We want our past to be present in the future. In the eyes of the Preserve America Youth Summit, we need the next generation of stewards to step up to understand, remember, and share our history because of the role prior times play on us now.
PAYS hosts many youth summits throughout the summer in the hopes of fostering leadership skills and a sense of community awareness and involvement. For students in 7th-12th grade, they get an all-expense paid experience of being able to learn by way of observation. This youth summit was centered around the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area and the importance of water to Colorado.
The youth participated in a number of engaging activities throughout the week. From museum visits and analyzing to presenters and teachers, and hands-on learning such as mock commissions and cleaning up the Cache la Poudre River, the students were constantly taking in new information.
“I really enjoyed seeing the people so passionate about the area. It made me want to care about it, since others did, too,” said Awbrey Moffett, an attendee.
There, kids could do more than just care, they could make a real difference. City officials from Greeley and Fort Collins came to a PAYS Town Hall meeting to hear ideas for improvement to things such as tourism or the water dilemmas. “(We) address the issues in new and creative ways,” added Moffett.
PAYS is a one-of-a-kind experience that has the students give back just as the program gives to them.
“It’s a great way to get the youth involved in ways that they typically wouldn’t. It allows the younger generation to do things they don’t have the opportunity to do alone and it gives us a voice,” said Alex Hamner, another veteran of the summit. The students’ incredible voices and opinions have an impact in preserving the past and building improvement for the future.