Getting out at Outdoor Nation!
Christian Alvarado is a BBTO youth volunteer. He will again represent Sierra Club at the Outdoor Nation summit in New York City this month.
I love the outdoors because I believe that I am myself the most when I'm outdoors; no stress from work, paying bills, family issues, etc. The leadership roles I've gotten into since my love for the outdoors was revealed to me have changed my life for the better. Volunteering with Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings and Building Bridges to the Outdoors programs, as well as the Children & Nature Network’s Natural Leaders Network, has opened my eyes and helped me accomplish many goals.
Last year, Sierra Club sent me to Outdoor Nation, a huge youth leadership conference in NYC about connecting with nature. It was one of the first national events that I contributed to where I actually felt like my opinion was heard. In a large group of youth outdoor leaders from all over our country, last year’s outdoor nation let our voices be heard. I went to NYC not knowing anyone there, but once I arrived I was attached to so many people. Those people are some of my closest friends now! Their stories, their culture, and their excitement was shining out of them when they were asked about their suggestions or concerns. I couldn't believe I had met so many strangers that I could connect to and in only three days felt like I found my new best friends. Outdoor Nation did such a great job in connecting youth outdoor leaders with passion and experience in the outdoors that even without an event going on, we continue to assist each other in our own missions a year after.
My national networking all began with Sierra Club and Outdoor Nation. In a year I've been able to travel to Seattle, New Jersey, Washington DC, and New York because of the amazing people I met and connected with. Outdoor Nation is not just a youth summit where you can make your world a better place, it’s a get-away, it’s a shining light in my cave, it’s a helping hand.