Meet our Outdoor Explorer’s Adult Mentors!

Our Outdoor Explorers Program does more than just take youth outdoors. This past year, Earth Team has developed an Outdoor Explorer’s Adult Mentor Network that provides folks in the communities opportunities to support local youth, get outdoors, and find a community of like-minded folks. Outdoor Adult Mentors support the trips by assisting with camping logistics and group coordination, sharing personal life stories and experiences, and providing opportunities for our youth to create meaningful relationships with adult mentors.

Adults are often strapped with a busy workload and long to do list. As a result, it can be a challenge for folks to have regular access to outdoors. Our Outdoor Explorers Program provides opportunities for these individuals to fit the outdoors in their schedule while also being able to give back to the community and learn more about leading youth. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support our Outdoor Explorer’s Adult Mentor team provides. We love having you on our trips and look forward to another fun year of adventure and connections!

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.45.28 PM.png
Analucia, Outdoor Adult Mentor, relaxing in the kayak at Santa Cruz Harbor

This year I had the privilege of volunteering on the overnight kayaking trip with EarthTeam. I was not prepared for the reward this trip provided me with. As a mother, I have a deeper level of appreciation for this team of individuals working to educate our future. EarthTeam provides the students with the knowledge that we only have this one Earth and how important it is to care for it. On this trip, I witnessed students from different backgrounds working together and stepping out of their comfort zones to connect and socialize with other students they may not have thought to connect with before. I was amazed at how involved these students were throughout the entire trip, not only staying engaged in topics about caring for the sea life but also the importance of always leaving a space cleaner then you found it. It was a complete pleasure working alongside Jenna. I believe her position in these students lives is important not only by providing them with the opportunity to get familiar with the outdoors but also by how much knowledge they are gaining that they can apply to their futures.” – Analucia, Outdoor Adult Mentor

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.30.55 PM
Sadie, Outdoor Adult Mentor, on her way up the trail at Blind Beach, Sonoma Coast State Park

“Volunteering with Earth Team has benefited me in many many ways. Mainly it’s given me hope that future generations will be passionate about protecting our environment. In a lot of ways, it takes a certain amount of privilege to be able to address the issues around our changing climate. Not everyone can afford to buy local groceries or afford to avoid the convenience of single-use plastic or even have the leisure time to go out to the beach or the snow and build a strong relationship with nature. Earth Team provides an opportunity for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds an opportunity to build that relationship, and it gives me hope and reassurance that the youth in this region will actively fight for climate action.

Another huge thing I’ve gained from my experience with Earth Team has been the opportunity to build my relationship with nature. I’ve always loved camping, backpacking and kayaking being outside in any capacity are my favorite thing but because I’ve been so busy with work and school its been extremely difficult to arrange trips. Thanks to Earth Team I’ve gotten to spend time at the beach, in the snow, and at the river, all things that I love to do but rarely get to because of financial and time barriers. I’m so thankful for Earth Teams Outdoor Explorer’s Program, and I’m so excited for any future trips I will be able to support.” Sadie, Outdoor Adult Mentor

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.42.51 PM.png
Jenna (left), Outdoor Explorers Program Manager, and Brittany (right), Outdoor Adult Mentor at the top of the mountain ready to hit the slopes!

“My goal this year was to engage with my community through volunteering. I struggled to find an organization that resonated with me and one that had multiple opportunities to connect with the people from my community. I was immediately attracted to Earth Team because of their Mission, and their ability to stoke a passion for nature in Bay Area teenagers by giving them opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

At the end of the trips, students share their reflections. The reflections have a common theme of being challenged, learning, love, and excitement about the outdoors. These trips with Earth Team’s Outdoor Explorer Program ignites a true love for being in nature. I’m grateful to be able to support these teens through their transformative years and to be part of the catalyst that leads to a love for the outdoors. Volunteering in the Outdoor Explorers Program is accessible for me because the funding also allows me to participate in activities with the student interns.” – Brittany, Outdoor Adult Mentor

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.45.02 PM.png
Andrea, Outdoor Adult Mentor, striking a pose before jumping into the kayak!

“This past May I volunteered with the Earth Team on an outdoor camping trip. This trip was an amazing experience working with the youth, especially since it was an all girls trip. The activities that our group participated in included: team building, kayaking, cooking, setting and cleaning up camp, and visiting a local conservatory center.

