Youth Summits in Historic Preservation

Youth Summits in historic preservation topics provide exciting, on-site, interactive learning experiences for students and professionals. These experiences both encourage students to participate in historic preservation, conservation, and heritage tourism issues and also empower them to share their ideas with leaders in these fields. Since the first Preserve America Youth Summit was held in 2007, these events have helped students develop the interest and skills to become stewards of community history and historic places and helped them to grow into citizens who will help shape policy at the local, state, and national levels. Professional organizations, community leaders, educators, students, and others contribute to make Youth Summits memorable and motivational experiences for all involved.

Students standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Youth Summits photo by Beth Boland.

Photo by Beth Boland

Youth Summit Core Values

  • Youth Summits will inspire youth, educators, and mentors to take action and preserve historic places through creative and appealing programming.
  • Youth Summits will involve students, educators, and mentors in experiences that advance knowledge of history, culture, and historic preservation.
  • Youth Summits will foster the role of youth as future leaders while providing frequent opportunities for youth to express ideas and opinions.
  • Youth Summits will focus on problem-solving outcomes for historic preservation, heritage tourism, interpretation, and other issues.
  • Youth Summits will work with community leaders and elected officials to seek both lasting and ongoing impact of Summit experiences.
  • Youth Summits will focus on results and outcomes—with broad distribution of recommendations and findings applicable to local communities, partners, and elected officials.
  • Youth Summits will include service-learning activities that provide preservation trades training, advance 21st century work-force readiness, and inculcate a stewardship ethic.
  • Youth Summits will focus on sharing stories of diverse cultures and highlight how to best convey stories that are relevant to all ages, cultures, and demographics in the community as well as the classroom.
  • Youth Summits will advance the use of a variety of teaching tools for educators, including curriculum support and instruction in the use of technology and primary sources, and will illuminate best practices that can be integrated seamlessly into state and national standards.
The National Park Service supported the development of a Youth Summits guide in partnership with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. Much of the content available on this site comes from this excellent guide, now formatted for the Web. It was prepared by Ann Alexander Pritzlaff, Preservation and Policy Consultant and Colorado Preserve America Youth Summit Director, with input from Michelle Pearson, Colorado Youth Summit Teacher Liaison and 2011 Colorado Teacher of the Year, and Shannon Haltiwanger, Public Affairs and Communications Director, History Colorado. This guide is intended as a “How-To” and to inspire historic preservation organizations, educational or service groups, government agencies, and related entities to organize and produce Youth Summits in their areas.

Click here to download the complete Youth Summits Guide and Planning Tools as a .pdf

Last updated: November 20, 2015

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