Youth Program Director Matt Dunn and Interns on North Dome HikeThe Rush Creek staff includes a group of high-potential young adults who work as full-time paid seasonal interns. They leave the city and their normal lives behind and come to live and work in the mountains. Not only do they learn a specific trade, they live in a supportive community and enjoy outdoor experiences that challenge, motivate and inspire them as they plan for a successful life ahead.

Youth Interns Hiking Carlon Falls


Our Youth Development Program is foundational to our business.  It all started back in 2001, when we acquired Rush Creek’s sister property, Evergreen Lodge, after extensive efforts to determine the ideal business into which we could build a high-impact, fully integrated youth program.

Youth Hike Mount DanaOur program team includes numerous full-time staff who teach life skills and work one-on-one with our youth interns to help them both succeed during their time with us and plan next steps on their path to a self-sufficient, fulfilling life.

Rush Creek Front Desk Youth Hike on Yosemite Vernal Fall Trail


Since launching the Youth Program, we have served more than 500 interns at Rush Creek Lodge and our sister property, Evergreen Lodge. Our interns have collectively earned over $3.5 million and SAVED over $700,000 during their time with us. These savings have provided important stability as interns transition to their next steps in life.

This video offers heartfelt perspective from one of our graduates:

Meet Ashley, the 500th graduate of our Youth Program.Youth Rafting Trip


We started our fully self-funded Youth Program over 20 years ago at Evergreen Lodge, and we are proud to be a pioneering social purpose enterprise with both a business and a social mission.

Our work is more rewarding as a result of our Youth Program, and our guests can feel good knowing that, by staying with us, they are helping young people to gain experience and skills that they would not otherwise have access to and build momentum toward successful lives.

Youth at Yosemite Tunnel View


We are proud to join our sister property Evergreen Lodge to be among thousands of B Corporations globally who are using business as a force for good.

You are welcome to read the Rush Creek’s B Corporation profile here.

Youth Working in HousekeepingYouth Program Director Matt Dunn with Intern Graduate


We believe supportive employment helps young people build momentum in their lives and realize their fullest potential, and that the outdoors, and places like Yosemite in particular, should be accessible to everyone.

Key elements of our program include full-time work & job skills training, life-changing outdoor recreation experiences, group & individualized social service support, living in a supportive community, and investor-funded matched savings grants.

More details and fun facts are available in co-owner Lee Zimmerman’s blog post celebrating our 500th Intern:
“LEADING BY EXAMPLE: How our work/life program near Yosemite is helping young adults prepare for their futures.”

Or for an outsider’s point of view, take a look at Elizabeth MacBride’s Field Report in the Stanford Social Innovation Review: A Haven for Transitional Youth.

Youth Program Graduate Neta Johnson


For those 18-24 years old interested in applying for an internship, you can start your application here. We accept applications year-round and hire on a rolling basis.