Adventure Risk Challenge teams explore wilderness hand in hand |

Adventure Risk Challenge teams explore wilderness hand in hand

The Adventure Risk Challenge team gears up for an expeditionary summer learning experience.
Courtesy photo |

voices of youth

What: 11th annual ARC poetry reading

When: Tuesday, July 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Cedar House and Stella Restaurant, 10918 Brockway Road

RSVP: Free event, RSVP to

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, prepared to lead a team through literacy and leadership experiences in Desolation Wilderness and the Tahoe Basin this summer, Will Fassett, Central California program coordinator, has already begun to guide his team through the immersion course in Yosemite National Park.

The ARC 23-day Tahoe course will feature all the ARC adventure, opening with a challenging six-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 five-day trek into Granite Chief Wilderness and a stirring 24-hour solo.

“This is the first time we’ve offered a 23-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 40 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 more than 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 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 nine 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.


Ottley invites all community supporters to join ARC on July 15 at Voices of Youth, as Tahoe participants share their poetry at Cedar House/Stella Restaurant in Truckee for ARC’s annual fundraising event. The poetry reading, one of the most meaningful and memorable events of the summer, gives the community the opportunity to witness ARC youth summer experience transformations.

Enjoy complimentary beverages and appetizers from award-winning Stella restaurant, 5:30-6:30 p.m. accompanied by live music. At 6:30 p.m., be inspired by 10 youth sharing their insights from ARC’s wilderness program. Get involved — every dollar donated up to $15,000 will be doubled by a matching donation. This is a free event, however Adventure Risk Challenge appreciates your support to transformational youth development programming.

Make sure to RSVP to secure your seat(s), as the event is expected to fill the house. For more information, visit or email and 559-676-5096.

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