Now in its fourth year in Yosemite, this unique program continues to transform the lives of underserved youth from Central Valley communities.

During a series of year-round 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 solos. They also focus on English, team-building, public speaking and environmental science through ongoing tutoring.

Working closely with their University of California, Merced, student mentors, ARC high school–age participants 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, ARC participants maintain a minimum 90 percent passing rate of the California High School Exit Exam and a 70 percent college-enrollment rate as a result of after-school tutoring and academic classes.

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

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


Partnering with Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC), University of California, Berkeley, University of California Merced and Yosemite National Park.


Excerpt from: Just Call Me Carpenter Ant

by Jesus A. (age 17)

Dos Palos, Calif.

I am an ant

A leader

A community of one


Even when the winds of discrimination

Blow against me

I look small

But I take down huge trees

Vera Reyes

ARC participant

Project Notes

It changes how you feel about yourself and about the need to protect wilderness.