In My Backyard

Now as you may know already, I did not know anything about my park site when I applied or when I arrived, so you can imagine I did not know much about their youth and community engagement efforts either. Since I had no experience with youth engagement with the National Park Service, I was excited to join the team and to contribute as an outreach and public affairs intern. My main project this summer is to work on the 2024 In My Backyard internship program. I will admit that I was very unsure about how I could contribute to the In My Backyard Program seeing as I only knew that I would be working with high school youth.

 Some of my smaller projects this summer include creating a photo gallery for the park, updating social media guidelines and creating documents that will help with social media creation and editing. I am also looking to help with some interpretation program outlines that will help future staff. Additionally, I am working on my federal resume so that I may apply to a seasonal position in the future and work as a park ranger during the summer.  I also help out the park guides at the visitor’s center desk, I help with events and around the office and I look forward to giving a few walking tours this summer as well. (Can you tell that I still love interpretation?)

Ok so now I know you all want to know what exactly is In My Backyard.

In My Backyard began in 2013 as a volunteer youth program with the goal of connecting them to public lands and themes of what the National Park Service promotes including stewardship, community, and appreciation for national parks. The goal is to connect people to the parks and lands that are in their backyard. (Do you get where the name comes from now?)

This program was the first of its kind (and I think it still is) and is very unique to the Seattle area because there are so many beautiful national parks in Washington as well affiliate sites, heritage areas, and state and local parks.

(Shout out your favorite park or a park you want to visit in Washington state in the comments!)

Awesome Park Ranger Sydney and our summer intern Micah working the front desk.

The In My Backyard Hartzog Awards for outstanding volunteer service.

Some In My Backyard Stickers and pins for our interns, my supervisor likes to call it IMBY (In- bee) swag.

Over the years after several grants, awards, and interns the program is now a paid internship aimed at high school students. The program focuses on learning and sharing what they learn in an artistic way that included a mural last year and different art projects throughout the 5-week internship.

So, what is my role you may ask??

I am here to not only help out with the program planning, organizing, and preparation but also here to participate and work with the interns. I will be helping facilitate activities, lead and contribute to discussions, create materials for them to use and to help with anything else that is needed. I will be participating with them on creating our culminating project at the end, although I will not be here for the last week. :(

This program sounds and is pretty amazing and I am very lucky and thankful I get to be here to work on it with such a fun and energetic team. I am a little jealous because this program is so awesome, and I would have loved to have been a part of it.  I am excited to see what I learn about this experience especially because I get to work with youth outside of an academic environment.

So, as we prepare for the program which begins on the week of July 15th, I am excited to be part of such a wonderful team here at Klondike, I cannot express to you how amazing this team is and how in awe I am of their energy, knowledge, creativity and passion that they bring to our park. This Thursday I had the opportunity to participate in our summer kickoff staff development and so I have included a few pictures of that below.

My team’s poster made up of lots of words.
Sharing our group posters on what are the Seattle National Park Sites and what they mean to us.
Our team’s very dark but very fun polaroid picture.
Our team name is the Power Rangers.

I am so grateful for and so excited to keep working with them this summer and to be a part of the In My Backyard team.

Until next time!

Karen

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