2013 TU Teen Summit A Great Success
As a returning participant of the TU Teen Summit, I can successfully say that the 2013 Summit in Jackson, WY and its crew spawned great new ideas for solving the problem of lasting youth membership within TU. Though the thirty of us that gathered (ten returning from the original summit) brought with us different backgrounds, experience levels, and perspectives, we all shared one common goal; the need to inspire other youth to follow TU's cause and the need to provide the organization of TU itself with a sustainable future.
The teens gathered during the five days of the Summit to discuss the headway made by last years Summit attendees, the founding members of the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), as well as brainstorm ideas and action plans to keep the successes rolling. We addressed three major topics: "Where are we now?", "Where do we want to go?", and finally "How do we get there?". We deliberated these topics in multiple sessions with TU staff such as Bryan Moore, TU’s Vice President for Volunteer Operations and Program Development, Eaddo Kiernan, Chair of TU’s Headwaters Board, Beverley Smith, Director of Volunteer Operations for TU, and several other fantastic people in order to get an insight as to the feasibility of the solutions and programs we were coming up with, as well as the perspective from the higher ups within TU about the teen recruitment problem.
After hashing out all the details and looking at our problem from every possible angle, we the teens then separated in to different groups in order to divide and conquer the task list we all created to solve the teen membership issue. For the current teen membership that we have that aren't active or have recently expired, we came up with specific media outlets, ad campaigns, and presentation ideas to re-hook them and show them why TU is an organization in which they can actively participate and make a difference in . For the new teen membership issue, we came up with similar ideas for recruitment, but the focus of these ads, media outlets, and publications would be more focused on getting the exhilarating essence of TU in a nutshell, and make it available not only to teens, but to parents as well.
So what can you expect to see from the YLC? Well, when we aren't planning/executing sustainability projects within our local areas, we'll be presenting to our chapters and councils, as well as making an effort to present to the National Leadership Council (NLC) and the Board of Trustees. Why would the presentations be important? They're important because the teen effort is important. The more people we can educate within TU about why teens are needed for the future of the organization, and the more tips, activity ideas, and plans we can give to people to take back and utilize within their states and local chapters, the more of a difference we have made. The youth really are the future in the case of TU, and I know that I can speak for myself and the twenty-nine other summiteers when I say that we want to see TU still around and still as strong when we hit the age of most of our chapter members.
The Summit was such an overall fantastic experience. When we weren't flushing out ideas, we were at some of the most beautiful fishing holes I have seen. We also had a great time learning about the conservation projects/issues in the Grand Teton/Yellowstone area, and participating in a little service project of our own at the Murie Center. We came out of this experience with some great new friends, fresh new ideas, and memories we will never forget. This Summit fueled us to go back to our areas and make a national difference, and I know that as long as the ability to gather as the Summit allows us to do remains, we will make that difference and help to sustain TU.