Top Feeling: Being a Next Gen Advocate for the Adirondack Park

By: Nicholle L. Gotham - Assistant Director of Development
Thursday, February 15, 2024

When my parents moved out of my childhood home a few years back, I spent a long day in the North Country sorting through box after box of faded school art projects, beloved and worn paperbacks, long-forgotten stuffed animals, and other mementos that I had convinced myself I would someday want to hang onto. One of the gems I rediscovered was a journal I kept the summer before my junior year of high school.

a sign welcomes people to the Adirondack ParkThat summer was full of adventures fueled by the new-found freedom of spending the school break with a driver’s license for the first time. Looking back at that summer (and my childhood as a whole), I now realize how incredibly lucky and privileged I was to have grown up in the foothills of one of America’s iconic landscapes – the Adirondacks. One of my favorite entries in this journal describes some of the feelings years of journeys through the Park elicited:

Top Feelings:

  • Wind rustling my hair as you push toward a summit (literally a second wind kicking in?)
  • Navigating a path through the roots and rocks underneath my feet on a trail run (and how the leaves crunch underfoot during the fall)
  • The sun warming my face and shoulders as I sit atop a mountain or lookout on the first “warm” hike in spring
  • The joy of sitting next to a waterfall in Stone Valley with a book and my dog, Murphy
  • Cool water as it splashes onto my legs on a hot summer day while paddling in the ancient (aka incredibly heavy!!) and well-loved blue canoe that belongs to my grandparents
  • Making snowballs with mitten-clad hands to toss around with friends after a long winter walk where snow has collected in your hair and on your eyelashes

While my 16-year-old self was wrong and naïve about *so* many things, I was right that even now, a decade later, these are some of my favorite moments and feelings in life that I, very gratefully, still get to experience. One addition my 26-year-old self has for the list is:

  • Working for an organization where I am an advocate for my favorite place alongside incredible and passionate colleagues, volunteers, and fellow advocates

The possibilities of what the next generation can accomplish as advocates is an inspiring, driving force behind my work. I hope you will consider joining us to preserve the water, air, and wildlands of the Park, and like me, add “Being an advocate for the Adirondacks” to your list of top feelings.

members of the Council's Next Gen Council with staffWith that being said, I am thrilled to share that the Adirondack Council is currently accepting applications for new members to join our Next Gen Council!

Through volunteering to serve as part of Next Gen, you will work with our current group of 10 young professionals to bolster support for, expand, and diversify the constituency that advocates for preservation of the Adirondack Park’s clean water, clean air, ecological integrity, and wild character.  

Next Gen members at a ski night in Lake PlacidBy joining the group, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain knowledge of the challenges facing the Park and valuable experience volunteering in the nonprofit world through high-quality interactions with the staff, board, and friends of The Adirondack Council.
  • Foster education surrounding the importance of the Park and the challenges it faces in their networks, both within and outside the region, and be advocates for the Council through social media.
  • Orchestrate a signature event aimed at the next generation (but open to all) of environmental leaders to raise awareness of the importance of the Council’s work in preservation of the Adirondacks and to bolster support.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the Adirondacks, the Adirondack Council, and the Next Gen Council and support recruitment and retention of young Adirondack Council supporters.
  • Provide input and generational perspectives to Council staff.

To learn more about our Next Gen Council and to apply, please visit our Next Gen page, and feel free to spread the word to friends and family who are passionate about the Park!

If you have any questions or would like to connect about this opportunity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at or by calling 518.873.2240 x 103.

Looking for more ways to get involved with the Council?

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