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“I’ll Get Up For Dolphins!” Unveiling the EmpowerGen Boulder to Baja Adventure Series

Embarking on a Journey of Co-Creation: Join the Playa Puertecito Adventure!

Get ready for an exhilarating storytelling journey as we unveil a multi-part series within the EmpowerGen column, showcasing the extraordinary “Boulder to Baja” adventure of cultural exchange, innovation, and sustainable living. Building upon the inspiring stories of youth changemakers featured in our previous articles, we’re thrilled to share the exciting progress made by these young visionaries.

In a recent article, we highlighted Summer, a remarkable young leader who, along with two other teens, recently explored the breathtaking landscapes of Playa Puertecito,  a magical land on the Sea of Cortez on the Baja peninsula, Mexico, where a “Playground of Possibilities” is emerging.  

A purpose-aligned community currently being grounded by youth serving organizations: PeaceJam, Dream Tank, along with land, education, adventure and tourism partner organizations in Mexico, is coming together to fund and design a campus bolstered by a regenerative eco-village where like-minded residents share their expertise and support our youth in dreaming, designing and inheriting the future they need to know is possible at this critical time. 

Together, the teens immersed themselves in the beauty and potential of this magical land, envisioning the creative possibilities for our collaborative community.

This adventure goes beyond mere exploration—it’s an opportunity for healing, cultural exchange, play, and connection with nature. Research has shown that play is a powerful tool for youth development, fostering creativity, resilience, and social connections. In an article by renowned psychologist Dr. Peter Gray, he emphasizes the importance of play for young people’s well-being and their ability to navigate an ever-changing world.

Drawing inspiration from Summer’s impactful journey and the growing momentum of youth-driven change, our upcoming series will delve deeper into the transformative experiences and discoveries made during our time at Playa Puertecito. It’s a testament to the power of play, cultural exchange, and connection with nature in shaping a sustainable future for the youth of Boulder and beyond.

Here is what Summer has to say about the land:

“Upon arrival at Playa Puertecito, I was immediately stunned at the beauty and possibility of the land. The beautiful teal blue water, the beach, the sunsets. We camped out for two nights, and the experience was a noteworthy one. I could feel that this cove was special and was excited about the future projects that were being planned. 

I had been told that in the morning dolphins came right into our cove, and you could see them from the beach. However, they are only there early in the mornings. Being a teenager, I wasn’t happy that early morning was the only time to spectate these magical creatures. However, I decided that of course, I would wake up for dolphins. The next morning, my mom and I walked down to the beach, and sure enough, there they were. Around twenty dolphins swimming right in front of our beach. I couldn’t believe it. I could sit there and watch them for hours splashing and playing in the waves. Too bad the water was choppy that day, because my mom and I tried to take a small dinghy out to get a closer look. It was definitely a struggle, and my clothes got soaking wet. Eventually we realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to take such a small boat out in choppy waters. But as soon as I go back, I’m taking a stand-up paddleboard right out to see the dolphins up close. Watching them was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again.” 

As we embark on this adventure, we invite you to join us in celebrating the passion and ingenuity of these young changemakers. Follow along as we share their inspiring stories, the connections they forged with local communities, and the creative visions they developed for a better world.

Stay tuned for the first installment of our Playa Puertecito Adventure series, where we’ll dive into the initial explorations, the unique cultural exchange, and the boundless potential that awaits in this remarkable corner of the world. Watch a fun video of Summer and I on the beach that morning watching the Dolphins!

Be part of the Playa Puertecito Collaborative’s journey to create a sustainable playground of possibilities. Discover how you can contribute, engage, and join us in building a better world for the next generation by following our Patreon page and filling out the form to get involved. If you’re a young changemaker with a powerful voice and a passion for creating positive change, we invite you to apply to be featured in our EmpowerGen column and have your voice heard. Visit the Dream Tank website and apply now: Link to EmpowerGen Application

Turning Passion into a Livelihood: Meet Dakota, a Young Entrepreneur Driving Climate Action

By Heidi Cuppari

While Summer was putting the finishing touches on last week’s EmpowerGen article, Gen Z: Rising Up for Climate Action and a Sustainable Future, the doorbell unexpectedly rang. On my doorstep was a smiling teenager named Dakota Hess-Tolene, who was going door to door in my neighborhood with a great deal to help Boulder residents go renewable, saving money and energy. I was astounded at the beauty of this synchronicity. Inside my house was a young person who is taking action and urging others to do the same for our climate, and right on my doorstep materialized a young person making it his business to do something about the rising global temperatures. I noticed his passion for his work immediately. So I decided to interview him on the spot and highlight him for this week’s column. This story was the perfect opportunity to keep the positive vibes and youth action front and center for the AboutBoulder community and beyond.

