Affinity and Identity-Based Crews and Programs

Empowering the Next Generation of Trails Professionals through Shared Experiences

The purpose of this guide is to highlight the work of service and conservation Corps who develop and manage identity-based programs and crews, discuss the intention and purpose of these crews, why they are important, and how they have been transformational experiences for Corpsmembers and partners.

by The Corps Network

Affinity and Identity-Based Crews and Programs

Introduction

The purpose of this guide is to highlight the work of service and conservation Corps
who have experience managing affinity and identity-based programs and crews.
The following case studies will discuss partnership and project development with Corps, agencies, and sponsoring entities, and discuss the intention and purpose of these crews, why they are important, and how they have been transformational experiences for the Corpsmembers. It’s important to note that affinity crews receive the same training, development, oversight, and management as other traditional crew-based models. However, there are specific identity-based components that make the programming experience unique for the community of young people the crew is meant to serve.

There’s no one way to define an affinity crew’s intention or purpose. Some Corps
may explore using affinity crews as a mechanism for outreaching and recruiting from populations of individuals they’ve historically had difficulty connecting with, build organizational cultural competency and inclusive practices, and use this crew model to act upon their organizational values and social justice efforts. There are some Corps who have made conscious efforts in outreaching to particular communities but don’t consider their efforts to be affinity or identity-based in nature - although from an outsider’s point of view they may fit that definition. The case studies and examples in this guidebook intend to feature corps Affinity crews with varying intentions, purposes, and goals and will not adopt one definition for what this type of program is and what its purpose should be.

Attached document published February 2023

About the Author


Corps are locally-based organizations that engage young adults and post-9/11 veterans in service addressing recreation, conservation, disaster response, and community needs. Through a defined term of service, Corps participants – or “Corpsmembers” – gain work experience and develop in-demand skills.

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