The Green Ambassador Program (GAP) provides year-round employment and development opportunities for DC high school students. Youth enter the program in the Farm Crew and progress to become Crew Leaders, staff, and alumni.
GAP uses the Washington Youth Garden and the act of gardening to develop youth into adults who care for themselves, each other, and the land. Participants gain a better understanding of food systems and environmental stewardship by not only learning how to grow and cook fresh food, but also by understanding historic and personal cultural connections to the land. Green Ambassadors are encouraged to take the skills they learn during the program and apply them in their communities and throughout their careers.
The long-term goal of the Green Ambassador Program is to provide career opportunities for program alumni at FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and other environmental organizations in DC.
“Farm Crew made me more connected with the garden and more peaceful with myself.”
Participants begin GAP in the Farm Crew, a six-week paid summer internship where they learn hands-on skills such as gardening, cooking, and carpentry. They also build interpersonal skills like communication and collaboration.
Farm Crew also allows high school youth to explore potential agricultural and environmental career paths, network with local organizations, and talk with experts about their own career paths.
Once selected, Farm Crew members work 20-24 hours per week for six consecutive weeks during the summer. Participants receive an hourly wage through DC SYEP.
Participants focus on developing skills and learning more about:
- Technical skills like gardening and construction
- Health and nutrition
- Food and environmental justice
- Leadership, teamwork, and professionalism
Have a question about the Green Ambassador Program? Contact Christin Riddick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CREW LEADERS, STAFF, AND ALUMNI
After participating in Farm Crew, Green Ambassadors are invited to return to the Washington Youth Garden to continue developing their gardening and leadership skills. Many return to the Farm Crew as Crew Leaders, where they mentor incoming Farm Crew participants and help facilitate the summer internship program.
Other Green Ambassadors return to the Washington Youth Garden as FONA staff. In the past, these staff have worked as seasonal Garden Assistants and have provided crucial support to the Garden Team during the growing season.
Green Ambassadors also stay connected with each other and FONA through an active alumni network. As the network of alumni working in environmental, agricultural, and other green fields continues to grow, so too will the career paths for DC youth rising through the program.
MEET GREEN AMBASSADORS
Watch these videos to meet previous Green Ambassadors, learn about the projects they’ve worked on during the program, and discover Washington Youth Garden through their eyes.
“If you work here it shows you how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Meaning, when you grow up you just live in your box but you learn to see the world different. Seeing the grocery store different….the environment….myself.”
— Damion, 2019 Leader
TEEN VOLUNTEER DAYS
Looking to complete community service hours for school? Join us for Teen Volunteer Days, held monthly on Saturdays during the spring and fall. All participants younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian complete the permission slip in the sign-up form. Any volunteers under the age of 14 must attend with a parent or guardian. Fill out our teen volunteer interest form to see upcoming dates, and we will get back to you with more details.
OTHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS
FONA hosts many other education programs at the Washington Youth Garden and in partner schools across Washington, DC.
The Washington Youth Garden is a welcoming and inviting place for the DC community to learn and grow together. WYG’s sensory garden, innovative growing techniques, and nature-explore classroom encourage visitors of all ages to engage with agriculture, farming, and environmental education.
The School Garden Support Program works with educators across DC to build strong, sustainable school garden programs. Our program empowers teachers to connect students to garden-based education through field trips in Washington Youth Garden, virtual classroom support, and professional development opportunities for DC educators.