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  3. DOI Collaborates To Engage Youth In The America’s Natural and Cultural Heritage

DOI Collaborates to Engage Youth in the America’s Natural and Cultural Heritage

Promising Practices

Learn more about the practices that help the Department of Interior (DOI) foster effective collaboration within its own bureaus, as well as with other federal departments and agencies to promote youth involvement in the great outdoors. These practices include:

Establishing a three-pronged approach to promoting youth involvement

By establishing a three-pronged approach, which includes the Youth Council, the Youth Taskforce, and the Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service, the DOI has been able to gather support and embed youth involvement throughout the bureaus and at all levels of the DOI. Each of these groups brings diverse perspectives and unique capabilities to the partnership. For example:

  • The members of the Youth Taskforce are able to hear directly from individuals working in youth programs to understand what works best to engage youth effectively and where barriers may exist.
  • The Youth Council uses the experiences and information of the Youth Taskforce to make decisions and push important policy and programmatic agendas forward that support youth engagement and address barriers to engagement.
  • The Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service supports the flow of information and resources among both groups and to youth and the greater public through

See collaboration structure to learn more about the roles of the Youth Taskforce, the Youth Council, and the Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service

Designating an office to coordinate youth involvement efforts

The Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service fills the role of the coordinating body, linking the Youth Council, the Youth Taskforce, and other agencies and departments collaborating with the DOI on youth involvement work. The Office helps to ensure that there is open communication across the bureaus of the DOI as well as the Youth Council and Youth Taskforce. It helps to ensure that the programmatic experiences of engaging youth that are shared within the Youth Taskforce inform the decisions made by the Youth Council and that the policies developed by the Council to engage youth are realistic for implementation with DOI-supported programs. By designating an office to help coordinate this effort, DOI is able to ensure that the institutional knowledge developed is not lost due to turnover on the working groups.

Utilizing youth feedback to guide the work

The DOI and the Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service are focused on listening to feedback from youth and youth ideas for the best ways to engage youth in the environment and conservation efforts. The collaboration between the DOI bureaus is guided by the Youth Agenda for America’s Great Outdoors. This report was developed through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative from feedback gathered at national listening sessions where youth were encouraged to share their opinions about solutions for the conservation of our natural resources.

The youth voice is also clearly expressed on through the youth profiles featured on the site. These profiles, written by young people who have participated in DOI internships or other opportunities, reflect youths’ experiences as they learn about their environments and improve their communities by contributing to the conservation of natural resources. 

See collaboration structure to learn more about the role of the website in engaging young people.

Creating open communication at all levels

The DOI has shown that it values dialogue with all staff in their bureaus, from the Secretary of the DOI to the youth interning with DOI programs. Capitalizing on the connections of the individuals on the Youth Taskforce and Youth Council, the collaboration is able to share and receive information from those implementing and participating in youth-related conservation programs, with those who have the influence to drive policy change.