The GLO Process
When the first team of Youth Ambassadors was formed, we decided to focus our identity around one symbol: the butterfly. This majestic critter has always represented change and diversity for us, and it’s a symbol we’ve sewn into the progression of Youth Ambassadors.
Youth who join our program start as caterpillars who are unpaid. We select people who are dedicated, excited, and truly passionate about their community. The Youth Ambassadors then work on a project together with community stakeholders to give back to their community while developing their professional and personal skills.
Eventually, Youth Ambassadors become butterflies. They’re given two paths – become paid consultants who lead and train new teams of Ambassadors for future projects – or take the experiences and skills developed as Youth Ambassadors and thrive in other industries.
We believe the transformational process from caterpillar to butterfly is vital to benefit both the Ambassadors and their communities. The time in between those titles is where individuals truly grow and develop their identity and skillset to become not just a member of the team, but a leader.
One of the best parts of being a Youth Ambassador is being able to give back to your community in meaningful, purposeful ways. But helping communities is only half the story.
When you become a Youth Ambassador, you also enter a transformational learning journey that is just as fulfilling and enriching for you as it is for the people you help. Whether it be professional development and education, creative exercise, or personal achievement, becoming a Youth Ambassador fosters extensive learning and personal growth.
When we started, it was at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. And at that time, I felt very hopeless. The repetition of my days was draining and ultimately made me insensitive to society. And overtime, I felt like I had lost my purpose. That is until all this happened. Youth Advocacy reconnected me to society, to my community. It gave me a purpose and a goal to pursue. Through its ups and downs, opportunities, and hardships, I began to regain hope in the world around us. It gave me a voice again, showing me the beauty of community and connection. And I think that is what’s so special about this program; I get to give others a voice. I am incredibly grateful and optimistic about the future.
Stepping into the role of a youth ambassador was initially, to me, a natural step forward as community service and involvement was always an essential part of my life. However, I truly had no concept of how all-encompassing this project would become. Both in developing opportunities for growth and passion in my professional work and in changing how I view myself, opening doorways to newfound fascinations and confidence, coupled with an endlessly supportive team, becoming an ambassador at its core foundationally altered my perception of what design and outreach could and should look like.
At my first meeting I learned how big of an impact we would be making. We were actually creating the plans for the creek, not just throwing suggestions to adults. In the beginning we were more hesitant to use the freedom we had been given, however, over the next few years we learned to be innovative. I researched how to design/build a website for the project, and it became a great way to promote the team. We started this project off as kids and as we grew up to become young adults, we grew up together. I am forever thankful for the opportunities and impacts this group has given me the chance to be a part of.
Becoming a youth ambassador was sort of a serendipitous moment. When I first joined, I thought I would primarily be involved with helping to design the creek, then perform community outreach. Which, by no means, is a “small” part of the job. But I also was surprised to find how many opportunities there were for me to apply outside passions to my work. Whether it was videography, photography, writing, or design, I found it fascinating how I could develop my creativity in meaningful and enriching ways.
Stepping out of my comfort zone was something I thought I’d never do. When asked to be involved in a huge renovation project, I was indecisive at first, but when I was asked to become a youth ambassador, I instantly knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. This risk is the reason I found passion in work, and ultimately allowed me to grow my mind into fascinating topics I wouldn't have not considered before. Becoming a youth ambassador was the most rewarding risk I’ve taken and haven’t looked back at.
When I first started off as an ambassador, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no clue as to how large our reach would be or how much fun I would have while being able to do something so incredibly impactful. I gained a second family and with that, a new outlet to express my greatest aspirations and passions. Being an ambassador taught me, amongst so many other things, how to expand my horizons and strive to be the best version of myself that I can be.
Stepping into the Youth Ambassador role, I immediately recognized what a profound opportunity I had just embarked on. It would require an immense amount of responsibility, a tad bit of grit, and a balanced diet of stress. Yet, the potential for growth was exponential. Through our countless meetings, dozens of calls, and multitudes of timeline revisions, I learned how to be a better leader and communicator. Our endeavor left a lasting impact on our community, but also on our team. Looking at our 8 members, we have students going to college anywhere from Vanderbilt University to a full ride at Colorado State, which was definitely helped by our efforts as Ambassadors. And, hey, I think that’s pretty cool!