Secretary of the Interior Launches Youth Initiative
On April 28th, US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and YMCA of the USA CEO Neil Nicholl held a press conference on the Mississippi riverfront at Wigington Pavilion on Harriet Island in Saint Paul. They announced a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a new youth initiative intended to get kids playing, learning, working and serving outdoors.
Secretary Jewell emphasized the need to bridge the growing disconnect between young people and the great outdoors. Representatives of the YMCA attended the press conference along with several area youth and young adults. The group joined in a service project with Secretary Jewell and took a boat ride on the river.
The Interior has set these goals for the next four years:
Play: Interior will develop or enhance outdoor recreation partnerships in a total of 50 cities over the next four years to create new, systemic opportunities for outdoor play for more than 10 million young people.
Learn: Provide educational opportunities to at least 10 million of the nation’s K-12 student population annually. In addition to welcoming students into nature’s classroom, we are developing and strengthening new online education resources, to reach more students.
Serve: Engage 1 million volunteers annually on public lands, effectively tripling the numbers we have now. We know that many more people are interested in volunteering at national parks, wildlife refuges and public lands, but there are often insufficient staff resources to coordinate them. In order to achieve the volunteer goal, we will place a renewed emphasis on volunteer coordination and management.
Work: To develop the next generation of lifelong conservation stewards and ensure our own skilled and diverse workforce pipeline, Interior will provide 100,000 work & training opportunities to young people within our bureaus and through public-private partnerships. As part of this effort, we aim to raise an additional $20 million to support the youth work and training opportunities.
To find out more, visit the U.S. Department of the Interior’s website at http://www.doi.gov/youth/about/index.cfm