These activities provided lots of learning opportunities for the students, especially since it was a lot of students’ first time camping and or cooking. It also helped the students work on their social skills considering that there were students from different high schools in the East Bay. It was cool to see how fast the girls got along with each other and how well they worked as a group as well. I believe listening to them share their backgrounds and previous projects they have worked on at their schools really engaged the community members we interacted with throughout this trip.

At the end of our trip, students and team leaders were asked to reflect on how their weekend was spent. Many students expressed gratitude and their vision for future environmental changes. I believe this trip helped give students and team leaders more insight on the importance of their environmental efforts and to spread awareness of it. Overall I believe this program is an extremely enriching program not only for the youth, but anyone in the community, and I would definitely support a future trip again.” – Andrea, Outdoor Adult Mentor 

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 1.26.10 PM.png
Kailyn, Outdoor Adult Mentor and Mindfulness Retreat Yoga Teacher, enjoying the ocean views.

“We were ready for a mindfulness retreat months ago when the California fires smoked out our ability to travel. When we finally set out this past weekend we had a small group – half “adults”, half students – due to other happenings. In this, reminders were given that as much as we learn in predetermined classrooms, planned retreats, and lead activities the moments our mindfulness is often practiced are the waves and randomness. That adults are still students of life, and that young students have a way of embracing the planet in ways that bring us back to life. I appreciate how the small group allowed us more freedom in our space and schedule to experience the uniqueness every person brought to the camp table and to get covered in sand attempting to fly. “ – Kailyn, Outdoor Adult Mentor

Thank you again to all of our Outdoor Adult Mentors. Our Outdoor Explorers Family is quickly expanding and we are excited to build a strong community of leaders that are eager to get outdoors and support youth’s exploration of nature and themselves.

RELATIONSHIPS | ADVENTURE | CONFIDENCE 

Advertisements

Reflecting and Rejuvenating Together Along the Coastline

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.31.13 PM.png

This past weekend, Earth Team Outdoor Explorers took to Bodega Bay Dunes Campground, Sonoma Coast State Park to relax and rejuvenate together after a crazy school year. The group was small but that made it all the better, it really gave an opportunity for everyone to connect and have the alone time they needed to practice mindfulness.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.29.55 PM

The group started out exploring the campground and came upon some fun finds. It was fun to goof around and get a little lost together. Shortly after exploring, tents were up and we were off to the beach!

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.30.11 PM

The beach was definitely the highlight of the trip. Everyone shared their personal favorite games and activities like Ship Island, Human Knot, and so much more. We played Charades, added to ocean forts, and shared a lot of laughter.

“I ❤ the beach! It is my favorite place in the world. It is very peaceful like we can forget the world for a second and breathe.” – Jessica, Outdoor Explorer

“Being at the beach made me feel really good. It made me feel very free and free-spirited. ” – Joey, Outdoor Explorer

Going to the beach made me feel calm and like I want to go back” – Jade, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.30.27 PM

It wasn’t all crazy excitement though, as the sun began to set, Outdoor Explorers Mentor Kailyn led the group in a beach yoga session, followed by some super fun acro yoga. The group practiced different breathing techniques and different dynamics movements to loosen up their body and recognize and address areas of tension. Acro yoga was super fun, everyone got the chance to practice with another and learn about how to rely on one another and balance together.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.31.25 PM

The following morning, after an LNT (Leave No Trace) camp sweep, more beach time followed but this time the vibe was chill and relaxed. Individuals separated for solo time and participated in a letter to future self-activity.

It was a wild weekend full of wonder and love for one another. Every moment was worthwhile and wonderful.

Hear from our students about what they had to say about the weekend! 

