PRESIDENT OBAMA and FRESH TRACKS PARTICIPANTS in YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
On Saturday, June 18th, 2016, in Yosemite National Park, President Obama gave a speech highlighting his conservation record and the importance of preserving our National Parks and public lands for future generations.
Fresh Tracks was represented in the audience by eight young adults – six from Compton, California, and two from Native communities in Alaska – who would be a part of the August 2016 Fresh Tracks experience. Each of these emerging leaders had an opportunity to shake the president’s hand in the heart of Yosemite Valley – no doubt a life-changing experience for all of them.
“I really understand what the president was talking about when he said you could have a life-changing experience outdoors. Because I’ve had one. Today.” – Cameron Williams-Martin, Compton
“This right hand that I’ve got, shook his hand…That felt so amazing. I don’t think I’m ever going to wash this hand … I’ve dreamed of meeting (the president) ever since I got involved in environmental work. – Esau Sinnok, Shishmaref, Alaska (as told to the Fresno Bee)
Launching Fresh Tracks Leadership Expeditions – A White House Priority on Youth and the Outdoors
Natural Leaders organized and led a community kickoff event at Compton Creek Natural Park in early May 2016, marking the official launch of Fresh Tracks Leadership Expedition. Inspired by the Obama Administration, Fresh Tracks builds on the Administration’s commitment to connect more young Americans to the outdoors. It is a 16-day immersion experience for eight youth from Compton, California, and eight from Arctic Village, Alaska.
Fresh Tracks enables young leaders to experience diverse cultures, explore the outdoors, and build critical leadership and workforce development skills. While the participants come from remarkably different homes, they share remarkably similar challenges: their communities are traditionally underserved; their homes are often significantly impacted by environmental degradation; and, their access to educational and career opportunities are often limited.
The Fresh Tracks pilot took place in August 2016, beginning with an immersion experience at IslandWood, a leading outdoor learning organization near Seattle. The group then explored the ecological and cultural landscapes of southern California, working with the National Park Service and the Surfrider Foundation, and visited partner organizations of the program to develop workforce skills and get an inside look at how businesses are run.
The group then traveled to Arctic Village, Alaska, where participants engaged in traditional community activities, subsistence culture, and discussions about local climate change impacts.
Members of the Children & Nature Network’s Natural Leaders team led the development and delivery of the Fresh Tracks’ curriculum and co-planned the agenda for this 16-day immersion experience. The Natural Leaders team also continues to serve as mentors to the 16 participants. “Mentors are speaking from experience, and trying to create change and connect their own communities to the outdoors,” said CJ Goulding, one of the Natural Leaders involved with Fresh Tracks. “We’ll be learning about different cultures, communities, and developing as leaders right alongside the participants.”
“I am excited to participate in the Fresh Tracks program because it will provide me with a wonderful leadership and cultural opportunity to learn with, and from my peers in my own community and from Alaska,” said Jared Savage, a rising senior at The Buckley School, and lifelong Compton resident. “Serving as youth leaders, we can serve as the microphone to amplify the message of collaboration, advocacy, and leadership.”
Fresh Tracks is a partnership between the Natural Leaders Network, IslandWood, Sierra Club, My Brother’s Keeper, REI, and action sports retailer Zumiez.
Learn more about Fresh Tracks:
“We are thrilled to see this exciting new initiative launch that will not only expose a diverse group of young people to the transformative power of the great outdoors, but will also open the doors to potential outdoor career and service pathways as well. We commend this coalition of public and private sector partners that have answered the President’s call to make sure all young people, especially those traditionally underserved or underrepresented, have clear pathways to opportunity and success.”Broderick Johnson
On Saturday, June 18, President Obama gave a speech in Yosemite National Park highlighting his conservation record and the importance of preserving our National Parks and public lands for future generations.
Eight Fresh Tracks participants were in the audience – six from Compton, California, and two from Arctic Village, Alaska. Each of these emerging leaders had an opportunity to shake the president’s hand in the heart of Yosemite Valley.
A White House Priority on Youth and the Outdoors
Natural Leaders organized and led the official launch of Fresh Tracks Leadership Expedition at Compton Creek Natural Park, Los Angeles, in early May. Natural Leaders also helped develop Fresh Tracks’ curriculum, co-planned the agenda for this 16-day immersion experience — and will serve as mentors for participants.
“As mentors, Natural Leaders are speaking from experiences they’ve had trying to create change in their own communities,” said CJ Goulding, one of the Natural Leaders involved with Fresh Tracks. “We’ll be learning about different cultures, communities and developing as leaders right alongside Fresh Tracks participants.”