October marks the opening of APA’s application period for the 2018 Ambassadors Program. This initiative has been created to reach future planners with diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. With recent national events, it is critical for the field of planning to grow more inclusive and diverse to continue to be relevant to communities of color and disadvantaged populations. It is also increasingly important for individual planners to connect to young people in these communities on a personal level to support just decisions and live up to the APA code of ethics.
Section A of the AICP ethics code describes the principals to which we aspire, including to “always be conscious of the rights of others” and “seek social justice by working to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of the disadvantaged and to promote racial and economic integration.” Planners have the responsibility to alter and oppose policies, institutions, and decisions that oppose such needs.
One of the best parts of this program is the flexibility. You can create and conduct any type of activity or follow one tested by other planners from the APA Ambassador Blog Series.
As an APA Ambassador you will find the following opportunities and benefits:
- Play a critical role to help increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the planning field by engaging students; teach them about the planning professional and educational opportunities to pursue a career in planning.
- Earn up to 8 AICP credits (from the pro-bono and self-reporting category)
- Strengthen your professional planning skills in public speaking, communication, coordination, and public engagement.
- Maximize your valuable time in volunteer activities at a location of your choice, such as schools, community-based organizations, career fairs, or other locations where you think you will have an impact in reaching students.
- Connect to a national and local support network of past and fellow ambassadors to share examples, lessons learned, success stories, and materials.
- Give back to your community and bring resources into the region’s urban neighborhoods.
- Engage with young people and community leaders in diverse communities face to face.
How to Apply
The application window is open October – December. If you are interested in applying to be an APA Ambassador in 2018, you can apply here by December 31, 2017. The program starts in January and if selected, you have a one-year commitment to attend an orientation webinar, conduct two or more activities during the 2018 calendar year. You will also be asked to complete some follow up surveys and reports on your activity. Before applying, check out this guide for volunteers and the APA Ambassadors Factsheet.
New this year is the option to register as a team or an individual. If you would like to lead a team or apply as part of group of other planners in our region, please contact Maggie Rwakazina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most volunteer work conducted for the Ambassadors program should qualify for the pro-bono credits toward maintaining your AICP certification. The pro-bono CM credits are within the self-reported category. You can claim up to 8 hours of self-reported CM’s per cycle. Before you claim any pro-bono credit, view this short informational presentation.
(Image from APA Ambassador’s blog: https://planning.org/blog/blogpost/9135678/ )