Nearly seventeen years ago I with help from others who believed as I did began an organization to involve local youth in restoring fish habitat. At that time many elected leaders and community members ridiculed the idea. One called it a cheap child labor force, another wanted nothing to do with the idea or youth. However a few individuals stood up and said it will be a hard rock to push up the hill but it’s the right thing to do. One such state senator actually came out in the first year and worked with the youth, without fanfare or public knowledge. Over the years hundreds of local youth have worked quietly along south central Alaska’s streams, trails and lake shores. Learning and earning along the way, national recognition grew, local sponsors supported the efforts. However local politics made some shun the efforts of your local youth, for myself and the board of directors it was not for personal recognition it was for the community and the youth, we saw the importance. Over the years I’ve continued to serve on the board, resigned as executive director when elected to the legislature, however continued to be a big mouth of the efforts of these youth. In this seventeen years a great many accolades have been given to the program, myself and its executive director. However, none have surpassed the knowledge that some of these youth have learned and gone on to become stewards of others and Alaska resources.
The youth I have had the honor to work with, supported by the sponsors who cared has been awesome. To those who act without integrity, throw out names and labels shame on you, if we as adults cannot act with ethics, honor and integrity. How can you expect our youth to grow up with the moral compass and integrity our society needs? To those who act childish behavior and whisper rumors and call names, I say grow up! The last time I checked I have never bitten anyone for confronting me head on with their comments, even though my last name is Wolf. I respect everyone until they remove that respect with their actions.
I campaigned for borough assembly on the statement to pound 2011-12 back in the hole from where it came. Not because it was a catchy phrase, but because we can’t enforce it fiscally, in a reactive form of government, we must be proactive to protect our habitat!