The best part: he is doing this with his mother, too. They are both having a blast making an impact and making money together. A powerful mother-son duo striving to make a change to improve the future of our world.

Below is the interview:

Heidi: What do you want to say about your generation and climate change, and what you are doing about it and how it has helped you?

Dakota: Most importantly, I want to pitch in and save the environment as well as help people save a ton of money. I want to help people own their electricity instead of being controlled by the corporate greed of the electric companies. These companies raise rates when they want. Solar power gives more power to the people. It allows us to make money, help the environment, and help ourselves.

Heidi: That’s wonderful! I have been working in impact investing for 19 years, including climate action, where one can make a profit while doing good. Models like these have the best chance of success in driving change – when change is economically driven and helps people in their day-to-day lives, it has a greater impact. You are a shining example of that. What drives you? What is your big dream?

Dakota: My big dream is to have a big family. I’m doing this business because I want to be able to support my family and create generational knowledge and wealth to inspire future generations.

Heidi: Interesting you said that about having a big family. That’s different from what I’ve heard from others in your generation, as Summer mentioned in last week’s article. Many are scared of having kids for a future they don’t know is secure, especially with the environmental issues. What’s different for you?

Dakota: If I have all these kids, I can help guide them to the future and teach them about keeping the environment clean and spreading that knowledge to their kids and everyone they talk to. It’s a positive spread. The more people that teach and do positive things, the more it will take over.

Heidi: That’s wonderful! And you can already do that now by inspiring others your age, right?

Dakota: Absolutely!

Heidi: Tell me more about your solar job. I love hearing about passionate young people addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through business. (The SDG’s are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. Latest Progress Report Here)

Dakota: Solar is making a positive impact in every way. It helps the environment and allows people to save money.

Heidi: It also seems to bring a huge smile to your face! That’s wonderful to see, Dakota. Smiling and maintaining positive mental health are crucial, especially for your generation. In recent years, there has been a growing concern about mental health challenges among young people. Have you noticed any of these challenges among your peers? What’s your take on it?

Dakota: Many people in my generation feel like there isn’t much room for growth in their jobs. They often find themselves stuck in minimum wage and feel like they can’t progress because it doesn’t provide enough financial incentive and good products, or the companies don’t treat their employees well. At ADT Solar, one of the best solar companies out there, we can offer security and roofing services in addition to solar. There are a lot of scammy solar companies out there that don’t prioritize doing what’s right. ADT has the best warranties and focuses on keeping people safe. They also treat their employees well, which is why I made the switch from other companies.

Heidi: That’s interesting, and it aligns with my work in helping people create more options and redefine the future of work. It’s truly magical to connect with you and hear your story. So, tell me a bit more about your life. Did you grow up in Boulder?

Dakota: No, I actually moved to Boulder from Georgia during my freshman year of high school. I just graduated from Boulder High School. Due to the pandemic, I didn’t have many opportunities to make friends in person as I was mostly online. When I was in the neighborhood, I started to make friends, but then we moved to the mountains, and I experienced absolute isolation for two years. I decided to make peace with the situation and focus on my personal growth. That’s when I started working out a lot and prioritizing my physical and mental well-being.

Heidi: That’s incredible, Dakota. You turned a challenging situation into something positive, and your determination is truly inspiring.

As I conclude this interview, I am amazed by Dakota’s drive and passion for creating a sustainable future. His commitment to environmental action and his desire to support future generations is truly admirable. Dakota is a shining example of how young people can make a positive impact and shape a better world.

