Youth Leaders from Compton, Los Angeles and Alaska will travel together to the Puget Sound region, Los Angeles, and Alaska during Fresh Tracks Leadership Expeditions, a two-week experience combining outdoor exploration, cultural sharing, service learning, and workforce education  

Bainbridge Island, WA – Two diverse groups of young adults (ages 18-22) from the Los Angeles area (including Compton and Long Beach) and primarily Native communities across Alaska came together today in Seattle to begin Fresh Tracks Leadership Expeditions, a shared two-week experience that will take them from southern California to the Arctic Circle.

Inspired by the Obama Administration’s commitment to connecting more young Americans to the outdoors, Fresh Tracks will bring together youth leaders from rural, indigenous, and urban communities for life-changing experiences that help them acquire skills to successfully enter the workforce, reach their full potential, and achieve their dreams. “We’re excited to see this innovative initiative move from concept to reality, exposing these diverse young leaders to transformative experiences, new cultures and unmatched opportunities,” said Broderick Johnson, Assistant to the President, Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.

Fresh Tracks is a partnership between IslandWood, the Sierra Club, Children & Nature Network’s Natural Leaders, REI, the Campion Foundation, action sports retailer Zumiez, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – in close collaboration with the City of Compton and in support of the goals of the Obama Administration’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

“I’m looking forward to meeting more people from different places and coming home with a different mentality that will change my life forever,” said Stephanie Carrasco, a Fresh Tracks participant from Compton. “I am also excited about finding out more about who I am as a leader.”

The participants from Alaska are young adults from communities throughout the state, including Anchorage, Arctic Village, Barrow, Chevak, Fairbanks, Rampart, and Shishmaref. “In the Fresh Tracks program, I am looking forward to meeting new people, learning about the places they live in, and sharing my story,” said Kimberly Pikok, 18, of Barrow. “I want to be able to use the skills I learned from the program to help myself be a better leader and a role model in my community.”

The Fresh Tracks participants met today at REI Seattle, where they took part in a rock climbing program on REI’s indoor climbing wall. They will spend the next three days at IslandWood, a leading outdoor learning organization based near Seattle. Both groups will then explore the ecological and cultural landscapes of southern California. Fresh Tracks will culminate in Alaska, where participants will engage in traditional community activities, take part in discussions about local climate change implications, and visit Denali National Park. The August experience is being looked at as a model for national expansion of Fresh Tracks Leadership Expeditions.

Fresh Tracks Participant Bios: