Fourth of July in Brookiln

Brooklin Youth Corps

Every summer, kids in red t-shirts dot the Brooklin landscape.

They are the Brooklin Youth Corps, local teenagers who spend up to 30 hours a week earning minimum wage doing chores for homeowners as well as public service projects around town.

With the guidance of local farmers and support from the the Maine Farmland Trust, the BYC also tends an organic vegetable garden planted by students at the local school. (The BYCers sell the summer produce at the Brooklin Farmers Market, and the fall harvest is included in the school lunch program.) They’re encouraged to goof off occasionally, too—going swimming on a hot day, for instance.

The Youth Corps runs the Town’s Fourth of July barbeque at the town green.

The BYC is a municipal program started in 1997 by the selectmen and citizens of the town with tax dollars and support from a two-year Community Development Block Grant. Nowadays, town support for the program is supplemented by grants and charitable donations as well as the contributions of homeowners who hire the BYCers.

The program’s goal is to help teenagers develop an appreciation for the value of teamwork, as well as a good work ethic and basic job skills. BYCers learn that a job well done yields the best results for everyone.

The BYC is overseen by a steering committee of citizens. A paid coordinator and garden supervisor work with the teens during the summer, organizing their activities and providing guidance. The program operates out of the Brooklin School building.