Sequoia YMCA and Udall Foundation launch partnership to provide Redwood City youth with first camping trip to Yosemite National Park

Cyanne-14
Photo By: Cyanne (age 14) from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

Parks in Focus® encourages kids to get outdoors, explore their environment, be active, and express themselves through photography, writing, and art.

Redwood City, Calif. – Sequoia YMCA is proud to be partnering with the Udall Foundation’s Parks in Focus® program to send 12 middle-school youth from Redwood City to Yosemite National Park for a unique one-week experience where they will learn about nature through photography, environmental education and creative expression. For most of these 12 teenagers, it will be the first time they have ever visited a National Park.

“Too many of our local youth never have the opportunity to explore our national parks or enjoy a true outdoors experience,” said Heather Appling, Associate Executive Director of Sequoia YMCA, who is helping lead this partnership. “We are proud to be partnering on this effort to offer Redwood City youth a hands-on education about our environment, while also introducing them to photography and art.”

The 12 local youth will be participating in Parks in Focus®, a Udall Foundation program that introduces youth from urban and underserved communities to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country.  The program began earlier this month with the first of two pre-trip outings where participating youth are learning the basics of photography, ecology, and conservation while exploring local parks.  The kids then travel to Yosemite for 5 days (July 21-25), where they will take part in a unique curriculum that integrates basic photography lessons with environmental concepts and stewardship activities.  The program culminates in a family photo slideshow at Sequoia YMCA on August 6.

The program is being offered free to participants thanks to a generous grant from the Yosemite Conservancy and additional support from the Udall Foundation, Kirven Morse Family Fund, and Yosemite National Park. Each participant will also have the opportunity to earn (and keep) the digital camera, memory card and camera case they use to document their Parks in Focus® adventures!

“Parks in Focus is excited to partner with the Sequoia YMCA on our 2014 summer program to Yosemite National Park,” said Phil Lemanski, Executive Director of the Udall Foundation. “We look forward to working together to enable more YMCA youth to have this opportunity in the future.”

The Parks in Focus® program began in Arizona in 1999, and has since expanded to California, Michigan, Montana and Oklahoma. Parks in Focus® has been leading trips to Yosemite since 2010, but this is the first time the program will be available to Redwood City youth, thanks to the new partnership with Sequoia YMCA.

“This is a great experience for both of my sons to be able to go camping at Yosemite for the first time with new friends,” said Liliana Bautista, parent of two of the participating youth. “I’m so grateful for the Y and others that are making this possible. I’ve never been to Yosemite myself and am so excited to hear what they have to say and see their photographs on their return.”

Media Contacts:
Diana James-Cairns, Sequoia YMCA (diana.james-cairns@ymcasv.org, 650.481.1209)
Bret Muter, Udall Foundation (muter@udall.gov, 520.603.0739)

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