Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania

The Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania (YAP) Program seeks to build community stewards and civic leaders by inspiring, engaging, and empowering young Pennsylvanians to become ambassadors of our shared vision of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. From September through May, the program will engage students in 10th through 12th grades from diverse socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Every ambassador will receive Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful merchandise and cleanup supplies as part of the program.

View the Year in Review for the Young Ambassadors Class of 2024 (.pdf). See what you can be a part of in 2025!

  • I was able to get a lot of good advice from the Keep America Beautiful conference, both about real life (college/school advice) and with continuing a career in environmental conservation. I was able to see successful people in career positions I didn’t know existed that I could include on my own list of "what should I be when I grow up." I’m also invited to speak at the nature themed school orchestra concert in late May, which I never would have been offered without building connections within my school to promote my education/clean up events.
    CJ C.
    2023 YA graduate
  • The education event training helped me because it really showed what to do with age demographics. With my educational lessons I planned on going to the audience of 2nd-3rd graders but realized I needed to go higher in age and settled with the 5th grade students.
    Eli M.
    2023 YA graduate
  • The meeting about career networking was my favorite meeting to attend. Every speaker really brought their best forward and created a good space for questions. This is a meeting where I realized the importance of connections. I have heard people say small friends in big places and I now fully grasp that saying. In my opinion, it will take a lot of small friends to reach an environmental eutopia, but we will get there. As long as we keep moving so will the wind powered turbines!
    Fadila N.
    2024 YA graduate
  • Doing this program help me grow as a person and enable me the tools and understanding I needed to continue into my adulthood. Also, the events and projects we had to do assisted me in my personal service hours for my high school for graduation. After my educational event, many kids from my community have come up to me and said they remember me. I take that as a sign the I did my job well.
    Jaden N.
    2023 YA graduate
  • When ever I feel lost, I put my trust in nature as it guides us to find our purpose. With my year as KPB Ambassador, I felt one step closer to understanding myself and my relationship with everything around me. If anything, I want to continue to fight for the environment as it has always provided me with a safe space.
    Michael H.
    2024 YA graduate
  • I was really inspired by all the different types of speakers and the variety in their careers. They gave a lot of perspective on how there are a plethora of different ways to bring conservation efforts into our lives and eventually our careers!
    Michelena D.
    2024 YA graduate
  • Using the knowledge from the Young Ambassador Program enabled me to better develop targeted and effective strategies to address specific problems and promote sustainable practices in my area.
    Morgan S.
    2023 YA graduate
  • My favorite session was the meeting with Keep Texas Beautiful, because I felt very proud to represent Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, but I also felt that I was a part of a community of students with diverse beliefs and backgrounds that all have a great desire to improve and beautify their community and environment.
    Naomi T.
    2023 YA graduate
  • I also learned what it is like to become a leader. Being able to allow my community to learn more about our environment really opened my eyes on the fact that there is so much more that I can do.
    Rese S.
    2023 YA graduate
  • I have organized cleanups in the past and have seen the gut-wrenching build–up of trash before, but this time was different because I felt that I had a larger purpose being part of the KPB YA program. While this stressed me out a bit and also filled me with fear of failure, I felt agency and pride with my work.
    Riya S.
    2023 YA graduate
  • The clean up event taught me a lot. When brainstorming with my friends how and where we specifically wanted to do our clean up event, I realized how much our region had been affected by littering. From parks to neighborhoods, all of us had an idea for a place that could use some help. This showed me that every clean up, from one piece to a million, is crucial. After the event, I personally felt more motivated to change my own lifestyle to positively affect my environment’s condition. Seeing the amount of trash demonstrated to me how much of an affect people have. Even if we do not venture into nature ourselves, the plastic bottles we toss out, snack wrappers we tear off, and fast food bags we want to get rid of do.
    Shaunak N.
    2024 YA graduate

The application is now closed for the 2024-25 school year, but check back next spring for the next year's Ambassador application! All applicants will also be notified of the selection committee's decision as well.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is excited to announce a collaboration with NiSource and Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania again!

Through this collaboration, KPB will offer Ambassadors a webinar focused on sustainability, led by the company’s Environmental Department. Students will also have two opportunities to apply to participate in a job shadowing experience in the spring of 2025 in Pennsylvania. Selected participants will have the opportunity to meet with local Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania employees and accompany them in the field to learn the day-to-day responsibilities. More details to come!

New for 2024-25: Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Scholarship for Young Ambassadors and Alumni. More info to come!

HOW TO APPLY

The application is now closed for the 2024-25 school year, but check back next spring for the next year's Ambassador application! All applicants will also be notified of the selection committee's decision as well.

WHAT IS THE GOAL THE YOUNG AMBASSADORS OF PENNSYLVANIA PROGRAM?
The Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania Program will:
  1. Build community stewardship by inspiring, engaging, and empowering young Pennsylvanians to keep their communities clean and beautiful.
  2. Develop civic leaders to champion and advocate for clean and beautiful communities across Pennsylvania.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM DO THAT?
Over the eight-month program, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will guide Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania through a six-step process to implement change in their community. The six-step process, originally developed by Earth Force, is as follows:
  1. Complete a Community Assessment - focusing on waste reduction and recycling, greening and beautification, litter and illegal dumping, community revitalization, and environmental education. What services and programs are available in your community?
  2. Select an issue. What littering or illegal dumping issue do you want to work on?
  3. Policy and Community Practice Research: What are people already doing about this issue?
  4. Options for Influencing Policy and Practice: What are your choices for making a difference with this issue?
  5. Planning and Taking Civic Action: What are your plans for making a change?
  6. Looking Back and Ahead: How did everything go? What will you do next? Identify what people are already doing.
WHO CAN BE A YOUNG PENNSYLVANIA AMBASSADOR?
  • Any student in 10th-12th grade
  • Students will be chosen per year from diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is committed to ensuring equitable representation among program participants and will target outreach efforts to environmental justice communities.
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
  • Attend All Required Education and Training Sessions.
  • Conduct a Community Assessment and complete summary presentation.
  • Conduct and report on one community cleanup through the Pick UP Pennsylvania program.
  • Conduct and report on one community education event or activity.
WHY BECOME AN AMBASSADOR
  • Network with like-minded peers from across the state.
  • Form connections with public officials, elected officials, and industry experts.
  • Attend educational meetings that will provide information on understanding the impact of litter on roadways, litter prevention, event organizing, waste management and recycling, civic engagement and related public policy, volunteer management and social media marketing.
WHY FOCUS ON LITTER?
  • Litter impacts quality of life, the natural environment and economic development in communities across Pennsylvania. According to the 2019 Litter Study, Pennsylvania roadways are littered with approximately 502.5 million pieces of litter, consisting of an estimated:
    • 9 million plastic film items (food packaging, trash bags and other trash bags)
    • 3 million beverage containers
    • 2 million cigarette butts
  • PennDOT spends nearly 14 million dollars picking up litter on one hundred and fifty thousand acres of state maintained roadsides annually. As part of the recently released State Litter Action Plan, PennDOT and state agency partners have committed to investing in litter prevention and education. The Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania is a program designed to not only educate young people, but to develop them as community stewards and civic leaders- both a worthwhile investment in Pennsylvania’s future.

Have questions? Please contact Kylie McCutcheon, Affiliate Coordinator, at kmccutcheon@keeppabeautiful.org or 724-836-4121 ext. 114.

Sponsored by:

Meet the Young Ambassadors Class of 2023-2024!