Foundation Funds: Bringing Young People into National Parks
Five 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.
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.
Tribal Youth CorpsBack To Top
Tribal Youth Corps provides hands-on opportunities for native youth 14 to 18-years-old to connect to nature and cultural history through a seven-week paid internship in Grand Teton. Students work on historic structure preservation as well as frontcountry trails and trail structures. Working in partnership with the Montana Conservation Corps, participants learn about career opportunities in the park service, experience outdoor recreation, and build a personal connection to place.
Mountains to Main StreetBack To Top
Grand Teton’s next tier of workforce and diversity programming provides ongoing career development to young professionals like NPS Academy alumni who are interested in launching park-focused programming in their home cities. The program consists of a week-long career development summit in Grand Teton, mentoring, and steady support to help students work through their start-up challenges. Mountain to Main Street Urban Ambassador Program continues the ladder of professional development for diverse college students and helps bring national parks to cities across the country.