2016 Project of the Year: YVC of Muskogee, OK


Each year, youth serve on thousands of projects with Youth Volunteer Corps programs across the U.S. and Canada. This past year, a total of 4,050 different projects were completed through YVC! YVC Youth Volunteers serve their communities in a variety of ways – from projects at retirement homes to thrift stores and community gardens to river banks.

At the annual YVC Summit, we announce the Project of the Year Award to honor the most engaging of these service projects that integrates high-quality service-learning.

Congratulations to YVC of Muskogee, hosted by Muskogee Parks and Recreation, for the 2016 Project of the Year! They earned this honor for their project called “Animal Antics” that was done with the Parks and Recreation’s Bark Park, a community dog park.

We loved this project because it’s a great example of how service can truly be fun!

On Tuesdays and Thursdays this summer, youth walked and washed dogs at the animal shelter. On Mondays, they worked at the new Bark Park demonstrating and cleaning the equipment, passing out information on summer pet care, and giving away homemade dog biscuits. On Wednesdays, they had a table at the local Farmer’s Market with information on adoptable animals.

“It was wonderful how the community, agencies, individuals, and an energetic group of youth who love animals, worked together to make Animal Antics such a successful project,” said Eileen VanKirk, program director for YVC of Muskogee.

In addition to their Monday – Thursday project schedule, they collected cans and other donations for P.A.W.S (Promoting Animal Welfare Association) and Coins for Critters. Each week they visited a different local organization or individual who was actively involved in responsible pet ownership, including a vet’s office, an emergency center for injured animals and local pet stores.

“Our Youth Volunteers’ amazing energy and desire to do that ‘one more thing’ and talk to ‘one more group’ was so inspiring to me and the groups we worked with,” said Eileen. “I think the youth even surprised themselves at how much they accomplished.”

Here at YVC we are dedicated to making sure that every service project is not only beneficial to the community, but also presents service-learning in a fun environment, and this project did just that. Everyone involved in Animal Antics learned a lot about pet adoption and ownership, and YVC of Muskogee has plans to incorporate elements of the project into their school-year program.

The 2016 Program Director of the Year was announced during the Award Ceremony at the YVC Summit. We’re celebrating the 2016 award winners this week on the blog. Read about this year’s Affiliate of the Year, Program Director of the Year, and stay tuned to meet this year’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year, New Affiliate of the Year and more.

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