Blog Post Dallas Kelley-Kerr Jun 8, 2017

Partners Help to Build the Next Generation of Stewards

Youth Summit helps build new leadership for national parks and other public lands.

In April, NPCA and Preserve America Youth Summit (PAYS) joined together in Washington, D.C., to bring the voices of young leaders to Capitol Hill in a special Youth Summit. These two organizations have partnered previously at youth summits in Colorado, Montana and Texas. Through summer camps and continued workshops to educate and empower the next generation, NPCA and PAYS cultivate young leaders who have become local champions for historic preservation, conservation and environmental stewardship.

In 2016, during our inaugural Youth Summit, these impressive teenagers and young adults met with a variety of legislators, including Representatives Will Hurd and Lloyd Doggett, and shared personal stories of why national parks are meaningful and important to them. In their final meeting of the day, they even helped convince Congressman Lamar Smith to cosponsor the 2016 Centennial Bill supporting national park funding!

These young leaders shared a range of reasons why they are motivated to meet with our nation’s leaders to advocate for national parks.

  • “I believe that national parks are the foundation on which our present world was built upon, and without historic preservation these places will disappear. This in turn will affect our knowledge of our past. Everyone deserves a chance to learn about their past.” - Lupe, C., Mason, TX

  • “Parks and historic places are important to our story as Americans, and I want to help keep that story alive.” - Winter R., Pueblo, CO

  • “I want to make sure current and future generations have the resources of the past when navigating an uncertain world.” - Simon P., Westminster, CO

  • “Each park tells their own unique story. I feel like I’m a great advocate because I’m able to relate to my generation and share with them my passion for these places.” - Tomás C., San Angelo, TX

  • “I thought the Congressional staffers would be very intimidating, but they listened to us and took us seriously.” - Kennedy S., Denver, CO

  • “I want people to find their passion and what they enjoy doing, and link it to the national parks. Anyone can get involved.” - Soléil G., San Antonio, TX

Want to get involved? Contact Dallas Kelley-Kerr at to learn about how to participate in the Youth Summit. Also check out NPCA’s recent Advocacy 101 blog to learn about the best ways to influence your members of Congress and join our email list for news and alerts on national park issues.

About the author

  • Dallas Kelley-Kerr Former Senior Manager, Outreach and Engagement

    Dallas is the Senior Manager who leads our Community Affairs and Engagement work supporting the 18 national parks in Texas and Oklahoma, and the communities around them.