PYC Shared Voice - The Youth Advisory Council
With the Youth Advisory Council, PYC believes that giving youth the opportunity to share their opinions and ideals will make park programs more relevant and impactful in the long run.
Youth should have agency over the opportunities that they participate in, and their feedback will create a park that is more welcoming, relevant, and impactful for future generations of park program participants. For this reason, PYC created the Youth Advisory Council (YAC).
The YAC brings together diverse teams of young people who have previously been involved or are currently enrolled in other youth programs, giving them access to new leadership opportunities and major involvement in various PYC projects. PYC believes that giving youth a opportunity to share their opinions and ideals strongly benefits the park in the long run by giving young people the power to shape their own experiences, making programs more impactful and relevant. As a cohort of young people directly impacted by local youth programs, the YAC is meant to represent the interests of all youth program participants in the Golden Gate National Parks, and will pave the way for park programs to better incorporate youth voices into their programs in the future.
More about PYC Shared Voice
A majority of the YAC's work has been dedicated to guiding the purpose and design of ParksConnect.org. As a site built for teens and young adults, PYC believed that the site should be shaped by its eventual users.
Year 1 of the YAC provided key input from Bay Area youth that helped ensure that the site would be as relevant and impactful for young people as possible. The team conducted several focus groups, gathered over 400 survey results from Bay Area youth (including other park program participants), and presented that feedback to the park community in the form of a mock website pitching competition. At the competition, YAC members pitched various potential versions of ParksConnect to colleagues, friends, family, and park leadership. After presentations were over, audience members were allowed on their favorite overall designs, as well as individual website features. The website development team was then able to take in all of that community feedback for their development of ParksConnect.
In Year 2, YAC members were able to build on the ideals of the previous year, and focused on pinpointing key features for ParksConnect. Combining their own findings with those of the previous year, the YAC was able to host a massive Design Thinking Hack-a-thon event. At this day-long event, over 100 participants ages 14-24 were provided with all of that data, and were asked to ideate potential features of ParksConnect.org. At the end of the end, participants were able to vote on their favorite features, which were then taken in by the website development team. This Hack-a-thon was so successful that the YAC was asked to present their format at two major nonprofit conferences that year: the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Portland, and the Collective Impact Conference in Chicago.
Most recently, the YAC has been consulting on the design and content production for ParksConnect.org, and has been leading pre-launch marketing for the site as it gets ready to launch later this year (delayed due to COVID-19). They were able to create several videos to promote programs on ParksConnect.org, and more updates are coming soon!
The YAC has seen representation from over many different youth programs across San Francisco and Marin county, including:
- African American Leadership Initiative
- Aim High
- Explore the World Scholars
- Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders
- Larkin Street Youth Services
- Linking Individuals to their Natural Communities
- National Park Service Interns
- Native Plant Nursery Volunteers
- Project WISE
- Slide Ranch Teen Fellowship
- Student Conservation Association
- Teen Environmental Education Mentorship
- Urban Trail Blazers
- YMCA Urban Services
- Youth Leadership Corps