Bow Seat’s New Future Blue Youth Council Will Empower Alumni to Continue Their Creative Advocacy JourneysSeptember 11, 2020
Since Bow Seat was founded in 2011, nearly 18,000 youth from around the world have participated in our programs that harness the power of art and creativity to raise environmental awareness and action. For many of these students, this experience was a stepping stone into the world of advocacy. The artistic process was a means for them to investigate knowledge and feelings around environmental issues, as well as a way to find and share their voice. It shaped their attitudes about their own power to make a difference and gave them the courage to speak up about the changes they want to see in their communities and for their futures.
We are excited to build on the strength and passion of our global participants, and their desire to stay involved in environmental conservation and action, by launching the Future Blue Youth Council. This group will be made up of diverse Bow Seat alumni ages 16-21 who work together to advance Bow Seat’s mission and to empower fellow peers to advocate for a healthier and safer future for all. In particular, the Council members will collaborate to create and oversee a new by-youth, for-youth environmental grantmaking program; and contribute their experience, creativity, and insight to inform, advise, and shape Bow Seat’s educational programming and outreach.
“For almost a decade, I’ve heard from our participants how our programs have not only educated them about ocean conservation issues, but also made them reflect on the impact of their own actions, instilled them with the courage to share their skills and voices, and welcomed them into a passionate community of changemakers,” said Linda Cabot, Bow Seat’s founder and president.
In fact, many participants report that connecting with a global community of fellow teens interested in ocean conservation and creative communications inspires them, and gives them a sense of belonging and of being part of an important global movement. As one student remarked, “‘I feel like I’m on a team.’”
“Over the years, we’ve engaged our alumni as interns, Ocean Awareness Contest judges, and campaign ambassadors, and we’ve always been impressed by the thoughtful and creative ideas they contribute,” continued Linda. “That’s why Bow Seat is thrilled to invest in a new, structured initiative—a team, so to speak—that offers alumni a paid opportunity to work together to design and lead a youth-powered grantmaking program, build and strengthen important skills, and learn from and connect with like-minded peers and adult experts in the ocean conservation community. The Council reflects our ongoing commitment to supporting young leaders taking creative action for our blue planet.”
The development of the Future Blue Youth Council was led by Bow Seat alumna Akhila Bandlora during her Summer 2020 internship. A student from landlocked Phoenix, Arizona, Akhila didn’t fully grasp our ocean’s troubling state of affairs until she conducted extensive research for her poetry submission to the 2017 Ocean Awareness Contest. This experience sparked her environmental activism, and since earning the Contest’s Gold Award, Akhila has helped organize Arizona’s Youth Climate Strike, joined EarthEcho International’s Youth Leadership Council, and served as a Sea Youth Rise Up delegate.
“I’m so grateful to have been trusted to create the framework for the Future Blue Youth Council alongside the rest of the Bow Seat team this summer,” said Akhila. “I’m thrilled to watch all the incredible ways members will make this Council something uniquely their own. Above all, I hope folks find friendship, support, and generosity in each other in their shared goal of environmental service.”
Applications are now open for the Future Blue Youth Council, with a deadline of November 6th. Learn more and apply >