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The Camarillo Center is located on the California State University, Channel Islands campus in Ventura County between Santa Barbara and the San Fernando Valley. The site is reminiscent of a hidden mountain Spanish village and enjoys a very mild climate year round. Nearby scenic areas include the Los Padres National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains, the Channel Islands as well as coastal communities from Malibu to Santa Barbara. Constructed in the 1930s of stucco and tile in the Spanish tradition, our facility was once home to the Camarillo State Hospital. Housing for Corpsmembers is similar to college dormitories with two to four people sharing a room. The facility includes a comfortable library, classroom, lounge and common areas plus a kitchen with central dining a popular cook!

Our address is:
1878 South Lewis Rd. Unit 60
Camarillo, CA 93010

The town of Camarillo is quite a long walking distance away, but there is bus service provided by the university for a nominal fee. Our CCC recreation unit coordinates trips to local stores, movies, parks, basketball games, beaches and many other exciting, entertaining events. Corpsmembers must lend a hand in the planning, logistics, driving, but are encouraged to participate since these activities increase group unity and broaden the CCC experience. The surrounding locale offers numerous educational, cultural and recreational activities. Camarillo is in reasonable proximity to a myriad of activities in the greater Los Angeles area including Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, beaches, camping areas, outlet shops and malls.

We are part of the CCC Southern District. At full strength, we engage more than 60 Corpsmembers in meaningful environmental, public service and educational activities. The CCC Program has been located in Camarillo since 1977.

Our center sphere of influence stretches across the beautiful Los Padres Mountains to the Pacific Ocean including Southern Santa Barbara County, all of Ventura County on down to Northern Los Angeles County. This varied geography offers our Corpsmembers a wide variety of work-learn projects that are both mentally and physically challenging.


 Work Projects


Corpsmembers must work hard to develop a solid work ethic, and so the CCC demands a good deal from Corpsmembers during the work day. Our top priority on work projects is for safe and injury free employees. We want Corpsmembers to be efficient workers and to be challenged while learning about the environment, their peers and themselves. Crew supervisors hold in high regard the following traits: honesty, respect for co-workers and supervisor, clean language, teamwork, the "thinking worker” and a worker who enjoys and respects the environment.

Corpsmembers participate in a variety of conservation work projects. The projects are sponsored by federal, state, county and city agencies as well as nonprofit organizations. Typical partnering agencies include the State Department of Parks and Recreation, LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, California Department of Fish and Game, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), National Park Service, and various other environmentally related organizations.

We pride ourselves on providing a well rounded experience for Corpsmembers by involving them in a variety of demanding and educational projects such as watershed restoration, trail construction and maintenance, fence building, boardwalk construction, fish habitat and watershed restoration, park development and landscaping. Corpsmembers also respond to emergencies such as fires, floods, oil spills, pests and earthquakes.

The Camarillo Center has completed some very special “legacy” projects over the years. This would include projects such as the reconstruction of the Presido Chapel in Santa Barbara; the elevated boardwalk with disabled access at McGrath State Beach, and the construction of several miles of trail on the famous Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail.

For More Project Information Contact:
Terri Kirby @ (805) 484-4345, ext 16


 Education & Training


The CCC offers a variety of educational and training opportunities to all Corpsmembers. These activities assist Corpsmembers in improving their skills and broadening their knowledge. Participation in the education program is mandatory and Corpsmembers will attend a minimum of three hours a week. Educational scholarship dollars can be earned while in the CCC as well.

Classes are offered in the following categories:

  • Basic Education/Literacy Skill Classes - Improve skills in reading, math, grammar and writing.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) - Weekly sessions to help non-English speakers learn or improve their English.
  • High School Diploma and GED testing
  • Independent Study - Limited opportunity to enroll in college or independent study is offered to motivated Corpsmembers who have a GED or high school diploma.
  • Alternate CCC Classes - Special classes for Corpsmembers who have completed their core competency classes through ROP, independent study and other sources.
  • The CMD program is equipped with a classroom, library and computer learning lab.

We also encourage Corpsmembers to take advantage of promotional opportunities, leadership training (when offered), firefighting, drivers training/licenses, chainsaw certifications and other skill building opportunities offered by the CCC.


 Internships / Special Programs


The Camarillo Center currently offers internships with the city of Camarillo. There have been other internship sponsors in the past such as Caltrans, City of Simi Valley, the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the California Department of Forestry, and there is always a potential for new internship sponsors developing within Ventura County. Through the internship program, Corpsmembers report directly to the sponsor and can be either residential or non-residential. This opportunity offers Corpsmembers a more direct one on one training opportunity in a specific employment skill area. Corpsmembers are encouraged to take advantage of sponsor provided training as well as enrolling with local education providers for intern related training when available.

: The Camarillo Center and the Oxnard housing Authority (OHA) have partnered for several years in an effort to employ young adults from public housing into pre-apprentice construction work-learn training. OHA Corpsmembers assist with the demolition and construction of public housing units right in their own neighborhoods. Not only does this special program provide young men and women of Oxnard trade related training, but they also have the opportunity to improve their own community.

