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SBDC @ Northern New Mexico College

The Chimayó Youth Conservation Corps (CYCC), a non-profit community-based organization, was founded in 2001 by Suellen Strale, CEO. CYCC mission is to provide area youth alternatives through experiential education, vocational skills training, certifications, entrepreneurial opportunities and employment to improve their quality of life, sustain long-term careers in rural communities throughout northern New Mexico. By promoting young adults as a valuable resource CYCC remains committed to the conservation, restoration and preservation of northern New Mexico’s present and future cultural traditions and heritage. The economic development benefits of training and employing over 100 Corps Members annually, along with the purchase of local supplies for projects and services, has made a significant contribution to the local economy.

Over the years, as Corps Members graduated through the program, CYCC evolved into the Chimayo Conservation Corps (CCC), a professional environmental conservation career development program providing vocational training in forest ecology, wildfire risk reduction, watershed, rivers, and steams restoration, and environmental science. To date, CCC has incubated small businesses for program graduate entrepreneurs, who continue to implement CCC’s grants and contracts for the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico Association of Counties, NM State Trust Lands, NM Environmental Department-Surface Water Quality Bureau, NM Department of Game and Fish, Interstate Stream Commission, NM Acequia Association, and community-based projects. Utilizing our environmental conservation model as a method of prevention and harm reduction for youth and young adults earned CYCC federal status as a Best Practices Program.

Cultural and Heritage Programs include: Traditional Lands Preservation, Cultural and Historic Preservation, Community Youth Forum, Youth/Elders-Intergenerational Program, AncianosnLow-Income/Disabled Initiative, Traditional Agriculture, Landscape and Greenhouse Design/Construction, Drip Irrigation, Adobe Production/Construction, Parks and Sustainable Trails Construction, Tree Farming, Forestry, Reforestation, Wildfire Prevention/Urban Interface Risk Reduction, Preservation of Wildlife and Riparian Habitat, Watershed/Rivers and Streams Restoration, Acequia Dam Diversion and Preservation Projects, Erosion Control, and Invasive Species Eradication.

CCC’s 2017 Strategic Plan /Growth plan continues the preservation of our cultural heritage by providing an innovative training and apprenticeship program, in partnership with local artists, studios and business owners, focused on the rejuvenation of the traditional arts, by placing CCC trainees in local galleries, restaurants, and private businesses throughout Chimayo and rural-frontier communities throughout northern New Mexico. Suellen is also interested in introducing this model of community revitalization globally. Suellen has forty-four years of experience in Youth Services Program development. Her formal education incorporated Special Education with a Masters Degree in Behavioral Science in addition to extensive courses in Art, Communications, and Business Management.

“CCC has received tremendous support from the Espanola Small Business Development Center (SBDC) over the years, benefiting from their programs high quality consulting services as well as their access to local, state, national and global resources.”