“I really enjoyed the trip because it gave me time to relax but also have a lot of fun. I learned a few things about being outdoors but also about life. It was the second shortest trip that I have attended with Earth Team but every moment was fun and worthwhile. I look forward to seeing everyone again in the future.” – Jeremy, Outdoor Explorer

“The camping trip was my favorite one I have ever done with Earth Team. The small group of people, whom I have never met, allowed me to spend as much time socializing with new folk as I did with myself. Being able to go to the beach was the best part. Watching the waves rise and fall was as peaceful as it can get! Reminds me to take a break from the “real world” and to focus on self-care and rejuvenation. I am so grateful for the experience! :)” Jessica, Outdoor Explorer

This trip was really dynamic bc it was high energy and chill at different times. It was also great that we got to explore the area and different activities.” – Jade, Outdoor Explorer

“I had so much fun even though not all 25 made it. I think that the trip was actually better without them. It was easier for all of us to bond and work more efficiently. This trip was a great experience, second time camping actually. Thanks to earth team. I’m glad I was able to work out my schedule and go on this trip because it seemed like a good way to wrap up the school year. With all this mindfulness.” – Joey, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a really fun time making new friends and camping. Visiting the beach was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It was so fun working as a team to pick up huge logs to contribute to building those hut things. I look forward to my next trips as I’ll continue to make new friends as well as connect and grow closer to nature” – David, Outdoor Explorer

Special thank you to Kailyn, Sadie, Emma, and Briana for joining our trip and being excellent mentors for our youth!

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 12.32.05 PM

RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE | ADVENTURE

Sharing a First Time Experience – ALL Students See the Snow

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 11.31.34 AM

Record-breaking snowfall in the Tahoe region was ideal for our mission to ensure all of our students get to experience the snow. In mid-May, our Outdoor Explorers took to the mountains for a snowshoeing extravaganza. All of the students on the trip were either experiencing the snow for the first time, or for the first time in years. The “newness” of this trip fostered a lot of excitement and enthusiasm that was shared amongst all group participants.

The trip began right after school on Friday. Students met up at BART, received all their snow gear, and were soon off to the campsite, Bear River Campsite in Auburn. The team arrived at camp past sunset, and experienced their first challenge of the weekend, setting up a tent in the dark. Each tent team worked together with only one headlamp. Before no time, the tents were up!

“One of the challenges was definitely setting up the tent in the dark, we accomplished this by communicating and I felt good knowing that we put up a tent by ourselves” – Liza, Outdoor Explorer 

“A challenge I faced was putting a tent up in the dark. I felt good knowing my leadership skills kicked in and we got it done fast” – David, Outdoor Explorer 

After learning about LNT practices, safety topics, and how to care for yourself overnight, the group settled down to bed. Saturday morning came quickly and before no time, the camp was packed up, bellies were full and the group was off to Tahoe to see the snow!

The snow day was full of fun and new adventures. Participants learned about the Native American History of the site, snowshoed up a mountain, participated in snowball fights, and built lots of snow art creations. The group also explored the forest ecosystem via team building exercises that challenged students to invite all their senses to help them explore.

 

It was a wonderful trip with lots of great memories to take away. Participants really enjoyed being outdoors and acting like a kid again in the snow, they also were big fans of the Outdoor Explorers Volunteers Mentors that joined us for the trip. Check out what some of our participants had to say about the weekend!

“It was a fun experience going into the snow for the first time, the challenges of building a tent in the dark and finding the tree blindfolded was a great team building exercise.” – David, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was amazing. Being able to enjoy the outdoors with the snow is something I don’t experience often. Being able to know and be prepared for it was cool.” – Diana, Outdoor Explorer

“This trip was really cool and fun for my first trip this year. Although it was tiring getting up the snow to make it to our destination, I sure had lots of fun bonding with each other and getting to know one another.” – Liza, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was great I met people from different schools, I end with 3 of the people Instagram I have met and it was really fun when we set the camp in the night and when we had the snowball fight” – Arlette, Outdoor Explorer

“I really enjoyed the snowshoeing trip, my favorite part would be the time we spend in the snow and playing games but camping was also surprisingly fun and I had to good time during the entire trip.” – Anshdeep, Outdoor Explorer

RELATIONSHIPS | ADVENTURE | CONFIDENCE

A Coastal Community-Themed Celebration of Environmental Stewardship

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 4.06.47 PM

As always, our program year seems to fly by in an instant. One of the best times of year is when our staff, board, and student interns take a nature break to share stories and celebrate the hard work everyone puts in. This year, Earth Team headed to Slide Ranch for a weekend of impactful story-telling, awesome views, educational activities, and all around good times.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 11.46.11 AM

The weekend kicked off in Berkeley where students from 7 different East Bay Area schools joined together, in addition to a couple of graduated Alumni from the program. This LEAF (Leadership and Environmental Action Forum) Retreat was particularly unique because almost every one of our students already knew at least a few members in the group from participating in previous outdoor trips. These connections made a strong foundation to strengthen and build new relationships. After playing some name games, and sharing excitement for the trip, the group was off to the coast of Muir Beach!

