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Realizing the Power of Youth - Building Bridges Blog

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Realizing the Power of Youth

Michelle Shea, a Sierra Club youth delegate from the Mile High Youth Corps’ AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation Program, just rediscovered the power of youth!  Check it her blog below, originally posted at


I have made it to Washington DC for the 2011 Green Jobs Good Jobs Conference! Our flight arrived on Sunday at the perfect time to see everything in the city lit up in the night sky. The Washington Monument was a subtle reminder that we were in our nation’s capital and potentially the epicenter for change.

The night was quiet and like most other Americans we went to sleep after watching the completion of the super bowl. The next morning brought a sort of excitement and optimism that I wasn’t expecting. Everyone we met was enthusiastic about their involvement with the environment and wanted to know who I was and what work I did.

We then headed to a youth mixer, and like some of the clients that we serve in the Denver area, I was very skeptical as to how beneficial meeting youth at a mixer could be for me. I was supposed to network at this conference and find new opportunities for myself and Mile High Youth Corps, right? How could youth help me do that?

I couldn’t have been more wrong about the experience. I thought that in a city where our federal government is housed, the older generations would have more power and more influence. I completely underestimated the potential of a group of young adults, getting together, discussing problems and most importantly finding solutions. I left the meeting wanting to get involved in every organization mentioned and had more confidence in myself that at this age, I truly can make a difference.

I am not sure what expectations to have, but I can only imagine that the conference will surpass them. I have but one goal in attending workshops and meeting individuals in the green field. To figure out, what a green collar worker looks like and am I one of them?

~Michelle Shea


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