Youth Employment in Parks crews are back, and can add global pandemic to list of work conditions
Anchorage Park Foundation celebrates the near completion of Rabbit Creek Park trail improvements. In a normal year, Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) deals with bears, moose, bees, rain, sun and mosquitoes. In 2020, a global pandemic can be added to the list. In order to create the safest possible work environment for program participants, YEP has implemented many new program adaptations this year.
Rabbit Creek trail improvements have involved reconfiguring the trail route to increase usability and safety, surfacing the trail with gravel, and slowing mountain bike traffic by rerouting the trail in advance of a road crossing, improving safety and accessibility for trail users. The trail will provide a crucial, safer connection between Rabbit Creek Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhood.
According to Dan Fleming, lead on Rabbit Creek Park’s trail improvements and recipient of a 2019 Challenge Grant from the Anchorage Park Foundation, there has been robust community support for the project in the Turnagain View neighborhood: “We are so happy the YEP teens are establishing a trail connection to our neighborhood elementary school.” The project has had strong support, including from the Rabbit Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association.
Beth Nordlund, Executive Director of Anchorage Park Foundation said, “I love it when a neighborhood plan comes together with a YEP project. Thank you, Rasmuson Foundation!” Challenge grants fund community-driven projects to improve local parks and trails. Rasmuson Foundation provides a 100% match of donations, volunteer labor and in-kind material.
Youth Employment in Parks is an annual summer youth workforce development program for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 in Anchorage. Every year, Anchorage Parks and Recreation hires a diverse group of teens from across the city to work on parks improvement projects throughout Anchorage’s vast parks and trails system. Anchorage Park Foundation celebrates the Anchorage teens whose work helps make this program a success and brings about tangible community impact.