This unique program continues to transform the lives of underserved youth from Merced County communities.

Through a series of year-long weekend retreats and a 40-day summer immersion in the park, Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) program participants are mentored through a range of academic and physical activities, including backpacking, hiking, rock climbing and wilderness expeditions. They also focus on English and environmental science through ongoing tutoring.

Working closely with their UC Merced student mentors, they learn that going to college or pursuing a career in national parks are tangible dreams and many are on track to fulfilling their goals.  For example, the college enrollment rate of ARC summer program participants (the majority are the first in their families to attend college) is 77%, compared to 56% of California residents statewide.

With your continued support we are building the next generation of park stewards.

Partnering with: Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC), the University of California Berkeley and the University of California Merced.

Watch this Youth in Yosemite video to hear from former participants.


I Am A Bighorn Sheep

By Xiong Vue

A UC Berkeley & Merced Adventure Risk Challenge Program Participant

Bighorns are powerful

At running up steep hills,

I never give up and

I help them never give up also,

The herd is always there for me,

Encouraging me to reach higher,

To go beyond their expectations,

A Bighorn sheep is what I am




ARC participant

Project Notes

My life has changed since I'€™ve been here at ARC. The 40-day course has led me to make good choices in life. The people in ARC care about me and about my education. The ARC course is pretty hard, because you have to commit to facing a lot of challenges. Facing those challenges actually makes you a better person.