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 11.55.29 AM.png

Participants received a camp orientation, learned about some safety topics, and finally set up tents with the help of each other. It wasn’t long before the open pasture turned into our little temporary Earth Team community home.

The group headed to the Slide Ranch farm site for tons of education, interactive activities. There, the group participated in baby goat feeding, bread making, cheese making, pasture management, beekeeping, sensory garden exploration and more. In our after-school programs, students work on issues related to; restoration, wildlife conservation, urban forestry, air quality, watershed health, and waste reduction. Slide Ranch focuses mainly on sustainable agriculture and husbandry, a new topic for all of our participants to engage in together.

After farm activities, participants headed down to the beach where they discussed ocean safety and all the cool things to keep an eye out for when exploring. The group saw lots of exciting things, like sand dollars, sea urchins, and even a crab fight!!! One of the highlights of the entire weekend was when one of the participants shouted out “WHALE!”. This act was the beginning of an unplanned 20+ whale watching session, with TONS of whales breaching and passing along the coastline. It was indeed a once in a lifetime sight-seeing experience.

The group followed their incredible whale watching experience with the program sharing portion of the day. Each school group presented on their programs and the projects they have been working on all year. Also, each had the opportunity to share what Earth Team means to them, and how participating in this program has given them confidence and influenced their perspective on the world and their place in it. The board was ecstatic to see so many young people advocating and stewarding our environment.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 11.54.45 AM

To end the day, the group enjoyed a taco night dinner and smores around the bonfire. Everyone was in such a great mood, and the atmosphere was welcoming and full of love. The group participated in a few activities including affirmations, where individuals gave shout outs and appreciated one another for the energies and kindness people brought to the day. It was a heart-warming experience that truly made everyone feel at home.

The following day went by quick. The group learned more about animal husbandry and got the chance to milk a goat! Participants took down camp and participated in reflection activities to close out the day. Interns had incredible takeaways from the weekend, making it safe to say it was quite the success.

Tremendous thank you to our interns, Earth Team staff and board members, Slide Ranch staff, and all others who were a part of making this weekend so magical.

This trip would not have been possible without the generous contribution from California Coastal Conservancy. Thank you for supporting our efforts to connect youth to our oceans. After participating on this trip over 72% of interns reported feeling a greater sense of belonging to the coast.

RELATIONSHIPS | ADVENTURE | CONFIDENCE

A Snow Experience of A Lifetime

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.53.53 AMTo kick off spring, our Outdoor Explorers heading to Tahoe National Forest for a snow-packed weekend of adventure. The trip was in partnership with the Gateway Mountain Center which provided knowledgable, friendly guides to support activities throughout the weekend. We spent the weekend at Clair Tappaan Lodge, a beautiful history rich rustic retreat for snow-enthusiasts.

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.55.36 AM

The trip was originally scheduled for Spring Break but had to get rescheduled due to heavy snowfall. As a result, the timing was a bit tight but we made it work! The group arrived in Tahoe around 11:30 pm on Friday night and worked hard together to lug all of our luggage up the snowy hill in a few sleds.

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.55.47 AM

The first day was spent snowshoeing around the Cabin area. This was everyone’s first-time snow-shoeing which made the experience extra special. The group learned about dressing properly for the colder weather and soon took off in search of prime-time sledding spots! Once a spot was agreed upon, the fun really picked up. Participants enjoyed tons of free-time, most of them spent it making snow angels, sledding, having snowball fights, and/or building igloos.

After everyone got all their energy out, the group settled down to learn from Gateway Mountain Center staff about Forest Ecology and the important role our forests play in our changing climate. The group learned how to identify different tree species and played a game where they had to use senses other than their sight to locate specific trees throughout the forest. After learning about Forest Ecology, the group started to explore snow science! Participants conducted mini-experiments to get a better understanding of what is actually in the snow and how that varies based off of how deep the snow is in the ground. It was awesome to practice some STEM learning on an Outdoor Trip.

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 9.02.57 AM.png

Downtime at the cabin was filled with card games, mafia, ping-pong tournaments and a lot of great conversation. The group was from around all over the Bay and enjoyed getting to know one another.

