We would like to highlight a special intern this summer to help show how much the park relies on and appreciates our volunteers. The east side Backcountry Intern through the Student Conservation Association, Kris Youtz, was first on scene to an emergency call in the Glacier Basin area in the past month. He effectively and professionally assessed the situation, used his Wilderness First Responder training, contacted back up and assisted with the carry out. This is not the first time this season we have had out volunteers help in a SAR situation. We would like to show how much we value our volunteers at Mount Rainier. We appreciate every volunteer for their service and commitment to the park and treasure the relationships we have built with them! Thank you all!
Join us this summer as we follow the lives of SCA members from coast to coast. This year we will drop in on more than a dozen members from Bear Brook, NH to Kenai Fjords, AK
From Facets of a Field: Telemetry work and New England Cottontails transporting, by Venice Wong, SNE-NY Bight Coastal Program, FWS CDIP Biology Intern.
I needed to know for certain that this was the route that I'll continue, at least until my body decides that enough is enough. I'm guilty of being a little reckless and maybe a little bit of a hero when it comes to manual labor. These are some reasons on why I decided to give another side of conservation a shot. These are things that I never thought about but knew was part of the conservation mission... continue reading
What does the WRMC community need to hear that they're not accustomed to hearing?
We in the WRMC community have a role to play as leaders – thought leaders and action leaders – to engage more of youth in the outdoors, and be a catalyst for create a more diverse and inclusive youth community in the future.
What do today's youth need that the WRMC can help provide?
We have to offer hands-on and minds-on outdoor opportunities that create bridges to safe, risk-aware behaviors that enhance learning, and provide positive experiences for youth that lead to broader engagement and additional step experiences.
What barriers have kept the face of outdoor programming the same over the years?
Individual barriers include those generationally handed down. People worked hard to get away from the discomforts of the outdoors, why go back? The key is to see it as recreation rather than work.
As for institutional barriers, risk managers can be unintentionally unwelcoming, so a self-assessment is required – every one of us can be more culturally competent with a willingness to be supportive and engaged. Just sending out announcements or invitations alone isn’t enough.
How do we overcome those barriers?
We can open portals by letting young folks know it’s okay to be in wild places and the outdoors, and not let fears and anxieties be barriers. Use models of others who have had rewarding experiences and come back to tell about it – I paddled for the first time as a 30 year old and I’m not a great swimmer, but once I felt comfortable, a sense of enjoyment kicked in.
What specific challenges do you plan to issue to the WRMC community?
We must actively seek to build bridges to a more diverse student body and staff in outdoor programs. We need to embody organized activism, to provide leadership and ownership of diversity as an organizational value.
What steps do organizations need to take to increase their cultural competencies?
Self-Assessment for cultural competence, barrier identification, barrier removal, and provide opportunities. Be willing to expose ourselves to a certain amount of organizational discomfort. We need to be willing to do that as organizations in the same way that we ask our students to do so in a kayak or in the mountains.
We also have to build skills in home environments before placing them in new environments – a progression of skills that starts in familiar terrain before going into new terrain. Likewise, thoughtful processing of the return to their community, and how to transfer their skills back into the rest of their lives.
What role should program alumni play in the changes that we'd like to see in the industry?
Hiring your alumni is a testament to an organization’s willingness to walk the talk – if you’re not bringing in your diverse students as staff, then you’re perpetuating the common student complaint that they’re not welcome in the outdoor community because “they don’t see themselves there,” that they don’t see faces that look like their faces. When I can send a Latino kid to talk to another Latino alum or staff from one of our programs, it really increases the chance that we can reach the broadest range of students.
“I’m super excited about welcoming my fellow SCA volunteers to the US Open of Surfing because when it comes to protecting nature, we all need to get on board,” says Lakey.
The US Open of Surfing is one of the biggest outdoor events of the year. And our own SCA spokesperson Lakey Peterson is a top contender in the competition. Not only will SCA be there to cheer on our favorite surfer, but we’re also sponsoring a volunteer beach clean up and fabulous contest!
Fans can enter now to win a “Room and Board” prize pack including a trip for two to California, an autographed Lakey surfboard , surfing lessons from Lakey, and a weekend at the Petersons’ guest house in Santa Barbara. We’ll also be giving away autographed Lakey gear every day of the competition.
Sponsored by Nike, Hurley, and Converse and presented by IMG, the global leader in sports and entertainment, the US Open of Surfing is expected to draw upwards of 750,000 people. SCA volunteers will be on the scene to remove thousands of pounds of debris from the beach and protect the marine environment, with Lakey joining our crews when she’s not competing.
Last year, Lakey won six straight heats on her way to the US Open final before finishing second in the Women’s Division. She is currently ranked among the top 10 female surfers in the world.
As Lakey says, “From the competition to the conservation, it’s going to be an awesome week.”