WASHINGTON, DC, For Immediate Release | Fifty-three young adults took the AmeriCorps pledge to “Get Things Done” and support a legacy of service and conservation stewardship at the National Park Service (NPS). These Community Volunteer Ambassadors (CVAs) will serve with the NPS for 50 weeks and be trained as community and volunteer engagement coordinators.
“We are working collaboratively in local communities to foster the next generation of conservation leaders across America and focus our volunteer engagement on true community needs,” said Acting National Park Service Director Paul Daniel Smith. “These Community Volunteer Ambassadors will share their passion for national parks and inspire others to develop their own connections to the great outdoors and historical places across America.”
The CVA program is an innovative private-public partnership between the NPS, Northwest Youth Corps, and Stewards Individual Placement Program. The program provides work and training opportunities to young adults (ages 21 to 30) in capacity building support services at NPS sites across the country. CVAs will work in collaboration with their assigned local communities to mobilize volunteer groups and individuals to share in the protection of our nation’s natural and cultural resources. Members will be engaged in a wide variety of activities and programs including facilities and trail maintenance, education, health and recreation, disaster response and recovery, as well as other shared priorities between the Department of the Interior, NPS, and local communities.
The new ambassador team consists of 53 college graduates from diverse backgrounds. As they represent their respective parks; CVAs will work closely with NPS staff to engage the public and recruit, train, and coordinate community volunteer groups and individuals throughout the year and during designated national stewardship days, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service; National Volunteer Week; National Trails Day, and National Public Lands Day. More information about volunteering in national parks can be found at www.volunteer.gov.
"I have always been passionate about cultural and natural history, but serving as a CVA allowed me to put those passions into practice,” says CVA Alumni Jimi Hightower. “As a CVA, I led volunteers in developing and implementing innovative programs, collaborated with organizations and individuals to foster mutually beneficial partnerships, and worked with amazing people across the nation in an effort to make national parks relevant and accessible to future generations. My experiences as a CVA enhanced my passions while highlighting opportunities in which I could utilize my skills while making a difference in my community."
Conservation Legacy Co-CEO Amy Sovocool says national parks can be a powerful catalyst in youth development. “Experiences like these are truly transformative. They instill life skills and character traits that build on one another, strengthen over time, and foster optimal advancement and a service ethic.” Sovocool said, “Conservation Legacy and NPS are partnering to create a skilled and diverse workforce who are educated and active citizens, future leaders, and stewards of natural and cultural resources and communities.”
To learn more about the efforts of the Community Volunteer Ambassadors visit: https://stewardslegacy.org/news/category/community-volunteer-ambassadors