and partners to develop the next generation of conservation and community leaders. This development process continuum begins with pre-kindergarten children and continues throughout their early adult life. The goals of the policy are to:

A. Engage youth from all backgrounds and geographic locations in the mission of the Service by providing them with opportunities to connect with and learn about plants, fish, wildlife, and their habitats;

B. Educate youth about natural resource conservation ethics/land stewardship; introduce them to the Service mission, lands, waters, wildlife, culture, and heritage; and challenge them to become involved in the management and conservation of natural and cultural resources; and

C. Employ youth to conserve, protect, and restore our environment.

1.3 What are the general parameters for the Service’s involvement in youth programs and activities?

A. In carrying out its youth programs, the Service may:

(1) Provide funding to inclusive Youth Partnership Organizations (YPOs) that do not discriminate based on sex, race, national origin, color, religion, age, disability, political affiliation, status as a parent, or genetic information; and

(2) Provide in-kind support to inclusive YPOs that do not discriminate based on sex, race, national origin, color, religion, age, disability, political affiliation, status as a parent, or genetic information.

B.  Allow employees official duty time to directly assist youth who are members of any inclusive YPO in carrying out programs and activities that further the mission of the Service.

(1) The Service may engage any inclusive YPOs or their members on Service lands and facilities in accordance with established public use policies or approved special use. 

(2)  Service employees may attend meetings and events sponsored by YPOs that further the mission of the Service.

1.4 What is the scope of the youth program series (Parts 140 – 149)?  Table 1-1 identifies the specific policies that will become Parts 140 – 149 of the Service Manual.

Table 1-1: Youth Programs (Parts 140-149)

Parts and ChaptersTitles
Part 140 – Overview of the Service’s Youth Programs
140 FW 1Overview of the Youth Program Policy
140 FW 2TBD
Part 141 – Youth  Employment Programs
141 FW 1Youth Conservation Corps (under development)
141 FW 2Public Lands Corps  (under development)
141 FW 3Youth Partnership Employment (i.e., Student Conservation Association (SCA), Youth Corps, Academic Institutions, etc.) (under development)
141 FW 4TBD
141 FW 5TBD
Part 142 – Youth Engagement and Education Program Partnerships
142 FW 1Youth Partnerships Organizations (YPOs)
142 FW 2TBD
142 FW 3Job Corps

1.5 What are the authorities for supporting youth programs?

A. Outdoor Recreation Programs, Powers and Duties of the Secretary of the Interior – Technical Assistance and Advice; Cooperation with States and Private Interests; Research and Education (16 U.S.C. 460L-1(d) & (f)).

B. The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661).

C. Youth Conservation Corps Act of 1972 (Public Law 93-408).

D. Public Land Corps Act of 1993 (16 U.S.C. 1721-1726).

E. National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd-ee).

F.  National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-242 as amended by Public Law 108-327).

G. National Fish Hatchery System Volunteer Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-360).

H. U.S. Office of Personnel Management Regulations; Excepted Service, Career and Career-Conditional Employment, and Pathways Program (5 CFR Parts 213, 302, 315, 330, 334, 362, 531, 536, 537, 550, 575, and 890).

I. United States Department of the Interior Personnel Bulletin Number 11-02: Departmental Policy on Public Land Corps Hiring Authority, January 2011.

J. United States Department of the Interior Secretarial Order Number 3286, Establishment of the Office of Youth in Natural Resources, January 2010.

1.6 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

A. Volunteers are individuals or groups who provide services without salary or wage compensation from the Service.  For more information about the Volunteer Services Program, see 150 FW 1-3.

B. Youth are people up to and including age 25, unless otherwise noted in specific Service Manual chapters.

C. Youth Programs are Service and partnership programs that span the continuum of engaging, educating, or employing young people throughout their lives, beginning with children in pre-kindergarten ages through age 25.

1.7 Who in the Service has overall responsibilities for youth programs? See Table 1-2.

Table 1-2: Overall Responsibilities for the Service’s Youth Programs

These employees…Are responsible for…
A. The Director

(1) Ensuring that the Service maintains an effective and comprehensive youth program, and

(2) Approving youth program policy.

B. The Director – National Conservation Training Center (NCTC)

(1)  Revising and updating this chapter, as necessary, in cooperation with the National Wildlife Refuge System and other appropriate Service programs conducting youth activities;

(2) Designating an NCTC representative to serve as the national coordinator for Service youth teams; 

(3)  Providing training opportunities for youth management-related skills to Service employees and others working with youth; and

(4)  Co-leading Service coordination of youth programs with the Chief – National Wildlife Refuge System and serving as co-liaison between the Department of the Interior and the Service.

C.  Chief – National Wildlife Refuge System

(1)  Revising and updating this chapter, as necessary, in cooperation with the Director – NCTC; and

(2)  Co-leading Service coordination of youth programs with the Director – NCTC and serving as co-liaison between the Department of the Interior and the Service.

D. Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital (through the Division of Human Resources)Interpreting the requirements and resolving Servicewide issues and questions about Part 141 - Youth Employment Programs.
E. Directorate members

(1) Ensuring that there are sufficient resources, support, and oversight in place to implement effective and comprehensive youth programs within their areas of responsibility;

(2) Designating Regional/program representatives for internal Service youth teams; and

(3)  Interpreting the requirements of this and the other chapters in Parts 140-149 of the Service Manual and resolving Servicewide issues and questions about youth programs.

F. Youth-Related Regional/Program Coordinators

(1) Advising managers, Project Leaders, and volunteer supervisors and coordinators on implementing youth programs in their Regions/programs;

(2) Providing guidance and assistance to employees and potential employees about youth programs;

(3) Recommending and developing youth program training, as appropriate;

(4) Helping to evaluate how well duty stations are meeting Servicewide youth program policy; and

(5) Assisting with data collection in response to official requests from the Department.

G. Supervisors and Managers

(1) Supporting the goals of the Service to engage, educate, and employ youth; and

(2) Ensuring that employees working with youth programs receive appropriate training and resources to effectively accomplish these goals while meeting the Service’s mission.

H. All EmployeesDeveloping, implementing, and participating in Service programs that engage, educate, and employ the nation’s youth, when appropriate and authorized by their supervisors.

1.8 What other policies in the Service Manual are either relevant to youth programs or mention them directly?  See Table 1-3.

Table 1-3: Other Policies in the Service Manual Relevant to Youth Programs

Citation(s)Policy TitleDescription

Service Management (000)

Equal Opportunity (060 – 069)

064 FW 1 – 3Minority Higher EducationInclude policies related to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities, and Tribal/Alaska Native Higher Education Consortium.

External Relations and Outreach (100)

Education (130-139)

131 FW 1 - 5Environmental Education (EE)Provide overall guidance for Service employees responsible for EE to advance public awareness, understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of the functions of ecosystems and the benefits of their management for fish, wildlife, and people.

External Relations and Outreach (100)

Volunteers (150-159)

150 FW 1 – 3VolunteersInclude policies, procedures, and responsibilities for acceptance of volunteer services and apply to personnel working with individuals, groups, and students who dedicate time and talent to assist the Service.

Administration (200)

Personnel (220-229)

TBDPathways Program (under development)Provides a clear path to Federal internships and potential careers in Government for students and recent graduates.  The Pathways Program consists of the Internship Program, the Recent Graduates Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows Program.

Administration (200)

Occupational Safety and Health (240-249)

240 FW 9Safety for Volunteer and Youth/Collegiate Program ParticipantsIncludes policies and responsibilities to ensure that volunteers and youth/collegiate program activities are conducted in a safe and healthful manner.

Interagency, Intergovernmental, and International Activities (500)

Federal Financial Assistance (515 – 529)

517 FW 10State Wildlife GrantsProvides eligibility standards and administrative procedures for grants in the State Wildlife Grants – Mandatory Subprogram.  Key objectives of the program include education, which is defined as any action or effort intended to increase the public’s knowledge or understanding of wildlife or wildlife conservation and management through instruction or distribution of materials. It provides general information about conservation and management programs, actions, or activities.
522 FW 13Hunter/Aquatic EducationProvides guidance on grants to support the State hunter education and aquatic resource education programs.

Land Use and Management (600)

Refuge Management (601 – 609)

605 FW 1 – 7Wildlife-Dependent RecreationProvide Service policies, strategies, and requirements concerning the management of wildlife-dependent recreation programs within the National Wildlife Refuge System, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, EE, and interpretation.

Land Use and Management (600)

Natural and Cultural Resource Management (610 – 619)

610 FW 2Wilderness Administration and Resource StewardshipProvides specific direction and guidance on administration of refuge wilderness.  Uses include those identified in chapters 605 FW 1-7.

Land Use and Management (600)

Management of Non-Owned Lands (640 – 649)

640 FW 1Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners)As the Service’s primary mechanism for delivering voluntary, on-the-ground habitat improvement projects on private lands for the benefit of Federal trust species, key Partners program objectives include broadening public understanding of the importance of fish and wildlife conservation, encouraging public participation in restoration projects, and developing and distributing education materials that illustrate habitat improvement accomplishments.

Population Management (700)

Migratory Birds (720 – 729)

720 FW 2Service Responsibilities to Protect Migratory BirdsIdentifies specific responsibilities of the Service, including the promotion of education and outreach activities, such as International Migratory Bird Day, the Junior Duck Stamp Program, Urban Conservation Treaties, Hunter Education, and the Shorebird Sister Schools Program.

Special Programs (900)

Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (901)

901 FW 5Junior Duck Stamp ProgramIssued by the U.S. Government to produce revenue for conservation education awards and scholarships, the program uses a visual arts-based approach to teach scientific and wildlife management principles and focus public attention on wetlands and waterfowl conservation for children in grades K-12.

Special Programs (900)

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - NFWF (903)

903 FW 1Relationship to the ServiceNFWF’s conservation goals include: habitat protection and restoration; fish, wildlife, and plant resource policy development; EE and leadership training for wildlife professionals; education programs for the general public; and natural resource management.