Preparing our Staff With the Help from Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT)

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Earth Team’s Outdoor Explorers Program prioritizes safety and preparation at all times. We prioritize safety in a multitude of ways. For example; like ensuring there is Wilderness First Responder present at all outdoor trips, overviewing students medical needs well in advance, and creating safety logs for every trip so crucial information is at our fingertips in the case of an emergency.

But it’s not all about safety! Preparation can be just as important and is a big part of avoiding emergencies in the first place.

With the help of Bay Area Wilderness Training, Earth Team staff has been given incredible opportunities to get experience and expert advice on how to best lead youth in the outdoors. From day hikes to 5-day backpacking courses, our team has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience that has been crucial for where we are at today.

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This past weekend, Jenna, Earth Team’s Explorers Program Manager had the opportunity to participate in her final training with BAWT, the Snowshoeing course. Participants learned about navigation, potential hazards, helpful meal plan ideas, and so much more. Now that the training is complete, Earth Team has access to the high-quality snow gear and snowshoes that BAWT so generously supplies. With this new resource, Earth Team plans to make sure ALL of our students get an opportunity to experience the snow!

Bay Area Wilderness Training supports teachers and youth workers with training, gear, funding, and community – helping youth get outdoors! If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved, please visit their website.

Please support our efforts to give our students transformative outdoor experiences by donating to Earth Team today! DONATE HERE

Outdoor Explorers Program

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Earth Team’s Participation in Youth Outside’s 2018 Cultural Relevancy Series

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Earth Team is proud to announce the completion of our participation in Youth Outside’s Cultural Relevancy Series. The Cultural Relevancy series was a collection of full-day trainings throughout eight months. Training topics included; changing organizational culture, examining unconscious bias, developing relevant curriculum, non-violent communication, recruiting with intention and much more!

In addition to trainings, all participating organizations completed a project that would increase equity and inclusion in their workplace and programs. With the help of Youth Outside facilitators, Earth Team advanced our institutional knowledge by actualizing a welcome package for all new employees. This welcome package includes Earth Team’s mission and commitment to equity in the workplace, a long-term goal setting activity, training lessons (derived from feedback from prior staff), a mutual communication and feedback discussion template, and a glossary of organizational terms.

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Through the series of trainings, Earth Team increased our capacity to have conversations about equity and inclusion in the workplace and at home. We now have the tools to reassess our past curriculum and other program documents and ultimately have been given the confidence and motivation to continue to adapt and improve to serve our youth and staff better.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to have participated in such an amazing course with so many incredible youth-serving organizations! We are looking forward to building and expanding our Outdoor Explorers Program with the foundational concepts of ownership, agency, and relevancy on the forefront of our minds!

Special thank you to Youth Outside for hosting this training and providing such knowledgeable and encouraging facilitators.

The 2018 Cultural Relevancy Series was made possible by the generous support of The David and Lucille Foundation, The Morgan Family Foundation, and The Sand Hill Foundation. 

Outdoor Explorers Program

 

 

A Backpacking Expedition to Mt. Diablo State Park

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This past weekend, ten Earth Team outdoor explorers joined Outward Bound for a backpacking adventure to Mt. Diablo State Park. The team was pretty fresh to this new activity, with only one participate having some prior backpacking experience and a few participants participating for the first time on a camping trip.

The trip started right after school on Friday. Participants backed up the gear using the last bit of sunlight left and enjoyed a delicious meal under the moonlight.

On Saturday, the group woke up early to get on the trail. The group split up and took on leadership tasks they were interested in like; meal prep and cooking, gear management, and navigation. Students led the way up the mountain, which was a little steep! Although challenging, students persevered and showed an immense amount of support for one another.

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While at camp, students participated in team building activities in addition to solo time to reflect and write letters to their future self. After reconvening, the group revealed that this time was precious and meaningful for them, and helped them prepare to adjust back into their daily lives.

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On Sunday, the group set off for a sunrise summit attempt to the top of Mt. Diablo. Unfortunately, a student twisted an ankle on the way up, and the group had to turn back a little early. The group was incredibly supportive and proud of the individual for speaking up for their needs. A fellow student, Emma, interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, was able to wrap up the ankle (with the support from a wilderness first responder) and get a feel for what a medical job might look like when you are in the wilderness! Here is what the Emma had to say after learning about career opportunities in the medical/outdoor field.

“I don’t think I thanked you quite enough .. for bringing the wilderness first responder career to my attention. That meant a lot to me and I’m going to be doing a lot of research into it. It’s a huge possibility that that might become my career. So, I just wanted say thank you. That was a really big deal for me” – Pinole Valley High Intern

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Students were given certificates of completion to celebrate their accomplishment of completing the “Mt. Diablo Backpacking Expedition”. The group shared out appreciations for one another and soon took off back to the city!

