Our Jr. Trails Partnership staff are preparing to host Heritage Trails Partnership’s very first Youth Trails Stewardship Summit, set to take place early in 2014.
Young folks and their great ideas have been an important aspect of the partnership and recently, a grass roots effort has been underway to create the Jr. Trails Partnership (JTP). JTP strives to find young leaders, ages 16 to 24, in local communities to help lead the way in getting students “re-connected to the outdoors”. Working with the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program and a collaboration of partners, HTP is working with youth leaders to establish the nationally recognized Mississippi Coastal Heritage Trail, a 100+ mile multi-use path, linking Louisiana to Alabama along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
In 2005 Richard Louv published a book titled, Last Child in the Woods. In his book Louv coined the term, “Nature Deficit Disorder” and used it to describe the growing divide between children and nature. Last Child in the Woods raised awareness about the problems associated with too much time spent indoors, and people around the country took notice. They began creating projects and initiatives aimed at re-connecting children with nature.
In July 2011, a group of youth representing Mississippi and Alabama attended an Outdoor Nation Summit that was both revolutionary and inspiring. These same youth returned to host a Jr. Trails Partnership Planning Retreat in Biloxi in March 2012 that would map out the next steps of getting more youth of Mississippi and Alabama involved with the effort. At this retreat, the vision of hosting a coast wide Youth Trails Summit emerged with the intention of bringing youth from diverse backgrounds together to talk about how trails can help them connect to the great outdoors and to one another.
If you are a young adult between the ages of 16-24 and you appreciate the value of outdoor spaces, you won’t want to miss this opportunity!! Seats are limited. Register now to reserve your spot!