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Youth Ambassador Program

The Youth Ambassador Program is a youth-driven leadership program for Washington teens to connect with their peers and support their communities to explore, steward and champion public lands and trails.

Building leaders on and off the trail

The Youth Ambassador Program (YAP) is designed to provide teens with opportunities to practice leadership in their communities and on trails. During the program year (which typically runs from November through the following May), youth ambassadors are encouraged to be explorers, stewards and champions for the outdoors. The program also creates opportunities for teens to connect with other youth in Washington state who also share a passion for nature. 

In addition to earning 30+ service hours for participation, Youth Ambassadors also gain skills in:

  • Team building
  • Communication
  • Outreach
  • Public speaking
  • Leadership development
  • Project planning 
  • Resume writing

The school year program kicks off with an annual Youth Ambassador Summit in the fall of every year. At the summit, ambassadors design independent projects related to their interests to further engage with WTA. Throughout the year, ambassadors have access to WTA's staff and resources to develop and implement their projects. Examples of past projects include leading monthly hikes for kids, helping to lead volunteer trail work events, lobbying for public lands in Olympia, and writing articles for WTA's blog or magazine.

Youth ambassadors impact

Since the program started in 2013, almost 100 ambassadors have presented to more than 3,000 students at more than 30 schools and community groups.

Youth Ambassadors are teens who truly value their experiences with WTA. The YAP provides them an opportunity to further their involvement with WTA during the school year. 2015-16 ambassadors Alex, Sam, and Stephanie all went to the same high school, and worked together to start a hiking club. About the club and the Youth Ambassador program, Alex says: "I am loving it, especially the hiking, I didn't realize how easy it was to just go hike every weekend."

Former Ambassador and 2015 Trail Maintenance intern Alex Compeau said that the Ambassador Program taught him how to convey what is so important and special to him about trail work. For Alex, volunteering for WTA was a significant part of his high school career.

How to become a youth ambassador

This fee-free program is open to all high schoolers who are passionate about the outdoors and connecting others to nature. The program is currently paused for the 2022-23 school year. Please check back next summer for details on how to apply for the 2023-24 school year. 

Learn more about our ambassadors