The Camarillo Center is currently developing a work-learn program that for the first time will bring meaningful fisheries and watershed restoration project work to the local area. Crews will work in creeks and surrounding watersheds utilizing tools such as a chainsaw, heavy duty rock drill, and griphoist to implement restoration projects that will forever benefit fragile watersheds and threatened fish populations including the Steelhead Trout. Crews will work with landowners, conservation groups, local, state and federal agencies to complete projects. Corpsmembers can make contacts for future employment opportunities with entities like state parks, fish and game and environmental consulting firms.

The CCC offers opportunities for Corpsmembers to be active in local communities. Community involvement is important and Corpsmembers are required to give 48 hours of community service during their year in order to be eligible for a CCC scholarship. The Camarillo Center location is approximately an hour and a half from the City of Los Angeles, the beaches and the mountains. This gives Corpsmembers the opportunity to volunteer on their own or be a part of a CCC sponsored activity for a variety of organizations and agencies. The Camarillo Center has adopted a local beach, actively volunteers for Special Olympics, AIDSWALK, the Chumash Indian festival, the Mission shelter homeless meal service, as well as assisting at street fairs and other community sponsored events when needed.


 Corpsmember Perspectives


Zizi Searles
The CCC is a youth program unlike none other. Whether you come from a poor family or a middle class one, whether you’re educated or not, spending a year in the CCC will teach you things about your life and yourself that no other place can because there’s no other place like this.

Hello my name is Zizi Searles. I have resided in the Camarillo Center now for approximately 9 months. Prior to coming to the CCC I had already had many different experiences. I believed that no place or environment could teach me anything I didn’t already know. Here’s a little bit of my background. I grew up in a bi-racial household (one African American parent and one Anglo one). At 18 I graduated from High School and attended college for two years. The summer after my sophomore year I had an internship at a magazine. I also began practicing the art of Yoga around the age of 20. So you can see, I had plenty of big headed reasons to think that I couldn’t be improved by such a thing as a work program that is manual labor based.

I originally joined the CCC because I was having difficulty finding a job that paid well. The scholarship offers sounded nice and I figured that within a few months of getting here I would leave and be somewhere with another job. My experience once I joined turned out to be a lot more beautiful, chaotic and different than any other experience I had ever had. So I sit here now trying to convey to you why I am still here and what I have learned thus far.

No matter how good of a worker you are the CCC will make you a better one if you let it. I learned that a job doesn’t simply consist of doing the physical work. A real job is about doing the physical work to the best of your ability and maintaining the calm, mentally positive attitude with your co-workers (who can be immature, annoying and lazy sometimes) and your supervisor (who, for whatever reasons you may or may not agree with). Trust me, developing this type of work ethic is a whole lot harder to do in real life than writing it on paper. Then again, if we don’t challenge ourselves to improve we can’t become better people with better lives to lead.

Yet the most important thing I learned at the CCC is to treat people with respect and to treat them as human. Most young people in America today come from closed social circles. That means that many poor black people grow up around other poor blacks; many Hispanics will only have known a Hispanic Culture and that way of doing things, and whites will have only really known other whites of similar economic status. As a result of this fact, I have seen many new Corpsmembers come in with all kinds of hang ups about other member’s race, sexual orientation, moral behavior, political points of views, religion, values (what’s important to an individual) ways of dressing, types of music, ways of speaking, etc… The people who end up making it a year here automatically learn to look beyond all those silly prejudices. They learn how to deal with people as people, not as people who are different than you. After a while you began to see there are only two classes of people in the CCC; the people who are working hard to accomplish their goals so they can have a better life, and the people who are too self-destructive to care. The ultimate cause of war and conflict in this world is people falling to respect each other, and to work out their differences in trust and goodwill. Since we live in America with people of all different ethnicities and backgrounds, it is absolutely essential to learn how to see where each human is from culturally. That’s it. If you’re looking for a pathway in life and haven’t figured it out yet come here. The CCC is an experience that can only help you become a better person if you let it.


Benson St Louis
I moved from Miami Florida to stay with some family in Los Angels California. I am originally from Haiti. It was about my second month in California that I noticed it was hard to find a job. I didn’t have any money for school, but I needed to earn a scholarship. I then found the California Conservation Corps which had much to offer including the three E’s: Education, Experience and Expertise. Before the Corps I would quit on anything I tried to do. In the CCC I have learned to develop proper work habits, a positive attitude and general safety on the job. I feel now that I am very qualified to do any job with the state that has to do with Conservation. I have been a professional at work. I can not stop working on a project until it is completed accurately and neatly. At first it was difficult getting alone with different people, but now my relationship with others is peace, care and happiness.

Now I serve the public doing educational activities that assist me in becoming more productive while enhancing California’s environment and communities. Before the Corps I had no time to exercise. I now have learned to build my muscle and strength in order to respond to emergencies like fires and the New Castle Disease Project. In the California Conservation Corps I’m also enrolled in the Americorps Scholarship Program. I have recently completed my HAZWOPER training (which is an oil spill clean up course), flood training, and a Career Development Course to help me get a job outside of the CCC. I have also have received additional training and education. I have now been with the CCC for about 8 months which has helped me save some money to further my education. After I get my scholarship I plan on studying to be Social Worker or a Youth Counselor.


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