In the Field with AMC’s Youth Opportunities Program

John talking to Youth Opportunities Program
participants from the Bronx Lab School
(photo by Dave Queeley)

Bronx Lab School teacher John McCrann (right)
helps out on a knot tying exercise.
(photo by Dave Queeley)
I spent an afternoon in New York’s Central Park last week with a group of AMC Youth Opportunities Program (YOP) participants from the Bronx Lab School (BLS), which has made its outdoor program a fundamental part of the school’s design and mission. I joined a great group of students interested in becoming peer leaders in the program by learning Leave No Trace principles, team building, and outdoor skills, during one of the program’s direct service programs. YOP plays an important role in helping the school’s largely black and Latino students deepen their science studies with outdoor experiences, build community, and explore their passions in outdoor education, leadership, and conservation. AMC YOP staff Sebastien Venuat and Robin Sanchez facilitated the training.

According to BLS, “YOP instructors empower BLS teachers to lead their students on outdoor adventures, and in so doing build the relationships that provide the basis for four years’ worth of climbing the metaphorical mountains on the path from high school to college and success in their communities.”

Since AMC began working with BLS, at least 200 Bronx Lab students (this representing about half the student body for each year) have attended overnight outdoor trips. Each of these students has cooked meals, set up camp, tested water samples, and built trails while developing relationships with their peers, teachers, and the environment that have strengthened the community in countless ways.

YOP is a great example of the impact AMC programs have on young people’s lives (YOP trained a record 300 youth workers and served over 20,000 youth last year). If you work with urban youth in the New York or Boston areas and would like to learn more about YOP leadership training, visit www.outdoors.org/yop.

Labels: , , ,