Thirty dedicated trail volunteers and partner staff along with 30 youth from Groundwork USA participated in the AT's first Youth Leadership Summit in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire during the last week in June.
Joint sessions focused on perceptions of public lands, ranging from urban brown space to national parks and forests, and generational trends in the work place. Separate sessions were held for youth in leadership skills, tool safety, and team building, while the adults focused on creating new trail-wide youth engagement opportunities. All participants hiked in to the White Mountains for a unique backcountry experience at an Appalachian Mountain Club hut. The week concluded with youth and adults working side-by-side on several service projects.
A testament to the success of the summit was this comment sent along by one member of Groundwork Hudson Valley: "I write this letter with utmost joy and pleasure to thank you for the great experience you made possible for the Groundwork teams. This has really increased my level of interest in national parks, and I now hope to continue with the preservation of our parks in the future."