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Northwest Youth Corps' Sound to Summit Crew
Northwest Youth Corps
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NPF-Supported Service Corps Named Project of the Year

Northwest Youth Corps’ Sound to Summit Program Awarded Corps Network Project of the Year

A service corps project supported by the National Park Foundation (NPF) was named a 2024 project of the year by The Corps Network. The project, Sound to Summit, was honored at The Corps Network’s national conference in Washington, D.C., in March.

Northwest Youth Corps’ Sound to Summit program provides teenagers from urban communities in the South Puget Sound area of Washington state with opportunities for conservation service across urban and backcountry locations, from Puget Sound to Mount Rainier.

NPF supported several of Northwest Youth Corps’ crews last year, alongside other partners, which included the award-winning work of Sound to Summit.

The project engaged a diverse group of high school students from disadvantaged communities in the Tacoma and Olympia areas to develop skills and leadership, explore future job opportunities, participate in service projects in their local communities, and assist park staff in accomplishing high priority projects supporting resource management and the visitor experience.

Northwest Youth Corps' Sound to Summit Crew (Northwest Youth Corps)

The first four weeks involved learning, service, and urban forestry in the Olympia and Tacoma area’s local parks and communities, with a culminating fifth week at Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks.

At the national parks, the groups planted native seeds, removed invasive plants, built trails, and helped with other natural resource restoration. They also enjoyed recreation opportunities like hiking.

Two people posing for a photo
Northwest Youth Corps' Sound to Summit Crew (Northwest Youth Corps)
Two people working in a field
Northwest Youth Corps' Sound to Summit Crew (Northwest Youth Corps)
This Sound to Summit crew was an outstanding group of kids. They were engaged and enthusiastic about the work and asked GREAT questions. We’d love to have them back any time!
Sarah Henderson, Assistant Nursery Manager, Olympic National Park

The program, which had over 50 participants in 2023, is unique in exposing participants to both urban and backcountry conservation, preservation, and environmental stewardship experiences. Its goal is to help diverse young people connect with their public lands, develop conservation skills, and foster an interest in protecting natural resources.

Northwest Youth Corps' Sound to Summit Crew (Northwest Youth Corps)

In addition to the Sound to Summit crew, NPF also supported Northwest Youth Corps’ Rainbow (LGBTQ+) and American Sign Language (ASL) Inclusion crews. All the projects aim to reach underserved communities and promote a more inclusive and diverse future NPS workforce.

NPF’s Service Corps program works in partnership with parks and partner organizations to engage diverse youth and young adults as they explore future conservation careers, learn practical field skills, and develop confidence as emerging leaders – all while helping protect our national parks.

Generous funding from NPF partner REI Co-op supported this service corps project. NPF thanks partners like REI Co-op, as well as the many other individual, foundation, and corporate partners who make these programs possible.

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