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OAK Week 2022 Recap

Jayni's On to New Adventures 
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OAK's May 2022 Newsletter
Hello, OAK Members, Partners, and Supporters! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. 

Thank you so, so much for everyone who participated in OAK Week 2022, held May 17-18 in Washington, D.C. Check out a recap below with highlights and photos (thanks to our incredible photographer, Chris Rief!). 


OAK Week 2022 Recap

OAK Week 2022 was an amazing two days of networking, celebrating change-makers, shaping campaigns, and having our collective voices heard with decision-makers.

On Tuesday, May 17th, we kicked off #OAKWeek 2022 with a ranger-guided hike in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

A Rock Creek Park ranger leads a group of OAK Week attendees on a morning hike. 

We then gathered at a pavilion, beginning the day's activities with a land acknowledgement from OAK Advisor Cheyenne Brady, Jonna Brady, and Jen Peacock from the Center for Native American Youth.

Jonna Brady, Youth Leader, Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara (MHA) & Sac and Fox Nations | Center for Native American Youth leads a land acknowledgement. 

Youth leaders from across the country then shared their thoughts on how to expand access to the outdoors with top decision-makers at federal land and water management agencies. 


Top: Lily Kay, Junior Ranger Tigran Nahabedian, and Robbie Bond of Kids Speak for Parks.
Bottom: Matt Strickler | Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Homer Wilkes | Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Dr. Letise LaFeir | Senior Advisor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture,George McDonald | Chief, Youth Programs Division, National Park Service 

Then, federal agency and nonprofit leaders shared insights on youth pathways to careers in outdoor access and land & water management. 

Aroni Johnson | Environmental advocate, Uriel Llanas | YMCA of the USA Bold & Gold Coordinator, George McDonald | Chief, Youth Programs Division, National Park Service, Chris Hill | Senior Campaign Director, Our Wild America, Sierra Club 

In the evening, attendees convened at the rooftop terrace of The Wilderness Society for our OAK Awards Reception to celebrate the winners of the OAK Tree, Leaf, and Acorn Awards. 

Reception attendees gather with the winners of the 2022 OAK Awards.

On Wednesday, May 18th, in-person and online attendees participated in a workshop on OAK’s Strategic Framework for 2024, and an engaging session on Funding Trends for Outdoor Access. Finally, attendees headed to Capitol Hill (or to Zoom) to advocate for OAK's policy platform. 

An OAK Week Advocacy Day team poses in front of the U.S. Capitol with Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34).

We'll send more soon, including resources and follow up. If you joined us for OAK Week, don't forget to share photos on social media, tag us at @OAK_updates, and use the hashtag #OAKWeek!

Here I am cheesing it up with Alex Schaefer, the 2022 OAK Leaf Award recipient! 

On to New Adventures 
Thank you so much for an incredible OAK Week 2022! Now, I want to share some bittersweet news: this will be my last newsletter to you as OAK's Senior Campaign Representative, as I am moving on from OAK to join The Partnership Project, a group of environmental advocacy organizations, on the End Internal Combustion Engines campaign, as a Senior Campaigner, working to push the auto industry toward a more sustainable energy future. Today, Monday, 5/31 is my last day at OAK / Sierra Club. 

I can't begin to explain how fortunate I feel to have had the opportunity to work with you all at the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. Over the almost 3 years I've spent in this role, we've accomplished an incredible amount together, which is exponentially impressive considering the challenges we had to surmount as a result of a global pandemic:
  • Adopted OAK's Racial Equity and Justice Values, moving us toward becoming a truly anti-racist partnership that centers communities with the greatest barriers to outdoor access. 
  • Established OAK's 2024 strategic framework. setting us up to achieve shared goals and collective impact over the next few years and beyond. 
  • Started the OAK Advisory Council, including two youth advisors, Robbie Bond of Kids Speak for Parks and Junior Ranger Tigran Nahabedian (see Jackie's latest blog post about the impact of our youth leaders here).
  • Executed a successful campaign to extend the Every Kid Outdoors pass an extra year. And just a year later, one of Congress' highest-profile rising stars, Congresswoman Katie Porter, championed support for Every Kid Outdoors included in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, with it set to receive first-ever funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2023. 
  • Launched the Every Kid Outdoors in State Parks campaign, which has already culminated in California creating a state parks pass program, and bipartisan support built in Wisconsin and Texas to do the same or similar. 
  • Advanced our policy platform, from introducing new legislation, ensuring our priorities are included in moving packages (including historic stimulus and infrastructure packages), and increasing funding for youth outdoor access, with 25 sign-on letters sent to the Hill. 
  • Developed (via a new, multi-month inclusive process) a set of recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration envisioning a legacy of outdoors for all. 
  • Passed the Great American Outdoors Act, permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). 
  • And so, so, so much more.
Yeah. That's a lot. And it's all because of you, and your tireless support. During an historic, global pandemic. So yep, no platitudes can apply here; you're all profoundly, veritably amazing - thank you for your support and for all you do. 

This work is so close to my heart, but I know that it is in good hands with all of you. Although I hope to stay a familiar face in this movement, I encourage you to stay in touch - 
please connect with me on Linkedin. 

Thank you!!! 

- Jayni

Image result for outdoors alliance for kids logo
  Jayni Rasmussen
Senior Campaign Representative,
Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) & Youth | Sierra Club 

50 F Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20016
440-522-9162 (c)
Pronouns: She/her/hers

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