Northstar Offers Free Snowboard Day for ARC Students

On the weekend of March 17th, fourteen Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) students from the Central Valley and the Tahoe region had the opportunity to stay at Hutchinson Lodge at Clair Tappaan and snowboard at Northstar California Resort. For many of the high school students, this ARC trip at Northstar was their first experience snowboarding, and for a few, it was their first time seeing snow. Northstar provided snowboards, lessons and passes for the whole group, facilitating a meaningful day on the slopes. By the end of the day, the students were riding the chairlift up the mountain and confidently snowboarding down.

The students shared leadership responsibilities throughout the weekend, taking turns cooking meals and washing dishes. In addition to the snowboarding, the students participated in a journaling activity and a creative writing workshop, and they wrote a personal story and shared it with the group.

Jose Ponce, a junior at Truckee High School, served as a peer leader for the weekend. He is a graduate of the 2016 ARC Tahoe Summer Course. Jose demonstrated the leadership skills he gained from the summer: teaching about ARC traditions; facilitating a reflective journaling activity; and motivating his peers throughout the weekend to fulfill their own leadership roles.

As part of the Tahoe ARC Summer Course, the students each work on a transformational essay expressing their growth and self-discovery. In his transformational essay, Jose talked about the challenges he has faced as an English learner and his journey to overcome them. He stated, “I worked hard on my English skills so I could communicate with others. I worked on practicing presentations, speaking in front of the class… I spent many years improving my speech and I never gave up.”

Jose is motivated to improve his English and expand his comfort zone by speaking in front of groups and using his voice confidently. He continues to grow and give back to ARC through his drive, dedication and leadership.

Thanks to Northstar, fourteen more ARC students like Jose will be back in Tahoe later this month for another weekend of snowboarding, writing and leadership.


Water and Adventure

One thing that we have all learned to appreciate is Water! The reason for this is because during our first expedition we hiked for eight days straight. Sometimes water wouldn’t be available so when we did find water we would all be so excited. Hiking under the sun for long periods of time made us realize that water was essential for survival. Even though this was a difficult expedition due to the overwhelming heat and long hikes plus the water scarcity. We did it because, we believe in each other and feel like adventure lives in all of us.“Those who possess the spirit of adventure know the difference between doing a thing themselves and just watching other people do it” (Anonymous).


“Yosemite is the coolest place I’ve ever been!”

“This is honestly the coolest place I’ve been to (along with my hometown in Mexico),” wrote Maria Hernandez, a sophomore at Dos Palos High School, as she sat sitting in front of a campfire in Yosemite.  Maria along with her fellow ARC participants had visited Chilnualna Falls earlier in the day and had just finished preparing and eating a meal together.   For Maria, it was not an average Friday night after a long school week.

“I like the trees, the little hills, the people, and overall the environment.  I know it’s been just one day, but I can’t wait for what’s ahead.”   What was ahead for Maria’s ARC weekend?  On Saturday, she woke up at 7:30AM and hiked seven miles round-trip on the Mist Trail.  She climbed 1,900 feet up stone steps, saw a rainbow extend across the powerful expanse of Vernal Falls, and she lay in the sun next to the pools of water above Nevada Falls (the top of the hike).   It was a weekend of physical challenge and beautiful scenery with the waterfalls near their peak.

Maria wrote of the experience, “Right here, you are face to face with nature.  To be able to step away and leave your daily life, even for a little while, is one of the most awesome feelings ever.  Here you can not only hear the silence, but you can feel it, as if engulfed in a warm and fuzzy blanket in the middle of winter.”  It was Maria’s first time in Yosemite and she is excited to return again soon!


Final Expedition

This is us, working as a team getting ready for our last expedition. I am feeling excited because we are leaving tomorrow, but worried because we will be leading the trip ourselves!



Charcoal and Pastel Art

We want to thank Chris Raines for coming to teach us how to use pastel charcoals to create amazing drawings. It was fun because we were able to use our own imagination to add more detail to the pictures. Creating this art also let us experience a sense of enjoyment with the outcome.


ARC Students Help Pick Up Over 700 Pounds of Trash along the Merced River!

The Merced River is cleaner, thanks to the efforts of over twenty dedicated youth and college students last Saturday.  More than seven hundred pounds of trash were collected in the Merced River Recreation Area, just outside of Yosemite.  In addition to the standard tools of trash pick-up (bags, gloves, etc.), students used an inflatable raft to collect hard-to-reach waste and recyclables, including a large sofa. The participants also scrubbed spray-painted rock to return the river’s banks to their natural beauty.  ARC partnered with UC-Merced’s Yosemite Leadership Program and Ethos Mariposa for the river clean-up.  The event was organized by the Sierra Foothill Conservancy and the Upper Merced River Watershed Council.  Let’s continue to preserve the Merced River!


Final Expedition

We are going to embark in the beginning of our final expedition tomorrow! The chaos to prepare for the journey is REAL. But everyone is excited to leave basecamp back to our second home in the back country. Read More


Ten Lakes

This is ARC hiking up from one of the Ten Lakes and went up 24 switchbacks up the face of a mountain and found ourselves looking at this beautiful view with one of the ten lakes in the background. Read More


3rd Expedition and Tenaya Lake

“Come into the mountains, dear friend. Leave society and take no one with you but your true self. Get close to nature. Your everyday games will be insignificant. Notice the clouds spontaneously forming patterns and try to do that with your life”. Read More


Kayaking Through the Bay

Imagine Kayaking 5 miles to a small island in the middle of Emerald Bay. kayaking was a completely new experience for me because I hadn’t tried it before and because I needed to be synchronized with my partner. The scenery was amazing, Emerald Bay had deep blue colored water surrounded by tall green pine tress. Read More