Special thank you to Outward Bound California and our wonderful trip leaders Rachel and Carolyn!

Here is what our outdoor explorers had to say about their adventure.

“This weekend at Mt. Diablo not only gave me time to reflect on my relationship with myself but also my relationship with others. I got to have fun and build friendships with people I had never met before while simultaneously gaining more knowledge about the environment we were in and how to properly care for it. Overall, I could tell a big difference in my confidence and how I carried myself when I got back to school that week.” Gracy, San Lorenzo High Intern

“I had an amazing day backpacking. I met many people and made friendships. I also know what I need if I go backpacking again. I learn a lot of things to survive in the wild and I met amazing mentors who helped me and answered all the questions I had. I hope to go again and have lots of fun. I also had time to reflect on myself and let myself be happy as well as letting go of all my problems. I realized that I had to stop worrying about other people and focus on myself because who else is going to be there for me. I have to let myself be happy and let go of all the things I have held inside. Going backpacking has helped me and has challenged me in doing more hiking.” Guadalupe, Richmond High Intern

“This weekend was very fun; I learned a lot of things about how to backpack and what you need. The activities were really fun, and I just about made friends with all everyone. This trip gave me the time to get out and really learn my limits, and to also know my self-worth, I’m a strong young woman that can accomplish kind of a big thing.” Delaney, Antioch High Intern

“It was an amazing experience, and I had so much fun. I really needed that trip because I need a break from my life and the reflection made me open my mind. Also, I finally learned to speak up for my needs normally I place others before me, and I learned that sometimes I need to put my needs before anyone else’s” Allison, Richmond High Intern

“What I can say is that I don’t have to give up so soon knowing that I can keep moving forward and I got to know that this weekend. I’m grateful that I can be strong if I put my mind to it” Arlette, Skyline High Intern

“I had a wonderful time this weekend. I got a chance to go backpacking for the first time, and I met a ton of wonderful people. It was a super positive experience that was a super refresher from the everyday humdrum. I really appreciated it.” Emma, Pinole Valley High Intern

“It was lots of fun and a great experience. I was definitely .. brought to light that I would love to go backpacking on my own” – Michael, Antioch High Intern

“The trip for me was about pushing myself, and I did and found I can do more than I thought. A challenge I thought I’d have was getting along with everyone but I found that it was pretty easy once I stopped worrying. Though I did have to leave early, I really enjoyed the trip and appreciated everyone that was there. I’d go again.” Nick, Skyline High Intern

“The backpacking trip to Mount. Diablo was relaxing but challenging to go up the mountain with the huge backpack. I got to see the sunset and sleep under the stars. Though I did not sleep much those past day, it was an amazing time bonding with the .. group who I was able to know more about. This trip gave me a way to reflect on life and was able to get my head on straight.” – Mariana, Richmond High Intern

Outdoor Explorers Program 

A Sight-Sea-Ing Kayak Adventure

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On Sunday, Oct 21st a group of twelve outdoor explorers participated in a sea kayaking adventure in the beautiful Tomales Bay! Environmental Traveling Companions guides led the day, most commonly known by ETC.

ETC believes that everyone, regardless of physical or financial limitations, should have the opportunity to experience the challenge and beauty of the wilderness.

Through this ETC adventure, participants were encouraged to overcome perceived limitations, attain greater personal freedom and confidence, and better understand themselves in relation to others and the environment.

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The group first started by learning all about the space they were in, with the help of a map of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Students learned about the indigenous populations that live(d) in the area and how they relied on the native plants and species for survival, how the tectonic plates maneuvered around the earth to create the physical landscape, and how the salty, freshwater combo makes for a unique ecosystem.

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Before heading out the water, participants were given an in-depth overview of the safety equipment and were soon ready to float on!

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The group paddled about 6 miles along Tomales Bay, and saw lots of beautiful animals including not one, not two, but three seals! Students were very intrigued by all the fantastic wildlife, some of the highlights were seeing a pelican, a dead jellyfish, and a weird little bug in the water.

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Throughout the day, students participated in a variety of team building activities. Including an activity where their senses were limited, and they had to work together to complete a task. It was a great day to be outdoors working together.

The group circled together to share their highlight from the day, in addition to one outdoor thing they were looking forward to or wanted to try. ETC Guides announced opportunities for students to continue kayaking through different programs they offer to high school youth. 

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Overall, the trip was a huge success. The weather was perfect, and attitudes were extremely positive. Check out what some of our students had to say about the day!