0-9

The climax of the weekend was the last day, where the group headed to Donner Summit for a first time snowboarding/skiing experience. The youth got suited up with gear and equipment, participated in guided lessons, and spent the rest of the day flying (or falling) down the mountain!

Check out what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about their snow experience! 

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.56.14 AM

“This weekend was an amazing experience for me. I have gotten to do fun activities like snowshoeing and sledding and learn so much about the snow which I rarely get to experience. In particular, my favorite moment was when I got to ski down a hill for the first time and the feeling of excitement while doing it. I have found that I really enjoy snow sports and I would love to continue doing things in the snow like this. I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to experience this.” – Jada, Outdoor Explorer

unnamed-1.jpg

“This trip has been a very fun and a great learning experience. I have never skied before in my life or experience the snow like this. We have spent 2 days, learning about forest ecosystems and sledding. I love sledding, it was very fun. Skiing was very scary at first and I still am a bit scared but I am getting the hang of it. I had fun going down the small hill and learning how to turn, falling was fun because we would all laugh. I hope to get better and I hope to come again one day.” – America, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.58.21 AM

“Personally, this was my first time being in the snow, and to do this with my friends and Earth Team made this experience 100 times better. This weekend we learned valuable skills such as snowshoeing, skiing, sledding and how to dress appropriately for colder conditions. This weekend we also learned about forest ecology. The sense of teamwork really made us feel much closer and it was more than I expected. This trip was so much fun” – Marco, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.58.09 AM

“I have had a lot of fun so far and am looking forward to going again. This was a great chance for me to branch out and meet new people and also get good at something I have never done before. By the time I leave, I will be a pro. Of course, it was fun to get out of the house but this trip is beyond what I was expecting. Id like to express my gratitude for getting people like my friends and I out here to have a new experience and learn new things.” – Jodiah, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.57.59 AM

“For me, this was amazing to see snow for the first time all the way to get to experience snowboarding. The snowboarding part of this trip took it to the next level. This is way better than staying at home and playing video games. It was so fun, no matter how much or how hard I fall I always got up happy no matter how much it hurt. I have met so many kids from different schools talking to them, figuring out their different personalities, and spending the night with each other was so cool.” -Elijah, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 9.00.48 AM

“This opportunity allowed me to try new things and experience a new sense of excitement I have never felt before. I have made connections with other interns and was able to learn and enjoy our time in the snow.” – Kathleen, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.53.39 AM

“This was my first time skiing so arriving at Donner Ski Ranch was terrifying enough. I was nervous but the staff was really nice and helpful so getting geared up was the easy part. Getting out and actually learning to ski was extremely challenging but my instructor Trevor was incredible, he was so kind and patient with me, plus he had a great sense of humor. I will definitely try skiing again in the future with the hopes of getting better.” – Evelin, Outdoor Explorer

0-11

“This trip has allowed me to learn a new skill and has changed my life. I had so much fun snowboarding (and falling) today. It was truly a life-changing experience. This trip made it possible for me to fly down a mountain and have an amazing experience this weekend. It meant the world to me” – David, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.57.47 AM

“This was my first time snowboarding so I fell and flipped so much but overall I have been having a great time. I would say that everyone will have plenty of memories from this trip. Snowshoeing and snow science was also really cool. When we went snowshoeing we took sleds to ride down the mountain and we also threw a lot of snowballs. My favorite part of this trip would be when we ate smores since I have never had any before.” – Carlos, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.54.04 AM

“Without this trip, I would have never been able to experience something like this. Yesterday, we snow-shoed and hiked up a beautiful snowy mountain in the forest. The trees were so vibrant with the little pops of the bright green from the moss. To top it all off, we went sledding down huge mountains. We had awesome snowball fights and truly a great time playing in the snow, discovering new things, and learning about it – I know I did! I love being with this great group of people, doing something we are all so excited about. Today, I am snowboarding and man! Is it cool! It is so liberating (and scary) to just go freely down the mountain. Even with all the bumps and falls, slipping and sliding. This is one of the best things I have ever gotten the chance to do. I was looking forward to this all week and my expectations of fun adventures did not fail! This is one of the best experiences of my life!”- Asha, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.59.58 AM

