Program Details


On behalf of the National Park Service, we are thrilled about your interest in our In My Backyard! We thank you for landing on this page to learn more about this internship opportunity. Below, you can read more about our roots, goals, culture, and more that outline where we are heading this summer!


This summer’s program will be happening July – August 2023, with specific dates to be determined. Seattle-area youth leaders will contribute approximately 30 program hours over the summer program. Your time will be compensated at Seattle’s minimum wage. Stipends are based on full participation and will be distributed at the end of the program.

This program will be completed in-person, COVID-19 permitting. The in-person experiences will take place in the Pioneer Square and Seattle Chinatown-International Districts in Seattle. Public transportation will be compensated. Before the program start, the park will mail youth leaders all the supplies needed to thrive this summer!

In My Backyard is tailored for high school-aged students or recent high school graduates (13-18 years old) looking to connect with the National Park Service. 


The In My Backyard (IMBY) Program is the first of its kind in the National Park Service (NPS). It is a grassroots effort by youth to find creative, innovative ways to engage fellow youth with our surrounding communities, partners, and public lands. In doing so, these young professionals (known as IMBYs) increase access and engagement with national parks through designing equitable programming, as well as cultivating networks of their own.

The hope of IMBY is to help foster the next generation of stewards and to create opportunities for unacknowledged communities in the NPS. This includes communities of color, communities with disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, youth, and other groups that have and are experiencing systemic oppression. Individuals have existing strengths, resources, and capabilities that have yet to be untapped; IMBY is here to provide resources and create space that empowers individuals to lead change and be decision-makers. IMBY recognizes that individuals are intersectional and that barriers to access public lands vary. IMBY was created by youth, for youth to not only address such barriers but to actively invite voices to share ideas and stories that can create a sense of belonging for all in our public lands.

“We cannot save the planet without uplifting the voices of its people — especially those most often unheard.”

– Leah Thomas


  1. To create a sustainable and meaningful youth-driven program that engages the next generation of leaders for the NPS and the youths’ communities.
  2. To support the park’s mission and goals which include engaging untapped populations, leveraging the park’s city location, and being an active community partner.
  3. To engage and empower youth in mutual, ongoing learning with the NPS to create culturally-responsive contributions resulting in a network of National Park Service ambassadors equipped with knowledge, skills, and connections to be leaders within their communities.
  4. To increase park capacity and diversify park staff and volunteer demographics — representation matters!
  5. To cultivate a sense of belonging and empower youth to engage with our communities and reach new audiences by sharing their stories and challenging the traditional narratives of national parks.


IMBYs will receive numerous experiences such as professional development workshops, video calls with park partners, weekly workshop activities, and more! IMBYs will gain professional development (public speaking, networking), partnership connections, and the opportunity to represent the National Park Service. IMBYs will have the opportunity to connect with each other, Klondike Staff, other national parks, and park partners. Participants will be compensated with an end-of-program stipend and the opportunity to complete school volunteer hours/credit needed for graduation.


IMBY seeks to create a space for youth to have a positive, direct interaction with the NPS in order to promote cultural and environmental awareness. As a representative of the United States Government and the National Park Service, it is a job requirement to conduct yourself with civility and professionalism. IMBYs are expected to engage in productive and important conversations while respecting each other’s feelings and experiences. We adopt a collaborative and problem-solving attitude within our work. We are only as successful as the support we provide one another. Teamwork is our number one priority.

IMBY is an opportunity for participants of all levels to share their ideas and concerns in shaping the program. We value ongoing learning experiences and strive to create a welcoming and empathetic culture for all program participants.


  1. A youth-led experience that truly celebrates youth voices by inviting program participants to collaborate with national parks and local sites, creating a sense of community while building knowledge of local resources.
  2. Create materials showcasing a unique program that is designed for youth, by youth in which youth voices and projects are published for the public.
  3. Develop professionally and personally through mentorship, training, networking, and more through meaningful engagement tailored to each individual.
  4. Receive the necessary tools to become leaders in their communities and progress along their NPS journey.
  5. NPS visitors receive an inside look to youth perceptions of and ideas for national parks which are perceptions that have been underrepresented in our shared public lands.


If you have questions about joining the In My Backyard Program, please email us at and we will respond as soon as possible.

If you would like to learn more about the project, check out Our Story page!