“The trip was very fun and eye-opening. I enjoyed learning about the animals in Tomales Bay. I also thought it was interesting that it had salt and fresh water. It was pretty tiring, but overall I had a good experience.” – Jaylin Kent, Pinole Valley High Earth Team Intern

“When I first stepped my body on the kayak and seen I was so low to the water I got a little scared. But on the way back I had more fun and enjoyed it more. It was very fun, and I would do it again.” – Fernando Almanza, Richmond High Earth Team Intern

“I really enjoyed this trip because I love water, I love how it feels, looks, etc. I feel like kayaking really got me closer to it.” – Itzel Sanchez, John F. Kennedy High Earth Team Intern

“it was fun but tiring, probably because it was my first time kayaking. all the guides were really nice, and I enjoyed getting to know people from other schools” – Nathalia Rocha, Skyline High Earth Team Intern

“I had a lot of fun, and it was good to see friends from other schools again.” – Amy White, Skyline High Earth Team Intern

“The trip was fun and engaging; I got closer with my fellow interns and the trip leader Jenna as well. I learned a lot about nature and the habitat around the area. I can’t wait to go on another trip” – Michael Chatham, Antioch High Earth Team Intern

“My experience at Tomales Bay has been a blast. Getting to know my fellow interns was wonderful, and the kayaking was an amazing ride.” – Kyle Milton, John F. Kennedy Earth Team Intern

Outdoor Explorers Program

Challenge Accepted: Interns Climb at Castle Rock State Park

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This past weekend a team of ten interns headed to Castle Rock State Park to rock climb for the very first time. Outward Bound led the day, coaching participants on the different rock climbing gear, how to properly belay, and a lot more.

Each of our students climbed the rock multiple times, and everyone was able to reach higher than there the first attempt. It was an incredibly supportive, encouraging environment, and the group flourished with the new challenge.

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After rock climbing for a full day, the group headed to Portola Redwoods State Park where they learned or practiced how to set up a tent, supported with meal prep and cooking, and enjoyed free time and bonfire games.

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The trip came to an end on Sunday afternoon at TipToe Waterfall. Students participated in reflection activities and were able to share out their best moments of the trip and their appreciation for one another.

It was unanimous that this trip was surely unforgettable. The group went through a lot of challenges together and grew closer from it all. Check out what some of our rock climbers had to say about their weekend experience!

“I’m really glad that I was able to go on such a fun adventure with amazing people. I had so many mixed emotions there, but I don’t regret anything. Meeting the people, trying new things, and being more independent and dependent on others made me realize a lot of things. This trip is something I’ll never forget.” – Joey Ow, Pinole High Earth Team Intern

“The weekend trip made my love for nature to grow and I really appreciate what nature gave us. The trip also made me break out of my comfort zone by having me make new friends and do things that I have never done, such as camping and rock climbing. I really appreciate everyone who made me feel comfortable and happy.” – Sabrina Lozano, Antioch High Earth Team

“It was an out of comfort experience to take a risk and complete challenges you didn’t think you could face.” – David Tran, Pinole High Earth Team Intern

“The rock climbing trip was rad! It gave our team the opportunity to shine outside of our comfort zone. The view at the top was nothing like I have seen. I felt so accomplished when I reached it. Being able to do trips like these with Earth Team helps us explore what is out there for us. The trip was great, but doing it with so many positive and uplifting people made it unforgettable.” – Jeremy Francisco, Pinole High Earth Team Intern

“I had so much fun I am going to be real I was actually debating because I normally never get out of my comfort zone, so it was a big deal but other than that the group and everyone I met were kind and supportive and made me feel like I belong in Earth team” -Allison Lopez, Richmond High Earth Team Intern

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Outdoor Explorers Program

Announcing the Upcoming Outdoor Explorers Program Trip: Kayaking at Tomales Bay!

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Earth Team is excited to announce its upcoming Outdoor Explorers Trip, Kayaking in the beautiful Tomales Bay! Next weekend, fourteen youth will experience their first time being out on the sea in a kayak.

Earth Team will be partnering with Environmental Traveling Companions for a full day ocean seeing experience. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the area, its wildlife, and a whole lot more.

This trip will offer opportunities for students to work as a team, and push through potential uncertainty that comes with an entirely new environment. It will also be an excellent opportunity for participants to practice being aware of their surroundings and learn about the powerful ocean and how to be safe when enjoying what it has to offer.

We can’t wait to get going!

Outdoor Explorers Program

Announcing the Upcoming Outdoor Explorer Trip: Rock Climbing at Castle Rock State Park!

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Earth Team is excited to announce its upcoming Outdoor Explorers Trip, Rock Climbing and Camping! This weekend, twelve youth will go rock climbing outdoors for the first time! Also, many of these students will experience their first time camping.

Earth Team will be partnering with Outward Bound for a full day rock climbing experience at the well-known spot called Goat Rock, located in Castle Rock State Park.

