Youth Team Leader Erin LeDrew shares her personal recap of the time she spent with the Youth Team this summer:

This summer I had the opportunity to help the Friends of the Public Garden launch their first ever Youth Program. With a small but mighty group of four BPS students, ages 15 to 18, we were able to engage in a summer of outdoor learning while also completing several projects in the parks.

Each week was themed, allowing the team time to deep dive into a segment of parks care. These themes included tree care, sculpture care, urban parks, parks advocacy, and a capstone week where each individual completed a project on a topic of their choosing. On a typical week, we worked on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall in the mornings completing bench and tree plaque cleanings and tree tagging. In the afternoons, our group would participate in team building activities and leadership exercises both in the Friends’ office and the three parks.

Though I’m extremely proud of the physical work that our team completed in our short six weeks together, I am most proud of the personal growth that I saw within them individually. The exposure to leadership, networking, and collaborative workshops visibly grew each team member’s confidence not only in parks care projects, but also in simply pushing through things that they didn’t know they could.