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Janet Napolitano Meets With Yosemite Leadership Program Interns

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avatar Janet Napolitano Meets With Yosemite Leadership Program Interns
August 13, 2014 02:22PM
Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, visited Yosemite National Park on Thursday, July 24th, to meet with students participating in the Yosemite Leadership Program and other youth engagement programs. During her visit, Napolitano participated in an open discussion forum with approximately 40 of the interns and Yosemite staff. The forum included poetry readings by Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP) interns and Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) participants, a presentation by Sierra Nevada Research Institute staff, and open questions from the audience.

The students had the opportunity to hear Napolitano talk about her education, career, and life experiences, such as in her former position as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. She also discussed her vision for the future of the University of California school system, her views on obstacles for women in politics, and her core leadership values. Napolitano specifically encouraged the students to “try a lot of different things, find your passion, and contribute to something bigger than yourselves.” Napolitano’s visit also allowed students to share their first-hand experiences with youth engagement programs in Yosemite and how these programs have helped them to achieve their goals.

Vera Reyes, YLP summer internship lead, participated in both the Adventure Risk Challenge and Yosemite Leadership Program and is on track to be the first in her family to graduate from college. Kevin Herrera, YLP summer intern, shared how this program has helped him rediscover his passion for law enforcement and build new opportunities and lasting friendships. Jesus Angel Dolores, previous YLP summer intern, told the group that this program was “one of the greatest experiences of [his] life” and that it encouraged him to feel confident about himself and his potential.

The Yosemite Leadership Program is a collaboration between Yosemite National Park and the University of California at Merced. The program is designed to educate and inspire environmental advocacy and social change in local youth.

Adventure Risk Challenge is designed to improve academic skills, expose youth to a range of natural environments and wilderness experiences, and inspire confidence to accomplish goals, succeed in high school, and attend college.

The youth programs in Yosemite National Park are managed by the education branch of the interpretation division.
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