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Teens invited to apply for Keep PA Beautiful Young Ambassadors program

Students from Central Columbia High School collected trash at the annual litter pickup after the homecoming parade.
Brady McNamara
Students from Central Columbia High School collected trash at the annual litter pickup after the homecoming parade.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and PennDOT introduced the Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania program last year to empower teens, keep communities clean and foster leadership.

Brady McNamara was an ambassador last year. She established a student-run recycling program at her school, Central Columbia High School. She says it wasn’t easy coordinating the logistics of simply putting recycling bins next to garbage bins in the school.

“It’s so much harder than people think, just trying to change the status quo. It’s so easy not to recycle,” she said. “But just taking the steps to change something like that is really important for young generations to be a part of.”

The recycling project was part of her community assessment and presentation. Ambassadors are required to attend at least six live virtual sessions throughout the year on topics related to the environment and civic engagement.

They will also host and participate in a cleanup event and an educational activity. Brady went to a preschool class and taught young children to care for the Earth.

Kylie McCutcheon is the affiliate coordinator for Keep PA Beautiful.

“We know that the students are constantly at the forefront of initiatives to help change people’s attitudes and behaviors about environmental stewardship and why people should care about their environment,” McCutcheon said. “And we want to help foster that passion in them, while providing them with the tools and research to effectively make a lasting change.”

Students also have opportunities to network and job shadow.

Brady, now a senior, said she liked hearing from state legislators and environmental officials, because she wants to study political science and environmental policy in college.

“Hearing about how to create effective environmental and conservation policy,” she said. “It was important for me to hear about all of the smaller things.”

The program runs from October through May. Students must be in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, and live in Pennsylvania.

“An ideal candidate is someone who is passionate about making a positive difference in their community,” McCutcheon said. “As well as a passion for environmental stewardship and volunteering.”

Click here to apply by September 14th.