Klahowya Youth Volunteer Program

Ranger Izzy (right) and two Klahowya volunteers carving wooden spoons.

2022 marks the first year of the Klahowya Youth Volunteer program, an opportunity that gave high school students hands-on experience working at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. This program was supported by the LCNPA, which provided funding and resources.

“Klahowya” is a Chinook greeting and an apt choice for this program, as the park welcomed 11 high school students to participate. The program focused on four living history skills: weaving, fire-starting, carving, and foraging.

“For many youth that participated, it was their first time learning this skill,” said Ranger Izzy, the park ranger leading the Klahowya program. “So being able to experience these activities firsthand activated a drive [in them] to want to learn more. There were nice moments of some people connecting activities, like carving, back to their cultural background.”

The program culminated in a day of celebrating and sharing knowledge with the public. The Klahowya youth spent several hours at Fort Clatsop demonstrating what they had learned to park guests. Parents and children alike watched in awe, asking questions and engaging with the youth volunteers through interpretive activities.

The overall goal of the program was to get youth involved and excited about working with their public lands. It gave them a hands-on opportunity to explore nature and history, opening up opportunities in the education field. The program also helped students work on self-confidence and public speaking.

“I feel this program was successful because we were able to bring in youth constantly, and now we have full-circled to have them volunteer in the park,” said Izzy. “One of them even got selected to be a part of the Youth Conservation Corps internship here at the park!”

Want to help us create more “full-circle” opportunities for local youth? Programs like Klahowya are made possible by donors and members of the Lewis & Clark National Park Association. Join or contribute today to create more hands-on experiences that will last a lifetime. Support the Fort!