Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. With urban density increasing, we have to ask ourselves how we can help residents, especially youth, experience more time in nature. One way we are tackling this important issue is through our Teen Life Centers, which provide youth with a variety of programs to promote community involvement, positive relationships, learning experiences that build skills, and opportunities to move and exercise.
This summer, our Teen Life Centers’ Teen Trek program organized four trips for youth groups to national park sites in Washington State. Made possible by the Teen Enhancement Fund and partnerships with North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park, Teen Trek allows youth from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to experience the great outdoors through camping, hiking, team-building activities and service projects.
The Southwest Teen Life Center recently took a group of 28 participants on a trek to the North Cascades. The teens were provided with camping spots at Lower Goodell campsite on the banks of Goodell Creek in North Cascades National Park in exchange for taking part in a service project, which consisted of helping park rangers cleanup the campsite during the peak camping season.
In addition to the service project, the participants took part in icebreaker activities and facilitated group-building programs such as Anger Replacement Training (A.R.T) and Coping and Support Training (C.A.S.T). After the service project, staff and teens packed into vans and headed up to Diablo Lake lookout to take in the amazing views of the turquoise-colored lake and surrounding mountains. The final night consisted of a night hike to a lighted waterfall and ended with s’mores, scary stories, laughter, campfires and great company!