On our first expedition, we walked alongside Yosemite Creek and rested in several spots. The Creek sustained us: we drank from its water and were shaded by trees lining its banks. Along the Creek we also saw a variety of wildlife: the mountain chickadee, corn lillies, deer, and much more. As Yosemite Creek toppled down toward Yosemtwite Falls, we entered the homestretch of our hiking trip—in total, we hiked over twenty miles—more than any of us had ever walked! Here’s to more positive vibes and adventures in the future!
Yesterday when we emerged from our tents at basecamp in the early hours, many of us were surprised to see grey clouds and rain. We did our typical routine and loaded up into the vans expecting a frigid, wet raft ride. To all of our surprise though, the sun rose upon our river journey. We had a spirited splash war as we drifted down the beautiful, scenic Merced. We bonded together more than any previous day and learned that even cloudy days can bring joy! – Anadi
Imagine yourself suspended by a rope high above Donner Summit, or hiking a steep mountain pass in Yosemite for the first time. While Sean McAlindin, the Program Coordinator for Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) in Tahoe, is preparing to lead a team through literacy and leadership experiences in Desolation Wilderness and the Tahoe Basin this summer, Will Fassett, the Program Coordinator in Central California, has already begun to guide his team through the immersion course in Yosemite National Park.
The ARC 24-day Tahoe course will feature all the adventure that ARC is known for, opening with a challenging 6-day backpacking expedition through Desolation Wilderness, followed by rock climbing on Donner Summit, rafting the Truckee River, a ropes course on Mt. Rose with Project Discovery, a 5-day trek into Granite Chief Wilderness, and a stirring 24-hour solo.
“This is the first time we’ve offered a 24-day course, so we are excited to see how it compares to our classic 40-day offering,” said McAlindin.
The 40-day Yosemite course will be the 18th course of this length that ARC has implemented. Highlights will include exploring Yosemite National Park’s wilderness, a hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, swimming in alpine lakes, learning, writing and teaching about Sierra Nevada natural history, and rafting the Merced River.
“This year, ARC Yosemite participants will have the privilege of attending the celebration of Yosemite’s 150th anniversary as a protected park. Calling Yosemite home for forty days, they will see firsthand why President Lincoln and so many others believed Yosemite worthy of preservation for posterity,” said Fassett.
Adventure Risk Challenge integrates outdoor adventures with over 100 hours of English language instruction and experiential learning. Back at base camp, participants will compose metaphorical poems, invite community members for an Interview Day, master and teach Environmental Science topics to students of their partner youth development programs: Aim High and the Boys & Girls Club, and write transformational essays.
Ranging in age from 15 to 18, ARC Tahoe participants come from eight Northern California high schools including Truckee, North Tahoe, Sierra, Placer Community and South Tahoe. In Yosemite, the diverse participants hail from three continents (many are recent immigrants to the U.S.) and speak eight different languages.
Participants will improve their language skills as they craft and perform poetry; they will become more independent as they learn to cook, navigate, and sleep under the stars in the backcountry; and they will become stewards of nature after living and learning in our nation’s most beautiful wilderness areas.
“As ARC’s 2014 teams face and reflect upon the challenges ahead, we look forward to discovering the dynamic personalities and leadership potential in both groups,” said Sarah Ottley, ARC Director.
My name is Salvador Meza Lemus and today I would like to share with you my experience with the ARC program.
It has already been 4 years since I graduated from the 40-day course in Yosemite. My group name was the “Hardcore Mosquitoes” and together we made unforgettable memories. Joining ARC has been one of the best choices in my life, not only have I made great friends but I have also grown as a person. During the 40-day course I improved my English and leadership skills which helped me become a better writer and also an effective leader. ARC also pushed me to go beyond my limits by teaching me that “I can do it” and that with determination everything is possible. I learned to keep going even when the hill is steep, the backpack is heavy, and my legs are giving up, I should keep trying. Throughout the course I did backpacking, water rafting, kayaking, a day of ropes course, rock climbing, rappelling and many other things that I wouldn’t have done myself if it wasn’t for ARC. When something was challenging, my team was always there to cheer me up, helping and pushing me to reach my goals. Today, 4 years and counting since I joined this incredible program, I’ve been honored with an intern position for the upcoming 2014 Truckee Summer Course. I’m super excited for this incredible opportunity and I know that with the leadership of Sean, Mel, Anna, Sarah, and all the other team members including the future summer course students, this summer will be unforgettable.
Thank-you all for believing in me and I know that together we will accomplish great things this summer!
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller