We are excited to be hosting “A Place at the Park,'' an exhibit designed by In My Backyard youth for the community.
Since the program’s inception in 2014, youth volunteers and young adult interns have worked with park staff on every aspect of IMBY programming from design projects to curriculum development. IMBY is now in its second year of its high school programming! This summer, the program hosted 14 youth interns (ages 13-18). The youth represented 10 different zip codes, contributed more than 830 volunteer hours and helped with six community outreach events as youth representatives of the National Park Service. For each week of the nine week program, park staff would facilitate a field trip for interns to a community partner, such as the Duwamish Longhouse, Seattle Art Museum and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and a day of reflection for the youth to discuss their experiences. The summer centered around the overarching question posed by program leaders to the youth: what does your ideal national park look like? A main goal of this approach was two-fold: to give youth the space to express their experiences and opinions and to give the NPS the opportunity to listen and learn from its next generation of visitors, workforce and supporters.
Challenged by IMBY staff to dream big and bold in their designs, interns rose to the occasion in challenging current perceptions about national parks and reinforcing what they would like to continue to see in public spaces! Through diverse styles (including LEGO, canvas paintings, black-and-white photography, and visual storytelling), interns collaborated with program staff to capture their unique ideas in the form of an exhibit.
Join us in celebrating youth voices and showcasing the In My Backyard community! “A Place at the Park” is open through November 20.