YTT is About Community and Care

A participant of the 2020 and 2021 summer job training program writes about her experience and shares comments from other Youth Tree Team students.

More program information available on our website at:

Applications for 2022 Youth Tree Team Open November 15


A YTT team photo at the visit to Arabia Mountain featuring Ranger Robby!


Early Sprouts: Acorns to Oaks

Written by Frankie Deck, Volunteer Program Intern
Reprint from Trees Atlanta Volunteer Newsletter 10/6/21 Tree Ed

The origin of my work with Trees Atlanta was with Youth Tree Team (YTT), a workforce development program run over the summer for 7 weeks by Trees Atlanta, concentrating on educating and developing teens ages 14-18 for green collar jobs. With experience, a regular YTT member can become a Leader-In-Training, working more directly with the supervisors and becoming a co-lead for your own crew.

The work is primarily tree care on the BeltLine and forest restoration in various Trees Atlanta sites. Weekly, YTT visits green companies to explore careers, spends time doing a financial literacy program with coaching, and learning about our native ecology: especially trees. To me, it is so much more.

Frankie Deck, 2020 and 2021 Youth Tree Team member and current Volunteer Program Intern


From my first application to my last day, YTT was about community and care. Not just from an ecological standpoint, but a human one. It captured a compassion for nature in a team of my peers and allowed me to see the opportunity of pursuing a career in forestry.

Lots of kids enter YTT with little to no tree knowledge or prior jobs. By the end of the summer, most leave able to identify ten trees and understand how to apply skills in professionalism and finance into building their own careers. Not only that, but they leave with the intention to return next summer. Not to retake the same financial literacy course or to review the same trees, but for the opportunity to engage in the outdoors and a community many children are exempt from growing up in the city.

The program is diverse, more and more competitive each year, and unlike anything else in the city of Atlanta. To the point of it all, if you have any teens in your life, I implore you to encourage an application this year as they open in November. Even if they don’t make it on to the team, the application process will leave one more tree in the ground. For me, it was two unforgettable summers that forged professional relationships I continue now and friendships I can’t see a life without.

Beyond just my word, hear from some other YTT members:

  • The Youth Tree Team was an amazing summer job that allowed me to explore various opportunities related to Atlanta‚Äôs urban canopy while developing leadership skills with like-minded passionate people. – Gabriel Rice, YTT Graduate
  • We were so lucky to, as teenagers, get a job in an organization that supports the environment and educates its workers on how to get future jobs. This was not a common opportunity. – Ian Hogben, YTT Graduate
  • Amazing group of people to work with and a great opportunity to learn about our community, and how we can do our part to benefit it. – Cora Pruitt, Former YTT Member
  • Over the time I spent at Trees Atlanta, my mind and ideas were opened to new possibilities for my life and future, and the future of the world as well. I met people I will never forget and made some of my best memories in life so far. YTT and Treelite for life! – Cecilia Rice, Former YTT Member
  • I am beyond grateful for the experiences I had while a part of the Youth Tree Team. The lessons I learned from financial literacy, the capstone project, and the restoration days helped me to grow as a person. I use the skills I learned to this day to better the environments I find myself in. – Gwyn Kelley, YTT Graduate
  • The endless opportunities Trees Atlanta offered me through the Youth Tree Team over the last two summers has been amazing, from educational moments to leadership development to making friends with the same passion. I will always be appreciative of the experience they’ve provided. – Angel Abreu, YTT Graduate


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