Adventure Risk Challenge offers summer opportunity for Tahoe youth | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Adventure Risk Challenge offers summer opportunity for Tahoe youth

Tribune staff report

Berkeley's Adventure Risk Challenge Program is offering a unique opportunity to Lake Tahoe youth this summer. For three weeks, 10 teenagers will explore the Lake Tahoe's natural beauty. Outdoor adventures like rafting, rock climbing, and backpacking will be combined with an academic curriculum that strengthens students' English literacy and leadership skills.

A six­-week sister course in Yosemite National Park also is available for Tahoe youth who are looking for a longer experience away from home. Tahoe Program Coordinator Sean McAlindin will accept applications through April.

ARC is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Lake Tahoe this year. Its transformative summer immersion course was founded on the Outward Bound model and supports reading, writing, public speaking, and academic study skills through outdoor adventure and reflection on students' experiences. Katie Zanto, the program's founder, wanted to connect additional populations to the outdoors: "Our participants didn't have access to the outdoors like the rest of the community. I had the idea that I wanted to combine outdoor education adventure with literacy instruction."

Since its creation in 2004, the ARC program has had impressive results. Students have become more goal ­oriented, improved their English language skills, and developed leadership abilities. In the past decade, 82 percent of ARC participants have attended a two- or four-year university, compared to 36 percent of Latinos and 46 percent of Anglos statewide.

"ARC taught me to face challenges," ARC graduate Bebe San said. "It empowered me to create goals, to graduate from high school, and to attend college. ARC opened my eyes, and I realized that education is the key to success."

All Tahoe 9th- through 12th-graders are eligible to apply for ARC's summer immersion courses.

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Adventure Risk Challenge is a scholarship­-based program, and financial support is available to all students.

Visit http://www.arcprogram.org to learn more about the program and download applications for the summer immersion course. Applications are due by April 30.