Dan Knapp Named New Executive Director of Conservation Corps of Long Beach

For Immediate Release

Date: December 15, 2015

Contacts:

Mike Bassett, Executive Director/CEO
Conservation Corps of Long Beach
340 Nieto Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90814
(562) 986-1249

 

Conservation Corps of Long Beach and Conservation Corps of Long Beach Gateway Cities Charter School Announces New Executive Director

The Selection Committee of the Conservation Corps of Long Beach and the Board of Directors of the Conservation Corps of Long Beach Gateway Cities Charter School are proud to announce the selection of Mr. Dan Knapp as the new Executive Director for the Conservation Corps of Long Beach and the Conservation Corps of Long Beach Gateway Charter School, succeeding Mr. Mike Bassett. Mr. Knapp will begin his duties February 1, 2016. Mike Bassett will be retiring in February, 2016 after serving as Executive Director for over 24 years. The selection was made after a nationwide search and selection process.

Dan Knapp’s resume includes over 19 years’ experience in the non-profit sector with extensive knowledge in project and business development, grant writing and agency advocacy. He comes to the Conservation Corps of Long Beach/ Conservation Corps of Long Beach Gateway Cities Charter School after serving as Deputy Director for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, the largest non-profit Conservation Corps in the nation. Dan is a graduate of California State University Long Beach and has served as a dedicated member of several local boards and groups including the California Center for Economic Initiatives, Southern California Mountains Foundation (Finance Committee Chair) and the Conservation Corps State Museum.

"As an ardent believer in the conservation corps model as a means for youth and community development, I’m honored and look forward to serving the greater Long Beach region as the new CEO of the Conservation Corps of Long Beach,” remarks Dan Knapp.  “I’m thrilled to join the CCLB team and excited to meet and work with the young people we serve!"

The Conservation Corps of Long Beach was established by a group of concerned business owners, local community leaders and citizens in 1987. The Corps has been serving young people 18-25 for the last 28 years, providing paid work experience and educational opportunities. In 2014, the Conservation Corps of Long Beach opened its own Charter School, the Conservation Corps of Long Beach Gateway Cities Charter School that serves 18-25 year olds looking to complete their high school diploma. For more information, contact Mike Bassett, Executive Director/CEO at (562) 986-1249.

How a Former Corpsmember Helps Current Corpsmembers: Mike Bridges' rise from Corpsmember to Supervisor


Where are they now? – Catching up with 2006 Corpsmember of the Year,
Michael Bridges


Mike receiving his award at The Corps Network 2006 National Conference in Washington, DC
 

Michael Bridges, formerly a Corpsmember with Conservation Corps of Long Beach, won Corpsmember of the Year in 2006 for his commitment to service. Read below to find out what he's been up to since accepting his award, or find out more about Mike and his Corps experience by reading his bio from our 2006 National Conference.

Michael Bridges followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined Conservation Corps of Long Beach in 2003. Mike had recently dropped out of high school and thought that becoming a Corpsmember would be a good way to get back on track.  

“I saw how it was changing the lives of some of the Corpsmembers and I realized really quickly that it was a second chance for me to get things going in own my life,” said Mike.

Mike progressed quickly at CCLB, ultimately moving through eight levels of the program. He served as a member of the Corps Council, was awarded seven Outstanding Achievement Awards, and earned more than $5,000 through the AmeriCorps Education Awards Program and the CCLB scholarship fund. Mike was so respected by his peers that they nominated him to speak at the CCLB graduation.

Though he had sometimes struggled in the traditional school system and subsequently dropped out, Mike felt that attending classes through CCLB was a positive and rewarding experience. He obtained his high school diploma within just one year of joining the Corps.

“There were fewer students than in a regular high school so we got a lot more attention than we would from the teachers in a traditional school. We got a lot more one-on-one attention,” said Mike.

Within a few years of receiving his diploma, Mike was promoted to a Supervisor position with CCLB. He’s been with the Corps ever since.

“What’s kept me here is that I’ve kind of grown into my position,” said Mike. “I like working with young people and trying to make a difference in their lives. I’m just trying to help give them that second chance that somebody once gave me. So I’m basically just returning the favor.”

As a Supervisor, Mike teaches new Corpsmebers some of the skills he learned from his own Supervisors when he was a Corpsmember. Among other projects, Mike has led his crews in landscaping, habitat restoration, stream cleaning, and litter and weed abatement efforts.

“None of my days are average working with young people, but basically I a) Ensure my Corpsmembers are safe when working in the field, and b) Ensure that they do the project properly,” said Mike. “I educate them and teach them not only the various skills that we use out in the field, but I also educate them in how to conduct themselves as young adults should. So it’s basically the whole gambit…I teach them work skills, but also work habits, like how to be responsible and how to become a productive employee.”

Though he was an extremely successful Corpsmember, Mike says that he has achieved his greatest accomplishments with CCLB as a Supervisor. For Mike, it is very gratifying to see his Corpsmembers get promoted within the Corps or move on to a post-secondary education opportunity.

“Training new people and actually having them succeed and receive additional promotions…that’s a great feeling, that’s what makes me feel the most accomplished,” said Mike.

Having been a Corpsmember himself, Mike feels like he’s in a good position to understand what his crewmembers might be experiencing. Still, being a Supervisor is very different from being a Corpsmember.

“When I was just a Corpsmember, I was more worried about just getting my life back on track and doing the assignment in front of me. Now, as a Supervisor, I have to show a lot of leadership and focus on changing the lives of the Corpsmembers and actually educating them,” said Mike. “I almost feel like a parent when I’m around my Corpsmembers…They have a lot of things going on in their lives and in some cases I have to step in and be the parent for a Corpsmember. So I’m in more of a role model position versus when I was concerned just with myself and my own future back when I was a Corpsmember.”

Mike’s busy schedule has prevented him from finding the time to use the scholarship money he received as a Corpsmember, but he plans to eventually earn some kind of higher degree. He knows he wants to continue working in conservation and hopefully earn positions with greater levels of responsibility. For the foreseeable future he is very content to stay with Conservation Corps Long Beach.

To young people thinking about joining a Corps, Mike says:

“Just don’t lose sight of your goal and the reason why you came into the Corps. Don’t worry about what other people might be telling you – just stay out of the drama. Keep sight of your goal of getting your high school diploma and take advantage of the second chance that you’ve been offered. Just keep focused.”

2006 Corpsmember of the Year: Michael Bridges


***Update! Click here to find out what Michael has been up to since he won his award.***

Nothing can keep Michael Bridges from reaching his goals. Moving a total of eight levels through the Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB) program from the blue hat all the way to the white hat, Michael has raised the standard for corps excellence. He served as a Corps council member, was awarded seven Outstanding Achievement Awards, and earned more than $5,000 in scholarships through the AmeriCorps Education Awards Program and CCLB scholarship funds to use toward his post high school education.

Michael's exemplary work ethic and positive outlook on every situation have helped to bond the crew into more of a family. His peers respected him so much that they nominated him for the keynote speech at the CCLB graduation. Michael is currently a staff member at CCLB, supervising five corpsmembers in independent projects around Long Beach. Making use of the Corps resources, Michael was awarded his high school diploma. He even attended the California Leigislative Day as a guest of CCLB.

Michael said, "My time in the Corps has greatly changed my life because it gave me the second chance I was looking for when I failed to graduate from high school. Now I have a high school diploma in addition to a great opportunity to attend college.