Two Teens Advocate for Getting Outside, WTA
Meet two high school seniors (and long-term volunteers) who will be adding their voices to the Youth Committee at Washington Trails Association. In the coming gear, Helen Miller and Tzuria Falkenberg will work with WTA board members and staff to develop and improve WTA’s youth programs for families, teens, and young adults.
“I think kids and teens often don’t realize what’s out there because they are busy at school and just hang around in the city. But going hiking is a relatively cheap way to get out and have fun. When I get outdoors I feel more relaxed and confident, which continues when I go back to school.”
Wise words from Helen Miller, one of two high school seniors (and long-term volunteers) who will be adding their voices to the Youth Committee at Washington Trails Association in the coming year. Helen Miller and Tzuria Falkenberg will both work with WTA board members and staff to develop and improve WTA’s youth programs for families, teens, and young adults.
Meet teen trail work superstars, Helen and Tzuria
With more 500 hours of trail maintenance between the two of them, Helen and Tzuria will provide WTA with an experienced inside perspective.
Helen has been volunteering with WTA on day trips and weeklong Youth Volunteer Vacations since 2010. She has worked more than 25 days on trail, a feat rewarded with a WTA vest that comes with considerable bragging rights. When Helen isn’t fixing Washington’s trails, she can be found teaching cross-country ski lessons or playing a fierce jazz piano.
Tzuria went on her first Youth Volunteer Vacation in 2008 and hasn’t stopped since. She has participated in eight weeklong Vacations and is a mere 11 volunteer days away from earning her very own saw (awarded at 50 days).
“The WTA youth program has contributed a lot to my summers over the past five years, and I'd love to be able to bring in new volunteers,” Tzuria says.
Away from WTA, Tzuria contributes to her school's literary magazine, runs track and cross country, and speaks French with a Senegalese accent.
"Kids should get out and explore the outdoors..."
Both young women are excited to share their knowledge and spread the word about WTA to their peers.
“It's easy to forget how lucky we are to live with access to such wilderness as Washington State has, but getting outside is a simple way to remind oneself that the world is a fascinating and beautiful place,” says Tzuria.
Helen echoes the sentiment. “Being outside is really fun," she says. "I am amazed at how beautiful our state is whenever I am in the mountains or hiking through the trees...other kids should also get out and explore the outdoors, and they will probably have an overall better quality of life.”
With dedication and perspective like that, Helen and Tzuria make a great addition to the Youth Committee, and WTA looks forward to incorporating their suggestions into our growing youth programs. A big thank you to these two amazing young women for offering their valuable time, perspectives, and ideas, and for showing a dedication to getting youth outdoors.