Launch in to Adventure Risk Challenge |

Launch in to Adventure Risk Challenge

Follow Paulina Mosqueda-Gonzalez and hundreds of ARC participants on weekend or summer-long learning adventures in Yosemite and Sagehen.
Courtesy photo |

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What: Adventure Risk Challenge

Where: THS, NTHS, Yosemite, Sagehen

Why: Leadership development and academic success

When: All year

How: Get involved, email

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — As Paulina launched herself into the first morning of her 40 days of Adventure Risk Challenge, she exclaimed excitedly, “Let the adventures begin!” She had chosen to participate in ARC’s 2013 summer immersion course to improve the many areas she struggled with: writing, fear of heights, opening up to people, and having confidence in herself.

“One of the biggest challenges I wanted to achieve was to try new things in a whole new environment without all the comforts that I usually have when I’m home,” Paulina said. ARC provides a unique opportunity for participants to take a leap, to challenge themselves personally, socially, and academically in a completely unfamiliar outdoor environment.

Like others on her team, Paulina benefited greatly from the strength of a supportive group.

Out on the open water in a kayak or 30 feet off the ground in the ropes course, she felt at once scared to death and encouraged, loved, and supported. No matter if she cried or failed, she said, “My teammates never left me behind; they never left me alone to challenge my fears. They were always there no matter the situation. They were like my family.”

The 24-hour solo was one of the hardest parts of the summer for Paulina, because she realized how much she missed being surrounded by that support. For Paulina that was the feeling of true friendship.

ARC also provided the encouragement Paulina needed to take the first step toward college. Hopeful about her unfolding future, Paulina is planning to attend Universidad de Leon in Leon, Mexico next year. “ARC was the step I needed to take, and opened many doors to me,” she said.

In her personal metaphorical poem, Paulina described herself as a waterfall, whose “rushing water that splashes with fear and strength, one day will change with a peaceful rush of water.”

Find Paulina’s poem “Stay Strong, Give it a Chance, and Try Hard” online at, search Paulina.

In addition to weekly programming within the high schools, ARC offers outdoor adventures at least once each month. Upcoming opportunities for local high school youth include a weekend retreat with skiing/snowboarding March 14-16, and a weekend retreat to Yosemite April 11-13.

Contact Sean McAlindin to sign up at or 510-460-8542.

Visit for more information about the program.


By Paulina Mosqueda-Gonzalez

I am a waterfall

Furious water rushing through me

Rocky and immense, filled with life

Surrounded by flowers which bloom by day and night

I may not seem intimidated

But if you ever try crossing me

You will leave me with a trace

Making my water slowly diminish

Now let me tell you my story

Maybe you will see

People always cross and step on me

But many don’t know,

How much pain they leave

As a child there’s not much you can do

Like a trickle of water just starting to mature

I still learn from what’s right and what’s wrong

And always having to depend on mom and dad

I’ve always been told to help others

To not let anyone bring me down

To just hope for the best

Because everything will come

At its right time

“Your friends will always be there,” they told me

I lived for years trusting them

Thinking they were just like family


The pain I felt

That adrenaline rushing through my veins

Trying to act strong but seeing them

Just made me run away

Drugs they tried to make me taste

Trying to contaminate my water

I refused to say yes

Not being considered the cool one

For not tasting or taking a smoke

One by one

I let them go

As I saw my friends walk away

One by one

It hurt the most

One by one

They ignored me and told me “NO”

Thinking it was okay

I looked at the mirror everyday

Just wanting an answer

But seeing my tears run down my face

One by one

Going faster and faster like a waterfall

Every time a brick of cold ice hit me

As time goes on

Day by day

I realize how it was the best choice I could ever make

Making me stronger

Making my water stay fresh

Rushing faster and clearer

Every time a good decision is made

The few friends I have now

Are true friends

Whose best strength

Is to be there for me

I am a Waterfall

With few rocks now

But those who stayed

Were there to support


Through my roughest times

The rushing water that splashes with fear and strength

One day will change with a

Peaceful rush of water

That soon will make a melody of happiness

The birds will sing, splash and play along

The flowers will bloom with bright petals that reflect the sun

Finding life from my calm water

I will be independent

I won’t rely on my parents anymore

I will accomplish my goals

Like going around the world and help the poor

To make my parents proud

To show everybody that if I stay strong

Anything I commit myself to

Can happen any time

I will work hard

I will be passionate about my dreams and goals


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