Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Youth Ambassadors Do it Again!

Youth Ambassadors Do it Again!

Posted by abredl at Aug 08, 2018 02:00 PM |

Hard hat's off to another successful year of WTA's Youth Ambassador Program. This year’s Youth Ambassadors went above and beyond the expectations, setting an even higher bar for the class of 2018-19.

It was another outstanding year for WTA’s Youth Ambassador Program.

This past November, WTA welcomed its largest cohort yet to the 5th annual Youth Ambassador Summit. Twenty-one awe-inspiring Youth Ambassadors attended our annual weekend-long Summit at Camp Seymour in Gig Harbor. During the summit, ambassadors took part in various workshops that focused on outreach, public speaking, leadership and development, and diversity and inclusion. These youth also had the opportunity to connect with like-minded teens from all over the state of Washington, try archery and canoeing and gathered to learn more about WTA programming while providing feedback on WTA's Youth Ambassador Program. 

“My favorite part of the summit was getting to connect with other outdoorsy kids from Washington,” said Lucy Brown, a returning youth ambassador. “Whether we were discussing diversity within the hiking community or laughing around the campfire, it was such a valuable experience to take part in. It’s not easy to find people of shared interests and values, but through WTA, I’ve met some of my favorite people.”

2017-18 Youth Ambassador Class. Photo by Erik Haugen-Goodman..JPG
 WTA's Youth Ambassador Summit in mid-November of 2017. Photo by Erika Haugen-Goodman.

Leaders of The Community 

After attending the Summit, Youth Ambassadors are asked to take what they have learned from their experience and present about WTA's Youth Program to classes and clubs at their schools. Ambassadors also complete two individual projects working to further their engagement with the hiking community. Many of them form hiking clubs, write blogs and trip reports on, attend WTA outreach events, and even organize and host private WTA work parties for their schools.

Ambassadors were hard at work in the classroom and out on trails this year. Six Ambassadors organized work parties at six separate trailhead locations across the state—three of which were organized in the King County area (Discovery Park, Camp Long, Soaring Eagle), two in Tacoma at (Priest Point and Swan Creek) and for the first time ever, we held a Youth Ambassador organized work party in Vancouver at (Blandford Canyon). Together, these six Youth Ambassadors were able to recruit 48 new trailblazers this year for a total of 384 hours dedicated to trail maintenance—that’s outstanding!

Notable Highlights: 

This year’s Youth Ambassador class went above and beyond the expectations set for them. Together they presented to over 2,000 students, peers and community member about volunteer opportunities with WTA and contributed a jaw-dropping 1,543 hours of service to WTA. 

  • Three Youth Ambassadors wrote hiking guide entries for the WTA website.
  • Five Youth Ambassador logged trip reports of them hiking with their school hiking clubs.
  • In total, Youth Ambassadors led sixteen organized hikes with their hiking clubs.
  • Two Youth Ambassador shadowed crew leaders to learn more about what it takes to become a leader in the outdoor industry.
  • Youth Ambassador, Haylee Darby, attended WTA’s Crew leader College and successfully become an Assistant Crew Leader just in time to ACL her own work party. Like a Boss -- One Youth Volunteer Learns to Lead on Trail 
  • Youth Ambassador, Julianna Hoza, was nominated for the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition: Joan Thomas Award. Later this year she will be recognized as a champion for her conservation efforts. 
  • Two Ambassadors wrote articles for Washington Trails magazine.

This past month, five Youth Ambassadors gathered at Mount Rainier National Park for a WTA work party on the Wonderland Trail to celebrate the success of the program. It was a beautiful day for some trail work! We installed several trail step features, improved drainage and tread throughout the trail section and did some seasonal bridge cleaning.

WTA Youth Ambassadors. Photo by Aaron Bredl..JPG
 Youth Ambassadors gather after working on the Wonderland Trail. From left to right (Emma Royce, Haylee Darby, Clara Pfundt, Marysia Smith, and Gannon Forsberg). Photo by Aaron Bredl.

In the fall of 2018, we look forward to welcoming the new cohort of awesome Youth Ambassadors. Thank you to everyone who has contributed their time and dedication to this program, and for creating a trail (literally and figuratively) for Pacific Northwest youth to access outdoor experiences.