Introducing the South Lake Tahoe Outdoor Youth Adventure Program

by Corey Rich

Why is this flyer important? This flyer could potentially change someone’s life.

When I think about the skills that I’ve learned from climbing that have actually made a difference in my life and career, learning how to productively cope with adversity is right there at the top. As parents we spend a lot of time trying to teach our kids how to deal with tough situations. These skills are doubly important for kids from under-served backgrounds who may have experienced lots of adversity in their lives but who also may not have found ways to cope with it.

At the barest minimum, climbing is one thing that can give kids those tools. At the highest level, however, it can be all that and so much more—a lifelong passion, a reason to travel, an excuse to stay fit, a community of accepting and friendly peers.

Climbing became that for me, and it was only by sheer luck that I happen to get to experience climbing at such an early age. I was 13 years old when two teachers at Quartz Hill High school, Bob Porter and George Egbert, noticed how many pull-ups I could do in gym class and decided to take me and my brother Scott climbing for a weekend out in the Needles of California.

That one weekend changed my life.

I’ve always had it my mind that I want to find ways to pay this kind of gesture forward to the next generation. Marina and I have noticed that there are a bunch of kids in our community here in South Lake Tahoe who, despite living in one of the best outdoor meccas in the country, still don’t have the access or opportunity to have these kinds of adventures. We decided that we wanted to help change that.

We made the decision to fund a pilot program here in South Lake Tahoe to get 32 underserved youth between the ages of 10-18 outside. Thanks to my longtime friend and climber Peter Mayfield, through his organization, the Gateway Mountain Center, we are hoping to help open doors for a group of highly deserving kids from South Lake Tahoe.

This is a call to action for South Lake Tahoe parents, teachers, police, firefighters, etc.: If you know a local youth who could benefit from getting out into our backyard and going camping, hiking, climbing, and kayaking, please get in touch with James DePew at the Gateway Mountain Center: james@sierraexperience.org

For some kids out there, all it takes is one weekend with the right people to change you life for the better. But for me and Marina, just opening the doors to the wonderful adventures in our backyard for a group of great kids will make this program a success.

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2 comments

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Maria Martinez May 14, 2021 - 12:23 am

I’m a single momma of three and my kids and I have had a tough last year would really live for them to get in volver in this how do I get more info.

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Justin Carter June 1, 2021 - 10:33 am

Hi Corey,

Sounds fantastic! Is there a way to get involved as an adult guide/volunteer?

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