Let’s all take inspiration from Dakota’s story and continue to support the youth in their journey to create change. There is hope for a brighter, more sustainable future as long as we all decide to make a change for the better.To read more empowering articles and discover how you can share your voice in our EmpowerGen column, visit our website: Join the ‘EmpowerGen’ Revolution – Dream Tank (wearedreamtank.org)

EmpowerGen Column: Gen Z’s Voice in Climate Action

Hey Dream Tank community! We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new EmpowerGen column, where we shine a spotlight on the incredible ideas and initiatives of Gen Z. Each week, we’ll explore the innovative ways young people are taking action to combat climate change and create a sustainable future.

In this week’s EmpowerGen column, our amazing contributor Summer Cuppari Gould shares her insights on the critical role that Gen Z plays in climate action.

She dives into the passion, determination, and emotional burden that Gen Zers carry as they fight for a better world.

Summer highlights the fact that Gen Z and millennials are more concerned about climate action than any previous generation. Their engagement with the issue goes beyond mere conversations; they’re taking real action. According to Pew Research Center, a significant percentage of Gen Zers have donated money, contacted elected officials, volunteered, or attended rallies to address climate change in the last year. Their passion and drive to make a difference are truly inspiring.

The article also delves into the impact of social media, particularly TikTok, in raising awareness about climate change. Summer discusses how countless young people are using this platform to advocate for change and spark meaningful discussions. It’s incredible to witness the power of a 60-second video in inspiring a movement.

Summer shares her personal experiences, discussing the mixed responses she receives when talking to adults about climate change. While some adults are actively engaged and supportive, others dismiss the issue or change the subject. This highlights the importance of collective action and the need for everyone, regardless of age, to come together and address this global challenge.

We’re excited to invite other teens and young adults to join our EmpowerGen column and have their voices heard. If you’re passionate about climate action and want to share your ideas, initiatives, or experiences, we encourage you to apply and become part of our community. Together, we can make a real difference and create a brighter future for all.

Don’t forget to read Summer’s insightful article and share it with a young person in your life. Let’s amplify the voices of Gen Z and inspire others to take action!


To read the full article, click here


#EmpowerGen #ClimateAction #GenZ #YouthLeadership #Sustainability #DreamTank #YouthEmpowerment #ClimateChange #ApplyNow #tiktok

Unleashing the Voices of the Future: Dream Tank’s New ‘EmpowerGen’ Column and Partnerships

We’re incredibly excited to announce a new initiative from Dream Tank that amplifies the voices of tomorrow’s leaders today. In collaboration with AboutBoulder.com, we’ve launched a new weekly column, “EmpowerGen: Amplifying the Voice of the Future.”

Co-authored by Dream Tank founder Heidi Cuppari and contributed by insightful teens and young adults, this column aims to revolutionize the dialogue surrounding the state of today’s youth. Joining this transformative initiative as a contributing editor and production assistant, we’re proud to welcome Summer Cuppari Gould. A recent graduate of Fairview High School in Boulder and a soon-to-be freshman at the University of Colorado Leeds Business School, Summer has been a changemaker since the tender age of 7, helping her mom Heidi to create and launch Dream Tank, and serving as a youth climate delegate at the United Nations.

“EmpowerGen” is more than a column. It’s a dynamic platform where youth can confidently express their thoughts, ideas, and hopes for the future. Our goal is to underscore the message: “You Have A Voice.” We want to show the world the power of youth, the hope they embody, and the creativity they wield.

But we’re not just launching a new column, we’re also proud to announce our collaboration with PeaceJam and their Billion Acts of Peace initiative. PeaceJam is an international education program that connects youth with Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, inspiring them to create positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world. The Billion Acts of Peace initiative is a global citizen’s movement intended to tackle the most critical problems facing our planet.

We believe that by teaming up with PeaceJam and their Billion Acts of Peace initiative, we can strengthen our mission and extend our reach, inspiring and supporting more young people to become the changemakers of tomorrow. With these partnerships, we are poised to further Dream Tank’s mission: to ignite the next generation through entrepreneurship and design thinking.

We’re delighted to share the first issue of “EmpowerGen: Amplifying the Voice of the Future” and invite you to join us, along with Heidi and Summer, on this exciting journey of mentoring, empowering, and shaping tomorrow’s leaders. Because at Dream Tank, we’re not just dreaming, we’re doing. And with your support, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.

Dream Tank is a 501c3 non-profit social enterprise. Contributions to DreamTank ™ are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.