“I got to know people from other schools and better connect with friends I already had. On top of that, I learned how to better connect with and control my body (which is a necessity for snowboarding). I had to commit to a move or plan to get down the hill which I learned while getting a couple of bumps and bruises but no pain, no gain! This trip allowed the 13 of us to bond, play, learn and relax.”– Nick, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.56.02 AM

“I was able to participate in our outdoor trip to Tahoe where we were able to learn new things like skiing and snowshoeing. I have been able to find a new passion. The feeling of zipping down the mountain on a snowboard is second to none and I think it is important to know that this trip played a part in letting me experience it. The outdoor activities we participated in also gave me a greater fondness for and understanding of nature. I hope we get to go on even more adventures.” – Rocky, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.56.34 AM

“Earth Team is all about getting outside and learning skills that we will use and enjoy for years to come. I myself really loved this trip. I loved seeing the snow and playing with it. I haven’t since I was 4 yrs old other than in movies and pictures. It was fun putting on snowshoes and hiking into the snow. During our breaks while hiking we sled, built an igloo, an had snowball fights. We built a ramp at one of the spots. I went over the ramp on the sled and went in the air which was amazing! Today, I went skiing which was hard but still a lot of fun even though I fell lots of times I enjoyed it” – Abigail, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to Gateway Mountain Center, Clair Tappaan Lodge, Donner Summit and Earth Team’s Outdoor Explorers Adult Mentors for an incredible snowy weekend! 

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE

 

 

Building Confidence and Motivation Through a Kayaking Coastal Adventure

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 11.17.09 AM

To kick off spring, our Outdoor Explorers heading to Sausalito Bay for a beautiful day kayaking on the water. Participants were joined by Environmental Traveling Companion (ETC) guides and Earth Team Outdoor Adult Mentors.

Participants will all first-time kayakers, and a few of them were a bit nervous. After getting quality training and safety instruction from ETC Guides they were feeling a bit more prepared and ready to face their fears.

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 11.17.02 AM

Everyone was on a two-person kayak, and each couple was made up of students that attend different high schools. Having to work together to paddle was a great way for our interns to get to know one another!

As the group paddled along, guides and mentors informed the students about the surrounding area. The group learned about some of the native fauna and flora, the native history of the site and how native cultures are still active today, and the history of kayaking.

During lunch, the group stopped at a small beach for a beach clean up and team building exercises. By this time, the group was a lot more comfortable with each other and the whole kayaking experience.

Post-survey results showed that after participating on this trip…

80% of youth felt more confident in themselves

80% of youth felt a greater sense of belonging to the coastline

100% of youth felt more motivated to try new things

Thank you to ETC and our Outdoor Explorers Adult Mentors for making the trip such a wonderful experience!

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE 

A Weekend Of Women’s Empowerment – Exploring California’s Coastline

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.18.48 AM

For the first time, our Outdoor Explorers Program lead an all female-identifying overnight kayaking trip to Santa Cruz. The weekend was filled with memorable coastal experiences along the shoreline. Participants learned how to set up camp, visited a marine sanctuary, went on a nighttime beach walk, heard from park rangers, and lastly kayaked through Santa Cruz Harbor.

More than ever participants felt empowered and inspired by the group itself. With an all-female leadership team, the young ladies had mentors to look up to. Students reflected feeling empowered by seeing such strong women in leadership positions.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.33.06 AM

Many of the participants were nervous about being around all girls, but after some time passed, they reflected that this cohort made them feel accepted, loved, valued more than they ever have felt before.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.33.34 AM

The vibes were great throughout the trip, and the adventure and thrill of kayaking just made everything better. All of our participants were first-time sea-kayakers, and many of them were very nervous to be in an open body of water. With support from each other, every student pushed through the uncertainty and had a blast out on the water.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.17.41 AM

This weekend was a great way for these young women to connect with the coastline, each other, adult mentors, and themselves.

Check out what they had to say about the trip! 

“I really enjoyed this trip. I experienced a bunch of firsts during this trip like the first time camping and the first time kayaking and the first time in Santa Cruz. I had so much fun and this was such an amazing group to go with. I hope I’ll get to go back sometime in the future” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.31.27 AM
Cece (left) and Leilana (right) enjoying beach time together.

