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Udall Foundation’s Parks in Focus® Program Receives 2023 Youth Impact Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson

Posted: 7/11/2023
staff photo
Udall Foundation’s Parks in Focus® Team with
Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson's 2023 Youth Impact Award

The Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation (Udall Foundation) was presented with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson’s (BGCT or Club) 2023 Youth Impact Award at their annual Youth of the Year Celebration on June 15, 2023. The two organizations have been partnering for 25 years through the Udall Foundation’s Stewart L. Udall Parks in Focus® Program (Parks in Focus®), which connects youth to nature and our Nation’s public lands through photography and outdoor learning.

BGCT created the Youth Impact Award in 2016 to recognize an individual, couple, or organization that has made a consequential impact on Club youth through innovative program enhancement.

“There is a magic in Arizona’s parks, both state and national, that every youth deserves to experience. They are filled with educational opportunities, teaching about the unique heritage of the Southwest while celebrating its timeless beauty. Parks in Focus® takes it a step further by putting cameras into the hands of all participants, imparting powerful digital and artistic skills,” said Denise Watters, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. “There’s so much that can be said about this immensely special program created through one of our most treasured partnerships with the Udall Foundation: it celebrates science, uplifts creativity, inspires curiosity, and creates memories that last a lifetime. Across the incredible scope of programs we offer, Parks in Focus® continues to be a favorite of both mine and the youth who participate in it yearly. According to one of our 2023 Youth of the Year candidates, this program changed her life, and in my view that captures its impact perfectly.”

photo from participant
Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson
photo from participant
PHOTO BY: Hamza, AGE 14
Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson

photo from participant
Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson

Since 1999, Parks in Focus® has placed cameras in the hands of more than 1,000 BGCT youth and guided them on thousands of hours of exciting and educational after-school, weekend, and summer adventures in settings ranging from neighborhood parks to the Grand Canyon. The program uses photography as a tool to promote environmental exploration and learning and as a creative outlet for youth to document and reflect on their outdoor experiences.

“From the beginning of Parks in Focus® in 1999, the Boys & Girls Clubs have been with us every step of the way—helping us to improve and grow our program while ensuring it remains relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of our youth and communities” said Charlie Rose, chair of the Udall Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “We are grateful for the deep level of commitment and support from our Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson partners and are honored to receive the Youth Impact Award. Together with the Boys & Girls Clubs, we look forward to continuing and expanding meaningful opportunities for Tucson youth to experience our Nation’s parks and public lands through Parks in Focus®.”

The Udall Foundation’s flagship partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson now inspires and informs the work Parks in Focus® does with other youth-serving partners around Tucson—including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, Owl & Panther, and Imago Dei Middle School—as well as through other satellite initiatives around the state and across the country. The program is made possible in part through grants and donations received by the Udall Foundation and Western National Parks Association, the official nonprofit partner for Parks in Focus®.

More Information
For more information regarding the Udall Foundation’s work, please visit its website. For images to use with this press release or for more information regarding Parks in Focus®, please contact Bret Muter, Deputy Director of Education Programs and Grants, Gifts, and Donations Manager, at or 520.901.8569.

About the Udall Foundation
The Morris K. Udall Foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor Morris K. Udall's lasting impact on this Nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, and his support of the rights and self-governance of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to also honor Stewart L. Udall for his half century of distinguished national leadership in environmental and Native American policy. The agency is known today as the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation (Udall Foundation) and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.

The Udall Foundation is authorized by Congress to:

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