This unique program transforms the lives of underserved high-school aged youth from communities throughout California. Past participants maintain a 97 percent high-school graduation rate, and more than 80 percent are attending college.

During a series of year-round weekend retreats and a 40-day summer immersion in the park, Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) participants use the wilderness as a venue to integrate leadership, environmental science and literacy. They are mentored through a range of academic and outdoor activities, including backpacking, hiking, rock-climbing and a 24-hour solo wilderness trip, while focusing on team-building, public speaking, and poetry and essay writing.

In 2015, your continued support enabled another group of Central Valley teens to complete the nearly six-week ARC course in Yosemite. During the summer program, the ARC participants had the chance to work closely with college-age Yosemite Leadership Program  interns, who served as volunteer academic tutors, taught the group about “Leave No Trace” principles, and shared insights about researching and applying to colleges.

Your gift helped a group of ARC participants gain valuable skills, connect with Yosemite and learn that college and public-lands careers are tangible dreams. To learn more about ARC, read our February 2016 blog post.

Completed in partnership with ARC; Universities of California, Berkeley and Merced; and Yosemite National Park.

Sarah Cupery Ottley

Adventure Risk Challenge Director

Project Notes

Adventure Risk Challenge is essential to the future of gateway Central Valley youth, who are sorely lacking enriching experiences that boost their academic performance, assist them in developing leadership skills, foster values of stewardship and conservation, and change their vision of the future. ARC provides a network of support and services critical to youth success through dynamic year-round curriculum.