“I enjoyed how the trip turned out. It was a very empowering experience for all of us especially since we had a group of strong females and strong female leaders. I loved the fact that we helped each other out and had fun. I really enjoyed everything that happened this trip and I would love to do it again. I’m very thankful. There is nothing I would change and my favorite part was spending time with everyone.” – Leilana, Outdoor Explorer

“Overall, I feel like this trip was an opportunity for personal growth. Being able to challenge myself and knowing I had the support of the group to do it is really what ultimately pushed me to take risks that I wouldn’t have otherwise. At first, I didn’t think having an all-girls group would mean or change much, but when we got to the kayaking place and I saw the male instructors I could feel a shift in my emotions that let me know how great the effects of being surrounded by powerful women all weekend had been. All of the volunteers/chaperones were very inviting and felt more like older wiser siblings than just supervisors. I really enjoyed this trip and will cherish the memories and friendships I formed forever.” – Gracy, Outdoor Explorer

I absolutely loved this trip! It really got me thinking about how we should really limit our trash for the ocean. I made new friends too that I absolutely love! Kayaking was just a plus it was really nice to experience kayaking in the ocean. And it was great seeing all us women do all of the “manly” things ourselves #wedontneednomen!” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer

“I think this is a really amazing trip. I learned a lot of things that I never knew before. And also in this trip help me get over my fear of water after I felt down the water. So this is a memorable trip.” – My, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.33.46 AM
June (left) and My (right) posing for their beach pic!

“I enjoyed the trip a lot. I’ve learned a lot: self-care, setting up tent, team-working, communicating, and kayaking. I felt more mature after the trip. Kayaking becomes my favorite thing. The adults in the team have empowered and inspired me to become a more independent and strong woman. Thank you so much for planning and carrying out this event. It’s been a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next trip.” – June, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a lot of fun on this trip meeting and bonding with everyone. I was nerves at first to come but I’m glad I did because it has been memorable. Even though I seemed to have bad luck on this trip It was a really great experience overall.” – Isabella, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.34.23 AM
Allison enjoying the ocean waves! 

“I had an amazing time with everyone the volunteers were the best. This trip helps me realize that females are very powerful and could do amazing things and make everyone feel included and not be embarrassed. The vibe and trust and bonding reminded me why I go on these trips.” – Allison, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.33.54 AM
Guadalupe taking a stroll on the beach. 

“The kayaking trip was amazing it was a wonderful experience. I would do it again. I had an amazing day with people I knew and with the new faces I met and talked to. I also liked how we were all girls and we were helping each other out and taking care of one another. This trip was fun, and peaceful since it gave me space to think and talk to people about college and other personal stuff. Love the communication and how we trust one another! Hope to go again and learn more about kayaking!” – Guadalupe, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was an experience like no other. The ambiance was amazing being able to relax and hang out with other females. I am very appreciative towards you and our other mentors and fellow interns. It’s going to be something I’ll never forget” – Diana, Outdoor Explorer

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.17.48 AM
Leilana (left), Ahriyana (middle) and Guadalupe (right) practicing paddling and communicating with one another! 

“I really enjoyed the trip. Kayaking was easier and not as scary as I expected. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. I also hope to do it again.” – Ahriyana, Outdoor Explorer

“It was great and had a lot of fun meeting new people and hanging out there” – Arlette, Outdoor Explorer


Special thank you to Kayak Connections for providing our team with excellent instructors and all the kayaking gear we needed to get our youth out on the water! 

Shout out to our volunteers, Sadie, Andrea and Analucia for being so fabulous! You were great additions to the team and we can’t wait to have you back! 

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.19.19 AM
Volunteers Sadie (left) and Andrea (right) paddling through Santa Cruz Harbor 
Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.20.00 AM
Volunteer Analucia enjoying the Santa Cruz sunshine! 

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE 

Challenge at China Camp State Park – A Mountain Biking Adventure!

IMG_6852.jpg

On Cesar Chavez Day, a group of our outdoor explorers joined together to spend their day off school charging up mountains and souring down hills at China Camp State Park. The team was accompanied by Trips for Kids Marin, who provided incredible staff and high-quality bikes to support the ride.

The team was faced with a lot of physical challenge, matched with a lot of adrenaline and thrill. Students pushed themselves, took breaks when they know they needed it, and overall learned a lot about what they are capable of.

A total of seven high schools were represented, with participants coming from all over the East Bay Area. Students had a blast getting to know one another and reconnect with some people they have met on previous trips. Overall, the trip was amazing and we are excited to go on another one soon!

