On a foggy July morning at Crescent Beach, a group of teenagers and their naturalist guide scrambled over driftwood and sand dunes in search of edible plants. Later that day, another group of young people prepped inflatable kayaks for ecotourists eager to float a sunny section of the Smith River. And yet another group of youth participated in a children’s sign language program at the Del Norte County Library.

The summertime activities were part of Building Healthy Communities’ annual “Summer By Design” program that, with the help of multiple community partners, provides youth ages 5 to 24 opportunities to fill their summer days with fun, educational activities and hands-on career exploration.

“Our youth are doing great things, debunking the myth that there’s nothing for young people to do in our community,” said BHC Initiative Director Michelle Carrillo. “BHC and our community partners invite the public to join us in lifting up the youths’ work and give young people the support they need.”

To celebrate the youths’ accomplishments. BHC has invited everyone to attend the free Summer By Design Youth Showcase 5:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 810 H St., Crescent City. The event will feature a free dinner and daycare. RSVP online at bit.ly/SummerYouthShowcase2018 or call the Wild Rivers Community Foundation office at 707-465-1238.

During the showcase, youth involved in the Youth Training Academy, E3 and other youth activities will highlight their projects.

“Families, friends, community members — anybody interested in supporting local youth are encouraged to attend,” Carrillo said.

The Summer By Design program includes BHC’s free summer Youth Training Academy, which matches youth in 10th grade through age 24 with experts in local career pathways such as media, ecotourism, early childhood education, health, entrepreneurism, organizing and sustainable food practices. The YTA, based at College of the Redwoods Del Norte campus, is funded by a grant from The California Endowment. Participants who finish the five-week program receive a $500 stipend.

BHC also collaborates with the Del Norte Workforce and the school district to promote the E3 job training program (E3 stands for Education, Experience and Employment). More than 20 youth were employed this summer with local businesses and agencies, getting real work experience along with training and support from teachers.

BHC and a group of parents, nonprofits and agencies worked together to create a summer of opportunities for youth of all ages that are published in a “Summer By Design” guide distributed by The Triplicate and at sites throughout the county. The activities include summer camps, recreational activities, reading, art and theater programs.

For more information about BHC and its many programs, call 707-465-1238 or find its Facebook page: @bchdnatl.

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