Community Involvement, Division of Juvenile Justice, Rehabilitation

From Pine Grove, a holiday tradition continues

Two Pine Grove youth participants carry holiday trees through a lobby.
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp delivers fresh-cut holiday trees to CDCR headquarters.

Every year, youth from the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp deliver fresh cut holiday trees from Amador County to Division of Juvenile Justice facilities and CDCR headquarters in Sacramento. This year, they performed that delivery on December 7, greeted warmly by CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison.

Traditionally, Pine Grove youth create and donate more than 1,000 pine cone wreaths for distribution to Amador County businesses.

Due to declining population at the camp as DJJ realigns to counties, that project had to be abandoned this year. While DJJ facilities are set to close by June 30, 2023, Pine Grove will remain open. The camp will train justice-involved youth sent from contracting counties as wildland firefighters under the supervision of CAL FIRE.

When not training or fighting fires, crews typically work in state and county parks. There they clear streams, perform wild land fire prevention tasks, and do restoration work.

During the fire season, youth crews are involved in wildland fire suppression throughout the state, deploying to some of California’s biggest wildfires. Camp crews are also assigned to flood control activities.

The major emphasis of the camp program is to:

  • provide youths with employable skills
  • develop within them a strong emphasis on solid work habits.

In addition, youths receive leadership training within their crew structure.

For more on Pine Grove, the oldest continuously operating fire camp in California, watch this video, called A Special Place.

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