Written by Taylor Templer, West Central Coordinator
It has been very rewarding being the West Central Coordinator for the Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) program over the last 4 years. The experience I received while working for YES! and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC) has been invaluable and I cannot express enough how thankful I am for such an amazing opportunity. Not only did it provide me with opportunities to grow my skills and knowledge, it also gave me the opportunity to make a difference. YES! and PWELC has led me to amazing relationships and exciting experiences. Despite the love I have for the work I do now, I have decided to take a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Farm Service Agency in Clarkfield, MN to be closer to my partner. I am excited for this new chapter in my life but it is hard to say goodbye to YES! and PWELC. I deeply appreciate all the love and support from everyone involved.
I couldn’t even begin to share all of the things I have enjoyed throughout my time with YES! but I wanted to share a few. My favorite part of the YES! program was seeing the excitement and passion come out in each and every student, whether it was during individual team visits or at YES! events. It was so much fun to see students come up with big ideas and chase after those ideas in the form of a project! I also enjoyed working with the students on their projects, including planting native forbs, kayaking and surveying for aquatic invasive species, recycling holiday lights, and harvesting lettuce from the greenhouse. Another part of my position I enjoyed was planning and facilitating events such as the Fall Summit, Winter Workshops, Regional Judging, and the State Championship Award Ceremony at the Twins Game; it was extremely rewarding to see everything come together for a fun and successful day for the YES! students and coaches!
I want to end with gratitude, thank you to everyone that I have worked with throughout my time with YES!. Thank you to my students, you are the driving-force of this program and you have the passion to make things happen! Thank you to my coaches, you are making a huge impact by giving your students the opportunity to reach their full potential and accomplish great things for their schools and communities. Thank you to my coworkers, you are an inspiration and have given me an idea of what a powerful and successful team really looks like; each and every one of you has taught me something valuable and have been a great pleasure to work with.
I look forward to seeing all the positive change that the students, coaches, and staff continue to do in the coming years!