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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Darby, Kate J.

Second Advisor

Myers, Gene (O. Gene)

Third Advisor

Grant, Riley, 1981-


In partnership with RE Sources for Sustainable Communities based in Bellingham, Washington, this action research project led to the creation, implementation, and evaluation of the organization’s first youth-led organizing committee called Youth for Environment and People (YEP!). RE Sources for Sustainable Communities is an environmental education nonprofit located in Bellingham, Washington, whose mission is to, “promote sustainable communities and protect the health of northwestern Washington’s people and ecosystems through the application of science, education, advocacy and action” (RE Sources Website, 2017). Using Positive Youth Development (PYD) theory, we* implemented YEP! with the goal of increasing the teen participants’ political self-efficacy. To ensure the intended outcomes of the program would be met, I designed the program to incorporate the characteristics common to youth organizing programs which I found through a literature review and interviews with program coordinators. In order to create a program which was locally relevant and responsive, I conducted interviews with community members who have experience working with young people in the area. During the implementation, I collected qualitative data through focus groups and participant observation to determine if taking part in this committee led to increased political self-efficacy amongst the participants. This paper discusses some of the best practices of organizations supporting youth action as well as how participating in this youth-led initiative impacted the participants’ political self-efficacy. Finally, other important findings regarding the experiences of the YEP! members emerged from the data such as the value of collective efficacy.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Youth--Political activity--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Youth movements--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Young volunteers in community development--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Self-efficcy--Youth--Washington (State)--Whatcom County--Politics and government; Teenagers and the environment--Washington (Wash.)--Whatcom County; Green movement--Youth--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Sustainable urban development--Youth--Washington (State)--Whatcom County.

Geographic Coverage

Washington (State)--Whatcom County




masters theses




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