West Virginia READY
2024 Project Year
After a successful pilot year, In conjunction with our 32-week WV READY program, Stewards IP and Appalachian Conservation Corps are proud to announce our WV READY 2023-2024 project year, focusing on needs to grow or support our partners' outdoor economic projects. These members will assist their host sites with seasonal outdoor programs, youth development opportunities, asset mapping and identification, and provide communications and other marketing assistance for local outdoor opportunities. READY to make a difference in your community? We're excited to partner with you! Site applications are due Friday, September 15 by end of day. Fill out yours here.
Launched in 2022, the West Virginia Rural Engagement Ambassadors for Development and Youth (WV READY) is a new program that pairs AmeriCorps members with governmental and nongovernmental agencies to assess, develop, and grow West Virginia’s regional outdoor recreation economy. WV READY combines community organizing with rural economic development. Strategically placed in communities across the state, these individuals will strengthen current and emerging programs.
Our partnership with our sister program Appalachian Conservation Corps provides us with a unique opportunity to offer strategic conservation crew efforts following the work completed by the READY intern. This not only lends itself favorably to the sites but creates additional opportunities for West Virginian youth seeking experience in conservation.
“Seeing people who have the same investment in improving quality of life for communities and can see how special West Virginia is. In the back of my mind, I’ve always thought that I was going to have to leave the state to have a good future, even though this is home. I had the chance to see people who have made it here and enjoy what they do. We were shown that it is possible...”
- Anonymous feedback from 2023 WV READY member training
According to the West Virginia Tourism Office, the state’s tourism industry supported 44,400 jobs in 2022, and, traveler spending increased to $4.9 billion, $1.3 billion in earnings, and $754 million in state and local tax revenue. The outdoor recreation economy now supports more than 18,000 jobs throughout the state.
In order to assist with the careful work towards developing and expanding this economic sector in West Virginia, READY members will provide support for the following:
- Create a community asset map to determine best avenues to spur the outdoor economy in assigned communities
- Identify outdoor economy plans created, but not quite yet implemented
- Help explore the community’s abundant economic opportunities and assets
Previous projects and member activities have included:
- Building and supporting outdoor education camps for youth
- Outdoor community event planning
- Mapping regional recreation sites
- Initiating recycling programs
- Managing volunteers for litter cleanup/park beautification events
- Outdoor educational outreach programs
- Mountain bike trail maintenance planning
- community outreach/ grassroots movement
Interested in becoming a WV READY member? Stay tuned for employment opportunities!
Jefferson County Parks encompasses 9 county parks on over 400 acres of land, including trails, playgrounds, athletic fields, an amphitheater, and the community center. The Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission developed their master plan in 2016 to guide their vision for the future of the region. Members with the JCPRC will assist in implanting their master plan, holding community engagement events, mapping the regional recreation assets, gathering public input on on-going and upcoming projects, and developing and implementing trail project improvement plans.
The Princeton Economic Development Authority is a recent component unit of the City of Princeton, whose goal is to promote, develop, and advance business in the city. The city’s multimillion dollar construction plans will include swimming pools, splash pads, three basketball courts, an indoor soccer stadium, and a community play space. Members with the PEDA will engage in small-scale trail development, assist property owners and key stakeholders with asset mapping, and provide support for marketing the city’s new phased project construction plan.
As Nitro becomes a hub of travel for sports and related activities, this member will be responsible for supporting the city's growing athletic complexes and city park development. Additionally, as the city seeks to build additional trails, this member will support the city's initiative creating a volunteer group to develop and maintain the trail system, while growing the city's parks and recreation department.
The West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA) is one of West Virginia's oldest statewide nonprofit organizations representing cyclists. The organization started with a focus on being the sanctioning body for the statewide race series, working on government policy and its impact on access, and increasing the number of people on bikes in West Virginia. WV READY members with WVMBA will build a robust web presence, work in collaboration with partner organizations to organize community programming opportunities throughout the year, and create a community asset map to spur outdoor economic development.
WV READY members with the city of Belington will be responsible for supporting the Board of Parks' public spaces, half-mile walking trail, and three main park facilities, as the city grows to create permanent positions with the Board of Parks and prioritizing community engagement opportunities. This member will support the improvement of the long-running youth basketball program with additional volunteers and developing a strategic plan, in conjunction with the city council, to identify health areas of improvement.
The 1971 Regional Planning & Development Act and reenacted West Virginia Code, Chapter 8, Article 25, mandated that West Virginia be divided into 11 regions to serve as "development districts" to more effectively utilize funding resources and maximize small communities' chances of attracting funds from federal, state, and local organizations to foster community and cooperation throughout the state.
Region I is one of eleven regional councils in the state, comprising McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming Counties. Region I provides development and strategies to balance land use strategy and to encourage and orderly, flexible, and well-managed land system. READY members will assist with the active Rail to Trail projects in the region, supporting agency collaborations, asset mapping for the region's outdoor recreation opportunities, and providing project management for GIS mapping.
Region IV consists of Fayette, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, and Webster Counties. It is one of eleven councils in the state, guided by their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. READY members will support Region IV by supporting its development plans for trail initiatives in all five serviced counties, developing local workforce assets to construct and maintain trails of various type, and using GIS documentation to gather information on technical skills needed for trail maintenance and new construction.
|National Service Category
|Stewards WVREADY Fellow - Town of Fayetteville
|Stewards WVREADY Fellow - Explore Summers County
|Stewards WVREADY Fellow - City of Bluefield
|Stewards WVREADY Fellow - Ohio County Solid Waste Authority
For questions about the WV READY program, please contact:
Stewards is proud to partner with Volunteer West Virginia in support of the WV READY program.