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Youth Ambassador Program Doubles in 2015

Posted by Andrea Martin at Dec 11, 2015 07:15 PM |

Twenty-four incredible students, WTA's Youth Ambassadors, recently spent a weekend at a leadership summit preparing to become the youth voices of WTA in the year ahead.

WTA's youth volunteers are busy promoting and fixing trails all year long. In the summer, teens volunteer a day, a week, or even two weeks to help maintain trails. And when the school year starts back up, they continue those incredible efforts, both on trail and off.

On trail this fall, many youth volunteers have been braving the elements with WTA on work parties with friends and family, school groups and community organizations like Momentum Northwest, Emerald Parents, and the Mountaineers.

Off trail, over a weekend this November, WTA’s biggest-ever class of Youth Ambassadors convened for a leadership summit. Twenty-four incredible students spent a weekend at camp preparing for a school year ahead where they will become the youth voices of WTA, encouraging more young people to get outside.

YAP 2015 group
Group photo from November 2015 Youth Ambassador Summit. Photo by Krista Dooley

The Youth Ambassador Program's impact

Now in it's third year, WTA’s Youth Ambassador Program has trained and supported 41 outstanding youth volunteers. Two of those young people took their leadership skills into the field as trail maintenance interns during WTA's summer season.

The 2015-16 Ambassador class doubled in numbers from last year, and now we’re excited to support these 24 new leaders as they bring WTA to their schools and communities. The students plan to start hiking clubs, assist WTA with outreach, organize work parties, and come up with great ideas for how WTA can continue to attract, engage and challenge new generations, from all over the state.

Training and empowering leaders

At the 2015 Leadership Summit, the young leaders attended workshops on public speaking, presentation design and talking about WTA.

This year's summit also included several new sessions to help and challenge the ambassadors as they build their skills. These included:

  • Sessions on leadership and how to leverage personal leadership styles when working with peers
  • How to write resumes and cover letters
  • A question and answer session about careers in the outdoors and opportunities after high school
  • An evening devoted to discussing diversity in the outdoors, conversations on the importance of recognizing privilege and tips to help become an ally for building inclusion in the outdoors

Ambassadors learning how to tell their friends and peers about volunteer opportunities with WTA. Photo by Loren Drummond

Ambassadors taking action in their communities

Each of the 24 ambassadors are tasked with presenting to students at their schools about opportunities for teens with WTA, as well as taking on two independent projects.

At the Leadership Summit, the ambassadors wrote an action plan for one project. They set goals to organize work parties with classes, clubs and teams, to start hiking clubs at their high schools and partnering with former elementary and middle school teachers to reach younger students with information about hiking and stewardship.

Roosevelt HS Girls X-Country work party
Two new Ambassadors, Ana and Frannie brought members of their high school cross country team out for a rainy day of trail work in October. Photo courtesy of King County Parks.

WTA’s 2015-16 Ambassador class is excited to engage new people in conversations about recreation and stewardship, and many are looking for great project ideas. If you have an idea for an Ambassador project, or you want to hear more about this program, email Andrea Martin at