My name is Sophia and I am 17 years old. I have been a part of the Crawford Adventure Club for four years. My life has been marked with many hardships; my father left our family after battling drug addiction when I was in middle school which left my mother to care for me and my four brothers. I have had to deal with the uncertainty of being surrounded by illness, drug abuse and financial insecurity. Despite all these things I don’t see myself as unfortunate to be in these circumstances but realize my strength comes from living through these obstacles.
It was during my freshman year at Crawford High School at the “Club Rush” event where I first encountered the Outdoor Outreach Program. Since then I have been on surfing, snowboarding, rock climbing and many other trips with the group. These outdoor activities helped me experience a sense of freedom in my life and for once I felt I was in control. Taking that initial risk of going out on these trips felt so daring and thrilling. Breathing the chilly fresh air with its unique scents, while also being surrounded by breathtaking amazing views of Mother Earth relaxed me. Being out in nature on these trips was so different from the buildings, pollution and city air I was used to. I especially noticed this when I would go snowboarding. I can still remember the feeling of the wind pushing against me as I went down the mountain, a feeling I will never get tired of.
Outdoor Outreach has helped me gain personal confidence, courage, understand myself more as an individual and has provided me with cherished memories I will never forget. The best of all the things Outdoor Outreach has given me are the friendship I have made. The relationships I have with the students and staff has made Outdoor Outreach another family for me. My involvement with Outdoor Outreach has been a gift; it has given me a purpose and a place to belong.