Youth from across the Las Vegas Valley visited Lake Mead National Recreation Area Dec. 12 to take part in an outdoor discovery series designed to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates.
More than 100 kids participated in a range of interactive activities, from hikes on the Historic Railroad Trail, nature journaling at the Song Dog Native Plant Nursery and ranger chats at the visitor center. Some of the kids even camped out overnight.
“I was so proud and moved to see all of our groups at Lake Mead,” said Kathy Creech, AmeriCorps nature ambassador with Outside Las Vegas Foundation. “It is so easy to feel like we can’t make a real difference in a world that is so filled with turmoil and trouble. Today, I saw so clearly what an amazing team I am a part of and how important the activities we present are.
“One child at a time, we can bring some calm and peace into their lives,” she added. “We can give them hope for a better life.”
The event was hosted by Lake Mead Institute partners: Lake Mead NRA, Outside Las Vegas Foundation, Great Basin Institute and Western National Parks Association. Lake Mead Institute is hosting a series of National Park Service Centennial events to engage the next generation and introduce them to their public lands.
Students from Chaparral High School and Venture Crew 45, a high-adventure Boy Scouts group camped out overnight before the event. Youth from Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada, After School All Stars, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, The Embracing Project and other groups that work with at-risk youth in the Las Vegas area participated in the December discovery series.
At the end of the day, the urban youth came together for s’mores around the campfire.