A crew of young videographers (ages 19 – 22) completed a national road trip of National Parks today by floating down the Chattahoochee River. On their return to their studios, the videographers will begin posting videos of their National Park Adventure on YouTube, a project by the National Parks Promotion Council to interest other youth in visiting national parks.
The YouTube video road trip began in June with a test trip to Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The video crew was selected for their large following (over 70,000 viewers) and broad distribution (over 29 million views). These aren’t your typical national park videographers… only one of the crew could ever recall visiting a national park previously and they had built their success parodying video games, not showing images of the outdoors. So, we knew they could reach a core target of youth who also don’t visit parks.
Their first assignment was a test, to see what they could accomplish. They went to Golden Gate National Recreation Area for a day and made seven videos from it. Those videos have received over 55,000 views in four weeks, with 33,000 generated from the new website they created for the road trip, alone. Over 2,500 youth became subscribers to the npadventure site, meaning that each of their videos which will begin airing in the coming week will be seen not less than 2,500 times.
Among national park units visited on their adventure include: Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Alcatraz, Chrissy Field, the Presidio, Baker Beach, Golden Gate Bridge), Lassen VNP, Redwood N&SPs, Oregon Caves NM, Crater Lake NP, Channel Islands NP, Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Cabrillo NM, Governor’s Island NM, African Burial Ground NM, Teddy Roosevelt NHS, Castle Clinton NM, Statue of Liberty NM and Ellis Island, Valley Forge NHP, Independence NHP, Edgar Allen Poe NHS, Gettysburg NMP, National Mall NHS (National Mall, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and other memorial sites), C&O Canal NHP, martin Luther King NHS, Kennesaw Mountain NBP and Chattahoochee River NRA. In numerous locales, they interviewed and involved local youth who communicate their impressions of the fun and inspiration they’ve experienced visiting national parks.
On a hike to Solstice Canyon in Santa Monica Mountains NRA, they joined Crenshaw High School students, at Oregon Caves NM an inspirational youthful interpretive ranger brought the park experience to life. The same occurred at African Burial Ground at which a young black interpreter explained the fascinating stories the preserved site has to tell. Her narrative, along with the unscripted stories of other young people are having their effect. Comments posted by other youth so far have been very encouraging. Here are some examples:
- this way of filming is just great… u see normal people havinig fun at great monuments and u feel nearly being there
- I’m really glad you are doing this project. Shows things from a real perspective.
- You know what? I really like this. This isn’t just some comedy skit; it’s the cast of my favorite YouTube series having a good time. That’s what I like about this channel.
- This is different from the usual, but it’s cool!
- WE want more!!!:P
- it’s always great to explore new things, it’s always nice to see great parks for people who like to travel thanks for putting this up
- Wow awsome, you guys are really cool; you’d be fun to hang with!
What’s been insightful from reading the comments is how disconnected youth are from national parks and the outdoors. Any park is a national park to them, even if it’s local. However, the NPPC crew is focusing on national park units and communicating the variety of experiences to be enjoyed in them from kayaking to sea caves at Channel Islands, to putting on a suit of conquistador’s armor at Cabrillo, to exploring caves in Oregon, to searching for the world’s tallest tree, to being moved by the stories told by people whose ancestors (all young people then) did heroic things to make our country what it is today.
Videos from their National Park Adventure will begin appearing in early September at www.youtube/nationalparkadv. A survey and a contest attached to the videos explore youth connections to the national parks and encourage youth to make their own national park video adventures.