St. Paul, Minn. – Nov. 3, 2016 –Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) – chapter-nominated individuals ages 13-18 who are tasked with being spokespersons for their age group on national issues regarding the outdoors – and touting the efforts of its individual members for their work on conservation issues since 2006.
The National Youth Leadership Council was formed 10 years ago with a simple purpose: to identify young professionals within Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever communities who can serve as role models for the next generation on the topics of conservation and other outdoor-related activities. Members of the Council are sponsored by a local chapter and serve in their role until high school graduation, at which time they are replaced by an incoming member.
“When we first formed the Council, I had no idea the potential of young people to step up and be such valuable leaders for our organization. I have watched them be spokespersons for conservation in ways that adults cannot. It’s their future and they care about what happens to wildlife and to our natural resources. They give us all hope for the future,” said Cheryl Riley, founder of the group and vice president of education and outreach for Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever.
In the past decade, “The Habitat Organization” has helped develop more than 60 young conservation leaders who support the mission of the organization and encourage other young people to enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, NYLC members have:
Written magazine articles for Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever publications
Met with state legislators to promote conservation in their local communities
Presented conservation grants to natural resource agencies in various states
Led activities in the Youth Village at Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic
Lobbied in Washington, D.C., for federal conservation programs
Hosted community youth habitat projects
Started local shooting teams
Kayla Gadeken, a recent graduate of the council from Seward, Nebraska, expressed her gratitude as, “My time on the NYLC has been no less than spectacular. I’ve grown so much as a person in these past five years on the council and will always cherish the memories made as part of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.” Kayla is now pursuing her passion for conservation by studying wildlife management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The National Youth Leadership Council was the first of many Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever programs aimed at introducing young people to conservation and the outdoor lifestyle. In fact, “The Habitat Organization” is now one of the leading conservation groups in the country who is working to promote the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Last year alone, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters set an organizational record for youth programs with 2,570 events held nationwide involving more than 147,000 kids and 46,000 adults.