Youth Organizer Summit

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Work towards a cause you believe in. Inspire and motivate your peers.
Lead a campaign that strengthens Alaska for the future.

Youth Organizer Summit
ayea yo summit tree

Do you want to be a part of a statewide campaign led by rural and urban teens who are ready to engage their local communities on pressing environmental issues in Alaska?

All Youth Organizers (YOs) attend AYEA’s Fall Youth Organizer Summit. At the Summit, teens:

  1. Learn about pressing environmental issues affecting Alaskans
  2. Develop skills in community organizing such as public speaking, project planning, leading a group, outreach, and fundraising
  3. Design AYEA’s statewide campaign plan, decide what actions we will take throughout the year

When? Friday September 2nd – Monday September 5th, 2016
Where?  Birchwood Camp in Chugiak (transportation from Anchorage provided)
Who? Rural and urban teens in grades 8-12 who are ready to be Youth Organizers and lead AYEA’s 2016-17 statewide campaign.
Cost: $125 tuition + travel to Anchorage. Half and full travel scholarships are available. If you need a travel scholarship, please indicate this in your application.

Visit this page for more information on what it means to be a Youth Organizer or contact Allison Barnwell at or (907) 274-3632 with any additional questions.

AYEA Youth Organizer Summit: 2015 Report-Back

  • “Over the past 14 years we have lost roughly 70 feet of land from storm surges and floods. In Sep. 2015, there was a storm surge that made us lose most of the dump road and now the school bus can’t drive on it. We need to stop climate change to save Shishmaref.”
    – Esau, Shishmaref

During a crisp October weekend, something monumental was happening in the foothills of the Dghelaay tahwt’aene (Ahtna name for Talkeetna Range) – 23 diverse high school students came together from across the state to learn about community organizing, youth power, and climate change. While coming from very different experiences, the young people in the room bonded quickly over their concern about the impacts of climate change and their love of snapchat.

  • “I feel like I made some friends that will last for quite a while and everyone felt like a big family”
    – Roan, Homer, 16

By the time the four days were over, not only did we have a new sense of family and community, but a youth-led plan to chart a new path forward on for our state. The group developed a campaign and committed to taking it back to their communities to spread across the state.

  • “I am 14 years old and attend Bristol Bay High school. For the past 7 years I have not been able to cross our river. We used to cross every year. In the five years to come, we may not have ice at all.”
    – Logan, Naknek

For the first phase of the campaign, the group decided to set an ambitious goal for our state. They will be advocating our state leaders in government and industry to create a plan to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030. This reduction in carbon emissions is the least necessary to avert even more disastrous effects of climate change than we are currently seeing. Alaska has the chance to set a bold course forward, and the youth of AYEA will be there to make it happen!

  • “I need people to help speak up for the community and reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030. Stop climate change!”
    – Grace, Teller, 17

For the second piece of the campaign,  the teens will be working in their communities to walk their talk, identifying ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions in their schools, homes, and throughout their villages.  By starting local, the teens are going to set the example for how a community can be sustainable and ensure a bright future for the next generation.

Stay tuned to learn how you can support the teens’ efforts!

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View photos from the summit on Flickr!

AYEA’s Youth Organizers live in Venetie, Shishmaref, Teller, Chevak, Naknek, Aniak, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Unalaska, Kodiak, Homer, Palmer, Wasilla, Sitka, Tok, and Craig.

Alaska Center for the Environment’s mission is to engage and empower Alaskans to protect and conserve the natural resources that support our unique quality of life for current and future generations. Through the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) program, we are building a movement of diverse young people who have the skills, knowledge, and experience to be effective advocates for their communities.


2014 Youth Organizer Summit Recapsofia + charla YO summit

In October 2014, 16 high school students from every corner of the state gathered together for four days in the Chugach mountains near Chickaloon to discuss how climate change is impacting their communities and to develop a campaign to work towards solutions. Some of these youth see the impacts of climate change first-hand in their communities, and all of them are motivated to speak out.

At the summit, the teens selected the following goals for the first year of the climate change campaign:

  1. Empower and strengthen our communities to be effective advocates against climate change
  2. Increase the number of teachers and schools that educate Alaskan students about climate and energy
  3. Pressure the state legislature to pass bold climate policy

For the first phase of the campaign, the teens are partnering with Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) to promote the Energy Smart curriculum in K-12 classrooms. Alaskan youth deserve to learn about these issues in their schools, because they have huge implications for all of their lives. Students are the best advocates for energy and climate education. Through presentations in schools, meetings with teachers and potentially testifying before the school boards, AYEA teens hope to see teachers and schools sign on in each of their 11 communities.