Sponsored Post – from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)
In April, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and Preserve America Youth Summit (PAYS) joined together for their second Washington, D.C. Youth Summit- bringing the voices of young leaders to Capitol Hill. These two organizations have partnered previously at youth summits in Colorado, Montana, and Texas, as well as in Washington, D.C. in 2016. Through summer camps and continued workshops to educate and empower the next generation, NPCA and PAYS cultivate young leaders who have become local champions for historic preservation, conservation, and environmental stewardship.
So, what DO the “next generations” have to say? We asked our 18 teen and young adult leaders that very question – as well as their expectations and experience in advocating to our nation’s leaders:
Q: What motivates you to advocate for our national parks and historic preservation?
“I believe that national parks are the foundation on which our present world was built upon, and without historic preservation these places will disappear. This in turn will affect our knowledge of our past. Everyone deserves a chance to learn about their past.” ~ Lupe, C., Mason, TX
“Parks and historic places are important to our story as Americans, and I want to help keep that story alive.” ~ Winter R., Pueblo, CO
“I want to make sure current and future generations have the resources of the past when navigating an uncertain world.” ~ Simon P., Westminster, CO
Q: Why do you feel you are a good advocate for our national treasures?
“Because I am passionate and I want to better the future of the United States.” ~ Taylor M., San Antonio, TX
“I will be going to parks for 60 more years, and I have an underrepresented voice.” ~ Ashley H., Brighton, CO
“Each park tells their own unique story. I feel like I’m a great advocate because I’m able to relate to my generation and share with them my passion for these places.” ~ Tomás C., San Angelo, TX
Q: What were your expectations advocating in Washington, D.C.? Any surprises?
“I thought the Congressional staffers would be very intimidating, but they listened to us and took us seriously.” ~ Kennedy S., Denver, CO
“Officials are aware of what’s happening within the National Park Service, but they don’t understand the importance of the parks to youth.” ~ Shylee B., San Antonio, TX
“People actually wanted to listen to us…I realized my true love behind supporting preservation.” ~ Lily C., Denver, CO
Q: How should other young people connect with and preserve our national parks and historic sites?
“Right now, joining a group is the best way to get involved. I’d like to see the option for youth to sign up and help out at a park on their own.” ~ Bailee Z., Saint Hedwig, TX
“By using social media to showcase the beautiful natural and historical monuments. Advocacy work can bring to the surface some of the issues parks face.” ~ Tomas C., San Angelo, TX
“Get involved with groups and ask for more volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer, intern and advocate!” ~ Winter, R., Pueblo, CO
“I want people to find their passion and what they enjoy doing, and link it to the national parks. Anyone can get involved.” ~ Soléil G., San Antonio, TX
Want to get involved? Connect with us online to learn how you can join the ranks of our members and supporters across the nation! Check out NPCA’s recent Advocacy 101 blog to learn about the best ways to influence your members of Congress. You can also join our email list for news and alerts on national park issues.
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.2 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
About Preserve America Youth Summit
The Preserve America Youth Summits are a program of Conservation Legacy, a national 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting locally based conservation, preservation and educational service programs that empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities and the environment. For more information, visit www.preservationyouthsummit.org