By Mike Roots, Superintendent
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp
One young offender is going from the fire lines to the oil fields, earning a paycheck and reclaiming his life.
Evan Wells, 22, knew jobs would be difficult to find after being discharged from Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp, but he was determined to have a plan. Wells served 11 months as a firefighter at the camp, battling notable blazes such as the King and Sands fires.
Wells told Case Manager Bob Conrad he was interested in moving to North Dakota with his father and working in the oil fields upon his release to probation.
With information from the youth’s father, Conrad recommended probation allow him to go to North Dakota. If it fell through, the backup plan was to have Wells return to Bakersfield with his step-mother.
The oil company offered video conference job interviews for potential employees who were out of state.
Conrad called the company and made arrangements for Wells to interview for a job, with the video interview taking place at camp. Although nervous, he interviewed well, according to Conrad.
After the interview, Conrad followed up with a phone call to the probation officer assigned to Wells. He wanted to let him know of the interview and the possibility of Wells getting housing via the company if he got the job as an oil rigger.
This information was passed along in hopes the judge would grant probation to North Dakota. Through the hard work of Conrad, the judicial system and probation officer, Evan Wells landed a job and departed for a brighter future.
As of this writing, the employer is finalizing housing in North Dakota while Wells is coordinating with his probation officer to make the transfer.
Did you know?
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp is the oldest continuously operating fire camp in the country, founded in 1945.
What were they up to over the summer?
See the work of Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp firefighters over the summer in this previous story at http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/gallery/pine-grove-youth-conservation-camp-firefighters-have-busy-season/
Camp to turn 70 in 2015
In 2010, the camp marked 65 years with a big bash. Read about it at http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2010/03/pine-grove-camp-celebrates-65th-birthday-with-a-community-open-house/