The Let’s Move Outside Initiative was started by Michelle Obama to promote opportunities for young people to Play, Learn, Serve, and Work on public lands across the United States. A collaboration between the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the YMCA, Americorps, and hundreds of community partners, the Let’s Move Outside initiative mobilized thousands of youth and adult volunteers though Junior Park Ranger and STEM based summer camp programs, clean ups, and more. My Americorps placement with the YMCA of Greater Twin Cities in Minnesota alone served over 6000 youth through community partnerships and summer camp programing. While now sadly defunct, it was a wonderful program that introduced a huge number of young people to nature for the first time.
My role as the first Americorps Community Outreach Coordinator for Let’s Move Outside to be placed in the country inadvertently came with the responsibility of figuring out what the heck we were doing, and then training new Corpsmembers as they joined the team across the nation. Along with coordinating Junior Park Ranger Camps across 4 summer camp locations, attending the camps, heading a steering committee, recruiting and hosting volunteer events, I was tasked with documenting our experiences, and sharing the power of nature on social media. After sifting through countless hours of footage, I created this series of videos to show what we were doing in our northern neck of the woods to promote the Let’s Move Outside Initiative.
Junior Park Ranger Camps
In partnership with the YMCA and the National Park Service, participants in the Junior Park Ranger Camps got the opportunity to spend time with Park Rangers, learning about the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, along with other environmental education lessons. The week long day camps culminated on either a canoe ride in a voyageur canoe on the Mississippi, or a pontoon ride with a ranger on the St. Croix rivers. For many of these youth, it was their first time spending time exploring nature, and had the time of their lives. Though the official program has ended, the legacy of STEM and environmental education lives on.
Music: “Feel The Love” by Rudimental feat. John Newman
Play, Learn, Serve, Work
The mission of Let’s Move Outside is to bring together community partners to provide opportunities that inspire lifelong stewardship of public lands. Our vision is to renew America’s love of nature and public lands through playing, learning, service, and work opportunities. This video shows the accomplishments of the Let’s Move Outside Twin Cities initiative.
Music: “Hold Back The River” by James Bay
Camp Streefland Harvest Party 2015
The annual YMCA Harvest Party 2015 hosted by the Burnsville YMCA and Camp Streefland was a blast this year with over 550 participants! Volunteers throughout the event collected trash, and some helped out with a few tasks around camp. Worth a visit if you’re in the area that weekend each year.
Music: “Sharp Little Guy” by Mark Mothersbaugh