Apply Now to Be a NextGen Trail Leader

Apply to Be a 2024 NextGen Trail Leader

*1/4/24 UPDATE* Thank you for your interest in the NextGen Trail Leader Program. The application period is now closed. Selections will be made in mid-January with a public announcement in late January. All who submitted applications will receive any email with selection status prior to the public announcement. Please contact if you have any questions.

American Hiking Society (AHS) invites applications for its seventh class of NextGen Trail Leaders. With the goal to welcome all into the hiking community and advance public lands advocacy, we’re seeking five individuals, aged 18-40, from across the country who are interested in gaining advocacy experience and be a voice of young hikers for advocacy and stewardship. 2024 will be an important year in outdoor advocacy, and AHS is looking to support new voices to lead the way!

Deadline to apply is January 3, 2024.

Apply Below

NextGen Trail Leaders will:

  • Partner with American Hiking Society as a voice for public lands across social media and AHS communications;
  • Receive advocacy and communications training to be effective advocates and leaders;
  • Join quarterly community calls to meet with fellow NextGen participants and members of the AHS community
  • Participate in Hike the Hill® (virtual event), the annual advocacy week for trail users, and meet virtually with members of Congress and agency leaders on public lands and trail issues;
  • Join annual National Trails Day® events in June as a host or participant;
  • Have the opportunity to participate in a Volunteer Vacations trail stewardship trip at no cost (up to $860);
  • Be provided opportunities to attend events and build connections with other professionals in the outdoor industry;
  • Receive Mentorship from American Hiking Society Board Members;
  • Participate in other AHS programs and activities;

AHS Support for NextGen Trail Leaders includes:

  • $2,000 professional development stipend to support career advancement goals(Stipend may be used for conference registration fees, training courses, trips, conservation work, etc.);
  • Complimentary Volunteer Vacation week long trail stewardship trip participation, including travel, lodging, and meals (up to $860) (funding contingent);
  • $500 Gear Scholarship for outdoor recreation needs;
  • Complimentary virtual registration for Hike the Hill®  2024;
  • Advocacy and communications training and support;
  • Introductions/Connections to  NextGen Trail leader alumni;
  • Swag and gear from AHS and (when available) corporate sponsors

Applicants should be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 40;
  • Passionate about outdoor advocacy and stewardship; and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the outdoors;
  • Excellent, dynamic communicators with an interest in sharing their voice on social media;
  • Available to attend portions of  virtual Hike the Hill®  issue briefings January 22-25 and meetings with congressional staff in February/March 2024 (we’ll work with your schedule);
  • Available to attend or host a National Trails Day® event on June 1, 2024;
  • Available to engage quarterly on social media and AHS communications on efforts to advance public lands and support and expand a diverse hiking community.

Apply Now