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This 14-day wilderness adventure offers teens of all backgrounds the opportunity to navigate whitewater, go expeditionary backpacking, learn primitive camping skills, and form incredible new friendships with a cohort of peers!
Students will co-create an inclusive environment while learning about the beautiful California wilderness, outdoor leadership, and environmental stewardship. The journey begins with whitewater rafting on the South Fork American River and base-camping at ETC’s River Camp in Lotus, CA for the first seven days. Then, the group will begin a 6-day backpacking expedition in the stunning Sierra Nevada. Finally, on day 14 of their journey, students will return to San Francisco to a graduation ceremony with loved ones.
* The Young Womxn’s Course is open to youth who self-identify as belonging to marginalized genders, including female, genderqueer, trans, non-binary, and femmes comfortable in female-centered spaces.
The trip begins with a welcoming introduction as we meet our teammates in San Francisco. After an orientation at Fort Mason Center, we will load our belongings into vans and drive to ETC River Camp in Lotus, CA. We will spend the day playing getting-to-know you games, discussing our hopes and goals, and overviewing the trip. That evening we will learn about course leadership positions, how to set up tents, clean gear, work as a team, and more. In the evening we hold our first Evening Meeting where we enjoy the process of debriefing our day, reflecting on our lives, and getting to know our teammates on a deeper level.
ETC River Camp is on the bank of the South Fork American River, where we will have time to explore the thrill and adventure of whitewater rafting while having a consistent camp space to return to each evening. Instructors train the students to navigate rapids, and students eventually take turns guiding the boats down Class I-II sections of the river. The more challenging Class III sections will be safely run by knowledgeable and experienced river guides, with ample time for white water excitement. We will also spend some time off of the water as well, learning about the history of the Coloma area, going on day hikes and finding private swimming holes to cool off in..Each day we will come back to the comfort of our beautiful river camp to cook dinner in the gorgeous open-air kitchen and continue our Evening Meetings. Every night will be spent sleeping under the stars and listening to the rustling pine trees as the river sings a bedtime lullaby!
On our 8th day we will drive to the trailhead in the Sierra Nevadas and begin hiking, bringing only what fits in our large backpacks. The challenge of backpacking and carrying only our essential needs gives us the opportunity to gain confidence and feel empowered, as well as the solitude to reflect on our experiences. We will take time to connect to the nature around us and reflect on our relationships with each other and the earth, all while sharing our experiences, laughing, and relishing bonding with new friends. While traveling through the scenic alpine environments, we will get to swim in freshwater lakes and identify countless wildflowers, each night enjoying the canopy of stars above us.
Road Trip Home & Graduation
Graduation Day! This is a gathering in San Francisco with our friends and families. We invite our loved ones to join us as we watch a slideshow of our adventure while sharing the highlights, stories, and laughter of our journey one last time before parting ways with our adventure buddies.
ETC strives to make outdoor experiences accessible to all regardless of ability or financial status. We offer a range of scholarships for students and encourage everyone to apply.
Once you have been accepted on a YLP course, to secure your reservation, your course deposit is due within two weeks of receiving your acceptance. This is 50% of your cost of the course and is necessary to hold your spot on the trip.
Program Cost: $3,675