Outdoor Education

I love nature. I love working with kids. Isn’t it only natural that I would love the combination? That was what made Troy Camp so special: the combination of fun in the outdoors and making a difference. I’ve come across three neat non-profit organizations in the Bay Area that do just that. Check them out!

Bay Area Wilderness Training


In a nutshell: They train staff of youth-serving organizations to lead outdoor excursions, AND they provide equipment for free! The catch is you have to work in an organization serving students. I don’t think you an just walk in and volunteer to work with other people’s students.

Big City Mountaineers


In a nutshell: It’s an intense mentoring program that matches small groups of students from under-served areas with a small group of mentors. They’ve got a one student to one mentor ratio. The group takes a weeklong backpacking or canoeing trip. The catch is that there is a small fee, and you have to provide all your own equipment.

Sierra Club Inner City Outings


In a nutshell: It’s a completely volunteer-run organization whose members lead dayhikes, car-camping trips, snow camping excursions, and backpacking adventures for urban youth (usually through organizations that sign up). The catch is that it’s a completely volunteer-run organization!!! Just kidding. The catch is that you have to participate in three or more hikes per year to stay active.

Clearly, there is not a lack of organizations or ways to get involved with youth and the outdoors, and it’s really just a matter of figuring out which one fits the best. Let me know if you know of other organizations out there.

Happy New Year – Happy New World

Happy New Year everyone! Why don’t we all set a collective New Year’s goal to make the world a better place in 2008.

Have you recovered from the Holiday shopping aftermath? I think as I grow older and older, I grow more and more weary of how Christmastime is becoming Shopping-time. It’s one thing to really live the holiday spirit by giving gifts to your loved ones, but I think our society has reached a point where our obsession with consumerism and shopping has gone too far.

I succumbed to it as well, by buying books and educational board games for my tween and teen cousins for Christmas, and I am sure many of you gifted as well. But after watching this 20 minute video on the “Story of Stuff,” I thought that there has to be a better way that we can celebrate Christmas than just buying each other presents that we’ll probably throw away in six months. Besides the season is about rejoicing the birth of Christ, and not about busting our wallets to impress each other with iPods.

Anyway, check out the video at www.storyofstuff.com or you can watch the first chapter below from youtube. The direct website has better resolution.

After watching it, I am rethinking my desire to buy that iPhone to replace my functional (but old) Treo. Sure iPhones are super sweet, but if my phone’s not broken…why fix it?

My brother recently joked around with me for being a wannabe “early adopter,” but I take pride in my “2nd generation adopter” status. Not only are most of my electronic purchases used, but I keep them for a long, long time.

Hiking Black Diamond Mines

San Francisco Summers are so deceivingly cold, so for June’s family day, we decided to head OUT of the city, and into the warm East Bay.

I found what sounded like an interesting hike over at the Black Diamond Mines National Reserve, so Bola, Bern and I, after a quick trip to my neighborhood Trader Joe’s, drove about an hour east (and 20 degrees warmer).. but I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.

Bola, Bern and Rey hiking at lack Diamond Mines Part 1
To our left is a little field with a bunch of snake holes… Kinda creepy.

Bola, Bern and Rey hiking at lack Diamond Mines Part 2

Bola, Bern and Rey hiking at lack Diamond Mines Part 3

Bern and Bola hiking at Black Diamond Mines

Bola and Rey hiking at Black Diamond Mines

a Rock Formation

Bola and Bern on the hike down

My printed out guide on www.bahiker.com said that the trail was a 3.5 mile loop, but it must have been a 5 or 6 mile hike because it took us almost 4 hours! The weather was gorgeous and I was so glad to get out of the cold city for a day.