Claire Finn has been selected as Yosemite National Park’s volunteer ambassador. As such, Finn will engage new audiences, promote stewardship for the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.
Finn is one of 70 energetic, young adults who are leading an effort to connect people to their national parks and public lands. These volunteer ambassadors will spend the next year working in national parks to expand volunteer efforts and coordinate group service opportunities.
“The National Park Service’s Centennial celebration will focus as much on our future as on our past,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are excited that young people, including our Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors, are stepping up as the next generation of conservation leaders. I know this opportunity will enable them to form lasting connections to national parks and the natural world. I also know that their contagious passion will inspire many others to do the same.”
The Volunteer Ambassador Program is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and supports the Department of the Interior’s Play, Learn, Serve, Work Youth Initiative to expand educational, volunteer, and career opportunities for millions of youth and veterans on the nation’s public lands.
The ambassadors, who are recent high school and college graduates, will focus on developing or expanding partnerships in local communities that can support volunteer service projects. They will recruit, coordinate, and manage volunteer work groups throughout the year, with a special emphasis on national service dates such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Earth Day, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.
SCA President and CEO Jaime Berman Matyas notes that in addition to its role in the Centennial, the volunteer ambassador program is an important part of SCA’s leadership development curriculum. “Transformative experiences like these yield crucial leadership skills and life lessons that empower these young people for lifelong success,” Matyas said. “These service opportunities are also potent career pathways and, together, SCA and NPS are creating a workforce for the second century of national parks.”