Grand Teton National Park Foundation

Foundation Funds: Bringing Young People into National Parks

Three innovative programs are creating the next generation of park supporters and conservationists by providing youth with a variety of wilderness experiences. Our Youth Engagement Initiative introduces Grand Teton to a younger, more diverse audience and offers escalating educational and employment opportunities that keep participants actively involved in outdoor recreation as they begin to make lifestyle and career decisions.

Youth Conservation ProgramBack To Top

The Youth Conservation Program (YCP) is more than a summer job; it’s an action-packed educational opportunity that accomplishes much needed work in one of America’s most popular landscapes while helping participants develop a personal conservation ethic. Young adults work, earn, and learn in this highly successful ten week program each June to August in Grand Teton National Park. These 16 to 19-year-olds work on trails to improve access and protect fragile habitat, preserve historic sites, and learn about park history, fire, rescues, and more — hiking miles of park trails in the process.

YCP began in 2006 and is a teen education, stewardship, and employment opportunity that provides much-needed repairs and improvements on heavily used park trails and historic sites.

We are delighted to share this video that tells the story of how YCP began and the impact this program has on its participants and Grand Teton National Park.

Stephen P. Adamson, Jr. Outdoor Fund


Stephen Adamson was an attorney who was passionate about wilderness places, outdoor adventure, and Grand Teton National Park. He inspired many who knew him to dream big and explore.

Through a sponsorship fund established in his honor, we celebrate his life by giving young people a chance to do meaningful work in Grand Teton and to ultimately find their place in the natural world.

Want to sponsor a student on the YCP crew? Contact us at 307-732-0629.

Pura VidaBack To Top

Historically, local Latino youth and their families have visited Grand Teton at much lower rates than other populations. Pura Vida dissolves barriers between Jackson’s Latino community and Grand Teton National Park by offering extensive outdoor learning experiences, leadership training, and wilderness recreation. Service projects provide hands-on opportunities to improve the park and spark discussions about the importance of stewardship.

NPS AcademyBack To Top

NPS Academy introduces diverse college students to a range of career paths within the National Park Service through seminars, workshops, field trips, and recreational activities. A spring break orientation in Grand Teton and 12-week summer internships in national parks across the country give these career-minded participants valuable on-the-job training. Program mentors help students explore potential NPS jobs and provide guidance as they pursue or transition into careers in conservation. When students return to their universities, they serve as NPS ambassadors, educating classmates about national parks and recruiting peers for next year’s program.

NPS Academy 1 column

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Celebrating the Centennial: New Programming in 2016Back To Top

In 2016, GTNPF introduces two new programs to our Youth Engagement Initiative:

Student Conservation Association (SCA) Trail Crew

The Foundation will partner with SCA to support a trail crew to work on 50 miles of trails as well as repair and replace deteriorated bridges on the Valley trail. Participants will greatly improve these routes, while developing outdoor and leadership skills through hands-on service in the park.

Mountains to Main Street Urban Ambassador Program

Grand Teton will launch its next tier of workforce and diversity outreach through Mountains to Main Street Urban Ambassador Program. This opportunity will provide ongoing career development to young professionals like NPS Academy alumni so they can succeed in the highly competitive NPS recruitment process. The program will consist of a week-long career development summit in Grand Teton followed by 10-week urban outreach projects in participants’ home cities. It will continue the ladder of professional development for diverse college students and help bring national parks to urban environments.