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Changing Lives in the Outdoors

Youth are increasingly disengaged from the natural world, spending more and more time sitting in front of screens and less time outdoors. This environmental deficit among young people is a serious problem.  For 40 days every summer, Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) takes a group of high school youth away from their plugged-in lives and into the woods. Using alternative learning strategies they provide intensive, life-changing experiences through wilderness expeditions, outdoor classrooms, and place-based environmental science studies.

Taking it Home

Youth return to their families, neighborhoods, and schools with a new perspective and desire to give back and make a difference. After a summer in the wilderness learning about sustainability, they are far more likely to participate in community service projects for local and regional environmental causes.

ARC is influencing the next generation to build strong bonds with nature, instilling a love of the wilderness and a desire for stewardship. In the words of a participant, “This program has helped me to find my way; it has opened new doors, reinstalled a sense of empowerment, cemented my desire for life in the outdoors and most importantly, showed me the value of service to others and the environment.”

Jamie Husain photo

Support from the Network

A couple of 1% for the Planet member businesses have already stepped up to support the cause, including:


– In ten years, ARC has spent 2,400 days in the wilderness, positively influencing youth to spread the ripples of their learning out into their communities.

– Participants learn the principles of 1% for the Planet nonprofit partner Leave No Trace, and embrace our four core values of determination, integrity, compassion, and service, all of which they take back into their communities and homes.

Call to Action: 

The success of ARC can be traced back to every hour and every investment made by individuals who believe in inspiring youth through the outdoors. Our volunteers are incredible mentors to our young people, providing hundreds of hours of service every summer as writing coaches, workshop facilitators, and outdoor guides. Contact to learn more about our volunteer opportunities, and consider donating here.

ARC also invites the public to attend our Voices of Youth events in Tahoe or Yosemite, an annual presentation of profoundly moving poetry, written in and about the wilderness, and performed by our participants every July.

Jamie Husain photo

The Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow:

ARC’s outcomes are multi-leveled. Over the past 10 years, 77% of our summer course graduates have gone on to college, compared to 46% nationwide. These young people are the next generation of decision-makers, and because of their participation with ARC, they are armed with an ethos of conservation and a love of the outdoors.  Lets help this trend continue!

Contact Sarah Cupery Ottley, Director of Programs,, 559.676.5096 with any further questions.  You can also visit or www.facebook/AdventureRiskChallenge.

Here’s some quotes from recent participants of the program:

“Being in the wilderness has calmed me down and taught me not to take everything for granted. I want to protect the parks and make sure everything isn’t urbanized. We need to work with nature instead of against it.”

“I consider myself special, because not many people are able to see the Sequoia trees and admire all of this. I also think that we all need to take care of nature more and not destroy it.”

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