One of the most unorthodox and divisive presidential elections in US history has come to an end, its outcome leaving many astounded and unsure what comes next. There was consensus going into Tuesday however, that Americans were generally dissatisfied with the country’s direction.
The length to which voters went in choosing their president-elect – a candidate with no previous experience in politics, government service or community based entities – underscores the electorate’s unease. It also validates the need to foster new leaders who are determined to work for the common good.
For decades, the Student Conservation Association has been viewed as an organization that effectively protects public lands while, as stated in our mission, we “build the next generation of conservation leaders.” But true leadership is not confined to any single area, conservation or otherwise.
Indeed, studies by the Search Institute show that SCA experiences enhance individual leadership. Hands-on service to nature is proven to empower participants by instilling a greater sense of purpose, openness to challenge, social responsibility, perseverance and teamwork. In the framework of youth development, these are considered life skills that foster optimal advancement and help teens and young adults prosper. In the rest of the world, they are recognized as the core elements of leadership.
As they say in politics, the people have spoken. The pertinent question is now ‘how do we get to where we want to be?’
New leaders are never far away. They need only the opportunity to lead. SCA provides such opportunities in national parks, state forests and city squares across our country to some of the most amazing young people you will ever meet. And the need to support and cultivate them has never been greater.
Jaime B. Matyas
President & CEO
Student Conservation Association
At SCA, we believe in the power of our public lands to transform lives. We believe that young people can change the world. Now more than ever we need to foster young leaders with conservation values who are determined to work for the common good.