Hear from what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about the day! 

IMG_6835

“I enjoyed this mountain biking trip very much. I had such an amazing experience of mountain biking for the first time and meeting new interns from other schools. It’s great to meet people who do the same things as me and have fun with them. Being out in nature also gave me a sense of liberty, and I got to have a thrilling ride at the same time. These trips bring excitement to me, and I left this one wanting to go back.” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6831

“I learned that mountain biking is harder than it seems, but it’s very fun. I got really dirty, but I didn’t mind it felt cool like it shows we put in work. Id do this again it was fun” – William, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6824

“Today, I went mountain biking and met a couple of new people. It was nice getting to know everyone while we were biking in the mountains. I’ve learned lots of new things while having fun with the most amazing people. I’ve learned new biking techniques specifically for riding mountains, and I’ve learned that no matter how challenging things may get, I will always get through it. Mountain biking was definitely a challenge and something I’ve never done before, but in the end, I’ve conquered it.” – Kyla, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6840

“Today I had a great time mountain biking. It was my first time doing something like that, and I had so much fun. There where times where I had a hard time riding the bike up hills but I told myself that I could do anything, so I kept going until I was comfortable riding the bike again. I met so many amazing people, and I even became friends with some of them. Everyone was always supportive, and that kept me from not giving up easily when I felt like I couldn’t ride the bicycle anymore. Mountain biking was a great experience, and I would definitely do it again someday so I would like to thank everyone for everything.” – Norma, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6841

“Today was super fun I was able to meet new people and enjoy something that seemed terrifying at the moment. I met amazing and motivating people.” -Diana, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6832

“ I always figured those people zipping by on trails spraying mud on me had to be having a lot of fun. I was right.” – Rocky, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6834

“I really liked going on the trip because I had lots of fun and met cool people and I’d love to go on another Mountain Biking trip.” – Bradley, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6833

“I really enjoyed being able to make new friends and learning how to bike better. This really helped me get my mind off things, and I really enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me be able to experience this.” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6830

“I really liked this trip because I was able to see China Camp for the first time & absolutely loved it, will be coming back with Richmond Composite. Thank you for allowing me to come!” – Daphne, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6825

The trip was super duper fun, the people there were amazing. 10/10 would do this again.” – Jeremy, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to Trips for Kids Marin and China Camp State Park! We had a wonderful day and are so excited for future trips!

IMG_6827

ADVENTURE | RELATIONSHIPS | CONFIDENCE

How Did Being By The Coast Make You Feel?

IMG_6445

This past weekend, our Outdoor Explorers took to Point Reyes National Seashore for a communal coastal experience. The group enjoyed lunch, solo time, and team building activities on the beach. Pre/post survey results showed 93% of students felt an increase in their relationship with the coast and/or a strong sense of belonging to the coastline after participating on this trip.

IMG_6439

Hear from our Outdoor Explorers on how the beach makes them feel! 

“I liked being at the beach and finding rocks. It was pretty fun being on the coast” – David, Outdoor Explorer

“Relaxed and at ease” – William, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6428

“It made me feel at one with nature” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

“I felt closer to nature and good positive energy” – Julius, Outdoor Explorer

“It made me feel happy & it gave me a sense of belonging” Marianna, Outdoor Explorer

“I felt very calm and relaxed” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

“It was soothing, just staring at the ocean and hearing it” – Ashly, Outdoor Explorer

“I was very relaxed while I was sitting at the beach. I did not feel stressed and all my worries flowed away like the ocean waves. The beach waves were beautiful and peaceful” – Hillary, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6434

“Good, it was really relaxing” – Munachi, Outdoor Explorer

“I haven’t been to the beach in a bit so I really enjoyed it” – Katheline, Outdoor Explorer

“I liked seeing the ocean, it made me feel happy” – Jaiden, Outdoor Explorer

IMG_6431

“It made me feel inspired” – Carson, Outdoor Explorer

“It made me feel relaxed, I wouldn’t mind doing it again.” – Ayden, Outdoor Explorer

“It was really calming” – Andrew, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to the California State Coastal Conservancy for helping us provide coastal experiences for our youth. We and the students appreciate you immensely! 

IMG_6452

RELATIONSHIPS | ADVENTURE | CONFIDENCE