ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Earlier this month, the Capital District Regional Planning Commission welcomed some young learners to the Capital Region. A group of high school students visited the area from Aug. 8-12 for the weeklong “Future Leaders in Planning” (FLIP) program.

The group of students came from across disparate parts of the Capital Region to meet community faces, like Saratoga Springs Commissioner Jason Golub and Travon Jackson of BlueLight Development. The FLIP program gave the students a chance to learn about city and site planning by visiting the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, as well as sites around the cities of Troy and Saratoga Springs.

“FLIP is an action-packed week that allows students to be curious and explore answers to question – like how does a project get built in my community? Why is it so important to be aware and involved in planning? What are ways other than a car that I can move around the region?” Said CDRPC Planning and Economic Development Director Kate Maynard, creator of the FLIP program.

Students also got to taste local produce, fly drones around the south end of Albany, and ride CDPHP bikeshare bicycles. At the end of the week, the young minds got to bring together what they had learned by creating a conceptual site plan, which was then presented to a panel of local area experts.

The 2022 FLIP program came at no cost to students, parents or school districts. The program is financially supported by the Capital District Transportation Authority, the Capital District Transportation Committee, the University at Albany Department of Geography and Planning, and several counties, including Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady.

“We know that students don’t typically learn about how planning shapes the world in high school. so this program provides an early introduction to these career paths before they enter college,” said CDRPC Executive Director Mark Castiglione. “We also see this program as playing a part early on to provide students with further reasons they should stay and be a part of the Capital Region after they graduate from school.”