By Andy Quinn, Outings Chair for Ancient Islands Group serving Polk, Highlands, Hrdee, Desoto and Sumter Counties, Sierra Club Florida
In an effort to bring in new energy to the Sierra Club and pass the torch on to another generation, we're pushing to have more young people join the Sierra Club through youth engagement. We've done this by setting up trips, getting parents involved, and setting up a partnership with Lakeland Montessori School, a nearby charter school.
We have up to 14 kids join us for each trip. Ages range from six to 14-years of age. We've gone to Alexander Springs, Fisheating Creek, Wekiva Springs, Withlacoochee River, and Weeki Wachee Springs, to name a few. All of these trips comprise a goal of attracting young people into the Conservation Movement. Each trip includes nature lectures and conservation lessons on you name it....habitat, water, clean energy, pollution. One hot issue in Florida right now is fertilizer. The kids and adults are consistently engaged with the lectures and want to get involved.
Activities includes kayaking, camping, and swimming. We felt swimming with the kids would always be a winner. We consistently have trips that are full or close to full and we have now involved about 40 parents. These efforts have all been effective in bringing in a new generation and new members to the Sierra Club.