Building volunteer capacity is a consistent concern for many Friends Groups. Habitat restoration, event planning, invasives removal, and information gathering can all require many hands on deck, and sometimes, it can be helpful to call on your wider community for assistance.
Youth engagement is a great way to both get this extra assistance for projects and introduce a new generation to the wonders of Minnesota’s parks and trails. Partnerships of this kind are mutually beneficial: they add to Friends Group capacity while also allowing youth volunteers to acquire valuable life skills and build their resumes, as many colleges and universities look for community service activities when admitting applicants.
In the past two months, we at Parks & Trails Council have been working to gather information from Friends Groups about best practices for forging successful partnerships with youth service organizations. At the links below, you can access our recent webinar on the topic and read the primer we put together based on that information and on information shared by other Friends Groups, where we set some of the lessons learned down in written form. Many thanks to the Friends of Tettegouche, the Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park, and the Frontenac State Park Association for sharing their wisdom on this topic with us.
Photo credit: Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park, Earth Day 2022.