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Youth Conservation Council now taking applications

Young people looking for an opportunity to gain leadership experience and explore outdoor recreation issues statewide should consider a stint with the Youth Conservation Council, a program started a few years ago by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission. The council is accepting applications now through April 30 for new members, ages 14 to 18, to serve a two-year term.

Ray Rustem, council advisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said that time serving on the council is a great way for young people to both shape the conversation about the great outdoors and find new ways of connecting more kids and young adults with those resources.

‘Our kids are losing a tremendous outdoor heritage of trail hikes and campfires and the stories told around them,’ Rustem said. ‘On the council, members work together to brainstorm ideas about ways to protect and promote outdoor recreation and wise use of the state’ natural resources.”

Council members should plan to participate in three to four meetings each year. At least two of the meetings will be weekend training sessions (typically at the end of June and early December) at a conference facility; other meetings will be shorter, with possible attendance through teleconferencing and/or web-based applications.

The council continues to explore how to use social media to engage youth, and already has developed a Facebook page and established a youth blog and an Instagram photo-sharing site (#yccoutdoors).

‘The youth is the next generation of outdoorsmen and women. As adults, we need to allow kids to get dirty, play, and simply have fun in the rain!’ wrote council member Graham Smith in a recent blog post.

Know someone who might be interested? Get details on the council webpage or contact Ray Rustem at 517-284-6070.

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