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Johnie Tucker has worked for 16 years with Vancouver Parks & Recreation. He runs teen programs and develops special activities for families and out-of-school programs for younger children. His work is infused with a strong commitment to working with the community and with partners to match his resources and create the best possible experience for his intended audience. Tucker says, “When I go into an agreement, I ask myself, how can I make my partner’s program better? In any partnership I try to do what I do best and rely on them to do what they do best.”
Tucker has used joint use agreements in a variety of ways that support physical activity for youth and active community environments. His many experiences with shared use agreements include:
Tucker’s most ambitious shared use project is with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Service and the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees. In an annual contract for the Urban Youth Program, the Vancouver Parks Department agrees to recruit youth volunteers to staff forest projects in areas not open to the public, providing youth with unique access to pristine natural environments. Tucker provides transportation and food and handles the logistics, while the Forest Service provides training and guidance by professional hydrologists, biologists and trail-building experts. The USDA Coalition of Minority Employees manages the program funds.
Teens worked in the Mt. St. Helens blast zone and collected water samples from Spirit Lake. Over time, thousands of teens have assisted with cleaning up public lands, planting trees, clearing and restoring trails and tracking migratory birds.
For Tucker, this shared use arrangement is the culmination of his work with youth, and draws on his previous background in treatment work for youth and adults struggling with addiction. “This experience gives kids the opportunity to see things that fall outside their normal experiences,” Tucker says. “This partnership introduces youth to work opportunities as hydrologists, biologists and rangers – and this opportunity sets up hope for them.”
Featured: December 2011
Nutrition and physical activity practitioners in Washington