Celebrating Youth in Action
This summer WTA's youth volunteers have worked across the state making improvements to trails hikers love.
The final days of summer are upon us. Before students head back to school, I would like to celebrate the great work that youth volunteers have contributed to trails this summer. I am always so amazed at what WTA youth volunteers accomplish and greatly appreciate their efforts and energy to keep the youth program going strong! THANK YOU!
In the past nine weeks, sixteen volunteer youth crews worked on trails in two state parks (Cape Disappointment & Beacon Rock), four National Forests (Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Okanogan- Wenatchee, Olympic, & Gifford Pinchot), two wilderness areas (Alpine Lakes & Henry M. Jackson), Mount St. Helens National Volcanic and the Yakama Nation.
The 119 youth volunteers, ages 14-18, camped for a week, met new friends, ate delicious food, learned new trail skills and explored beautiful places in Washington. More than 40% of these volunteers were returning from last year.
The Youth Volunteer Vacation program attracts youth from all over the state, and out of state as well. This is what some volunteers had to say about their experience this summer:
"The crew leaders were knowledgeable, helpful, and focused. This was my fourth week-long, and I still learned some new things! I enjoyed working on trails in beautiful places, the satisfaction of a job well done, and hanging out with great WTA people!"- youth volunteer Tzuria F.
"I had a blast on my first (but definitely not last) WTA vacation. The balance of work and play was perfect for me. I'm very proud of what the group got done, especially the root and stump destruction. Our work this week opened my eyes to the amount of effort needed to build all the hiking trails that I've been on. I am interested in improving my hiking karma by repairing some more trails, so I'll be checking out some of the work parties coming up this year."- youth volunteer Seth V.
In all, WTA youth contributed more than 8,000 volunteer hours this summer. That is quite an accomplishment. I would like to thank each of our youth volunteers for joining WTA on trail and giving back to the hiking community. Also - a special thank you to the crew leaders and interns who made the season a success and kept the crews safe, having fun and getting some work done. Your efforts have made a huge impact on trails throughout Washington.
To see photos of this summer's youth volunteers in action, visit WTA Youth Programs on Facebook.