Written by Deb Groebner, Southern YES! Coordinator
When we were teenagers, my brother came up with a secret nickname for our mom: “twenty-questions Carolynn.” Mom asked great questions…which was VERY annoying as a teenager trying to fly under the radar! Since then I’ve realized her curiosity reflected a deep need to both understand and protect us. These days I embrace curiosity as one of my own core values. I often find myself asking questions as a way to deepen listening so that I can learn more about our world and the ways I am connected to it. Learning about climate change has been a roller coaster of emotions! I’ve felt despair, anger, guilt, and fear for the future. I’ve felt powerless and alone. But I’ve found an antidote: kids. Seeing my grandson Brayden cradle a monarch caterpillar in his toddler hands reignites my own curiosity and sense of wonder, something so easily forgotten as an adult. It fuels a fierce desire in me to protect nature for his benefit. And when older youth speak out about climate change and step up to tackle local environmental problems, despair is replaced by gratitude and hope. Youth have creative ideas and fresh energy for protecting and improving their place.
That’s why I’m proud to be part of Youth Eco Solutions (YES!). YES! helps youth develop the skills, knowledge, resilience, and confidence to become lifelong stewards of the environment. As a YES! Coordinator I help connect the dots for coaches and teams in southern Minnesota so they have seed funds, learning materials, and other resources needed to put their project ideas into action. I am invigorated by the students’ youthful enthusiasm, and reassured that the world will be better in their capable hands!
Major funding for the YES! program was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).