BOULDER, Colo. –

Thursday’s spring snow brought good news to teenage procrastinators hoping to land a job with the Boulder County Youth Corps.

Officials pushed today’s application deadline to Tuesday because Youth Corps program manager Judy Wolfe said she didn’t want anyone “risking their lives” trying to drive their paperwork to the county courthouse in Boulder during the storm.

“We thought we would give people a couple of extra days to get it in safely,” Wolfe said.

The county is on pace to get more applicants than ever for this summer’s 170 available youth corps positions and 36 leadership jobs, Wolfe said. They expect to have more than 400 applications by the end of Tuesday, and Wolfe said she believes the increased interest is related, in part, to the tough job market.

“We’re already the largest employer in the state for 14 and 15 year olds,” she said.

Wolfe said the Youth Corps also might be getting more interest this year because of a push to attract more female workers.

Because girls make up only about 30 percent of the corps’ workforce, the county launched an advertising campaign aimed at girls on the social networking site MySpace.com, among other locations, she said.

“We think that once girls get into it, they’ll love it and do really well in it,” Wolfe said. “It’s a little out of their comfort zone, but it’s really great.”

Chrystal LeMaster, 19, can testify to that. She’s already developed a relatively rich employment history in the Denver metro area, and the former Longmont High School student credits her ease in landing jobs to the county’s Youth Corps.

LeMaster said she got her first job with the corps five years ago, at age 14, after hearing about the work — which pays minimum wage and lets young people spend their summers outside — from a friend who was having “lots of fun” building trails and digging trenches.

She applied and ended up spending three summers on the county’s youth agricultural team before being promoted in her fourth year to assistant team leader. LeMaster said that through her work with the corps she built a solid employment foundation that led to Mile High Youth Corps, AmeriCorps and food-service jobs like the one she’s holding now at Wendy’s to put herself through school at Denver’s Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology.

“It was easy to get a job with great references,” she said.

Boulder County residents, ages 14 to 17, can apply for the Youth Corps, which thins forests, builds trails, constructs fences and does historic restoration and landscaping in unincorporated parts of Boulder County, Lafayette, Louisville, Longmont and Superior.

The 170 teenagers who are hired as corps members will be paid at least $7.28 an hour — teens returning to corps this year can earn up to $7.78 an hour — to work 30 hours a week, Mondays to Thursdays, from June 15 to Aug. 5, program manager Wolfe said. Workers can earn $100 bonuses at the end of the summer based on merit and strong attendance.

Although fewer than half of the applicants will get jobs, Wolfe said, teens get some experience by just applying.

“We do promise one-on-one interviews with each person,” she said.

Meca Delgado — a former youth corps worker who is now the outreach specialist for Boulder County’s Healthy Youth Alliance — said her teenage years in the corps “definitely inspired me to go into public service” and continue working with young people.

“I tell Judy all the time that I want her job,” she said. “My goal would be to be program coordinator for the Youth Corps.”

Delgado, who started working for the county at 14, said she never struggled physically with the work or felt out of place on the job.

“I always liked the challenge of trying to show up the boys,” she said.

And, now years later, Delgado said she enjoys the fruits of her teenage labor by strolling through Roger’s Grove in Longmont “where I helped plant more than 1,500 trees.”

Boulder High School senior Alex Repucci is returning to the youth corps this summer to be an assistant team leader after spending the past three summers working on historic preservation and trail development. He was honored last year as “Corps Member of the Year” and said the work has taught him a lot about team work, management and employment.

“Teens are having a really tough time finding jobs right now, and this is such a lucky experience if they’re in there,” Repucci said. “They’re able to have a good salary and good working conditions, and they’re able to be outside. It’s really great.”

Contact Camera Staff Writer Vanessa Miller at 303-473-1329 or millerv@dailycamera.com.