This trip will offer numerous opportunities for students to challenge themselves, including overcoming a fear of heights, trusting climbing equipment, relying on one another for support, and more. It will also be an excellent opportunity for participants to practice being aware of their surroundings and understand the importance of safe practices in an outdoor setting.

Participants will be camping at Portola Redwoods State Park. There they will get to learn or practice how to set up a tent, participate in meal prep, and gather around the bonfire for story sharing and group activities.

We cannot wait to start exploring!

Outdoor Explorers Program

Mountain Biking at Rush Creek Trail for the Fall Equinox!

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On Saturday, September 22nd, eleven Earth Team interns hopped in the van to be a part of the first outdoor explorers trip of the year, Mountain Biking at Rush Creek Trail!

Participants were led by Trips for Kids Marin, whose mission is to provide transformative cycling experiences that promote healthy, recreational lifestyles, environmental awareness, and personal empowerment for young people.

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The youth were loaded up with proper gear and safety equipment. Participants learned how to fit a helmet properly, why gloves are essential, and more. Before heading to the trail, the team grouped to discuss prior biking experience and share with the team what they were most looking to get out of the day. Many students reflected that they were excited to be outside, especially outside of their city!

A vast majority of the student group was mountain biking for the very first time, with a couple of repeaters having some familiarity with it after participating in last year’s mountain biking trip. These repeaters did a great job encouraging the rest of the group and promoting a positive atmosphere throughout the day.

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Trips for Kids led an in-depth bike introduction and safety talk overviewing the different parts of the student’s bikes and how to utilize the different bike mechanisms. There were multiple volunteer guides, so each participant had the opportunity to be supported one on one throughout the day. After a few practice rounds of getting used to the bells and whistles, the group was off.

Participants biked many miles throughout the day. They were very quick to learn and did a great job at following directions, so Trips for Kids staff let them take on the challenge of a single track route! The group was zooming around corners and charging up mountains, and individuals reflected that although they had a fear of falling, the thrill of going fast made it all worth it.

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About halfway through the day, the group stopped in a shaded spot with a beautiful view for a trail lunch. Shortly after, the group participated in an activity to celebrate the Fall Equinox and themselves. The group discussed what the fall equinox is and how different people and cultures all over the world celebrate it. Some of the most common underlying similarities are the celebration of harvest and internal balance. After learning more about the special day, each student explored deeper into the forest to find a spot that called to them. Each intern was asked to take a 360-degree view of their surroundings and use all their senses to take in their spot. Individuals were encouraged first to find their balance and peace, then close their eyes and think of three things they are grateful for. The idea was that they were harvesting their gratitude within themselves by bringing it to the surface.

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After spending some alone time in nature, the group reconvened in a big loving circle where they each shared one of the things they were grateful for. After each person spoke, the group cheered with their drinks of water to make sure everyone was staying hydrated and to celebrate what each had to share.

After the activity, the group tucked their gratefulness deep into their pockets to carry with them for the rest of the ride. Participants took off at their own pace, riding the rest of the trail until arriving at the trailhead where they were cheered on by fellow teammates.

The group reflected on the experience and shared a token of appreciation. Many students expressed gratitude for getting to be outdoors, trying something new, having a supportive group, and a lot more.

Special thank you to Trips for Kids Marin for making this day possible!

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Introducing Earth Team’s 2018-2019 Outdoor Explorers Program!

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Earth Team has officially kicked off its 2018-2019 Outdoor Explorers Program! The Outdoor Explorers Program will offer to 100+ of our youth the opportunity to go deep into nature and get immersive experiences rock climbing, white-water rafting, mountain biking, sea kayaking, cave exploring and more.

This program takes a comprehensive approach to improve students’ sense of personal identity, self-agency, and confidence by building on the inherent potential and strengths of our interns.

The goal is to encourage interns to build long-term health, resilience, and leadership through immersion into in-depth experiences in nature. Our outdoor activities range from single day trips to overnighters to extended multi-day trips. These outdoor activities will bring together students from different schools and will be a fantastic opportunity for students to try new things, build new skills and create meaningful relationships with their fellow interns, their Earth Team coaches, and with the world they work so hard to protect.

When participating in this program, participants will be encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone. This could mean jumping into a flowing river or having personal conversations with others. We hope individuals can overcome challenges both small and large, and gain confidence and insight throughout those experiences. 

We are truly grateful to have the support from through NorthFace’s Explore Fund and Coastal Conservancy’s Grant Program. Through these monthly trips, we expect to lower access-to-nature barriers for underserved youth, increase interest in stewardship of the land, and expand the narrative of outdoor exploration.

Outdoor Explorers Program