Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

     Have you heard about a group called “Wildlink?” I ran into Laura Beardsley recently in El Portal; she is the Director of Wildlink. In their words, “WildLink’s mission is to give underserved teens wilderness experiences that will empower them to better their own lives as well as their communities; and to ensure that the diverse California citizenry is informed, invested and committed to the enduring resource of Wilderness.” Sounds good. Did you catch the new word “underserved.” Seems “underprivileged” is passé but underserved means they have not been given the resources most of us have.
     By 2015, more than one-third of the America’s population will be of Hispanic, African American and Asian descent and this changing population is largely uninformed of the values of Wilderness. At significant risk is the National Wilderness Preservation System and it’s legacy of clean water and air, critical habitat for rare and endangered species, and venues for recreation, reflection and solitude.

     Since 2000 WildLink has been a partnership between the Yosemite Institute, Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, the Sierra Nevada Wilderness Education Project, the Sequoia Natural History Association and the National Forests of the Sierra. Every school year, over 100 culturally diverse high school students participate in wilderness backpacking expeditions in the Sierra. These WildLink students in turn impact 1100 underserved Californians annually through Wilderness Ambassador projects.  Students benefit from a wide array of opportunities designed to provide leadership training and personal empowerment, giving them tools to change their own lives as well as their home communities. WildLink works with its participants months before and years after their expeditions. Participating Schools are generally found in the Central Valley areas. They include:

Oakland ReLeaf, Oakland
Madera High School, Madera
San Joaquin County Office of Education, Stockton
Kingsburg High School, Kingsburg
Harbor City Boys and Girls Club, Los Angeles
Reedley High School, Reedley
Animo High School, Los Angeles
Fresno Boys & Girls Club, Fresno
Delta Vista High School, Stockton
Turlock High School, Turlock
Vista High School, Richmond
Contra Costa Middle College, Richmond
Merced High School, Merced

To learn more, go to their <WEBSITE>.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline. To make records with a mobile – we didn’t have much time. Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around. But some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground. Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky. Smoke on the water.” – Deep Purple

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com


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