TRUCKEE, Calif. (March 8, 2022) – According to Selena Lopez Ortiz, a participant in one of the Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) 2021 summer programs, she learned a lot about herself while backpacking, rock climbing, exploring and studying environmental science and English in some of California’s most iconic natural places. “During challenging experiences, I created a new foundation with myself by changing my relationship with time, allowing myself to be vulnerable, and self-reflecting on my actions,” she said. The month-long program also helped her learn important lessons about teamwork, resilience, and confidence building.

2021 ARC Tahoe team backpacking on their second wilderness expedition in Granite Chief Wilderness
2021 ARC Tahoe team backpacking on their second wilderness expedition in Granite Chief Wilderness

Designed to provide immersive outdoor and academic programs for youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity, ARC expeditions introduce high school students to the beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains and to outdoor recreation experiences. From backpacking to rock climbing, ropes courses and more, over the course of a month, students learn outdoor skills like backcountry cooking and navigating using a topographical map, and the value of teamwork, perseverance, and curiosity.

“Over the past 10 years that I have worked with ARC, I’ve been amazed by the personal and academic growth demonstrated by the students who participate in the ARC program. It has been inspiring to watch as they have gone on to attend elite colleges, become leaders in their communities, and advocates for protecting the natural environment,” said ARC co-director Will Fassett. “On behalf of our entire team, we’re excited to open the application process for our 2022 programs, and to welcome a new group of participants to this transformational, immersive summer program that will support their social and academic development.”

 2021 ARC summer participant, Dani Ruiz, poses at sunrise at Tinker Knob
2021 ARC summer participant, Dani Ruiz, poses at sunrise at Tinker Knob

Science, literacy, and leadership are the pillars of the ARC program, with all elements of the curriculum anchored in learning from the natural environment. By examining ecosystems up close, identifying plants and animals along the trail, and being challenged and celebrated by each other, participants develop observation, reading, writing and public speaking skills, as well as a broad understanding of what they’re capable of.

Since 2004, ARC has had over 350 summer graduates and 2,500 year-round participants. The program offers over 15,000 student hours of leadership, literacy and outdoor instruction every year, with its success highlighted by the fact that 81% of participants go on to attend a two or four-year college. In addition, students experience growth in seven important developmental assets, as measured by the Developmental Assets Profile, including positive identity, social competencies, and commitment to learning.

ARC is accepting applications until April 22 for 2022 summer programs scheduled to take place in Yosemite National Park and the Lake Tahoe Basin. All current California and Northern Nevada high school students are eligible to apply. These unique, scholarship-based programs are offered to students on a sliding scale based on family income, with many students paying just $1 per day for their participation.

Valued at $6,000 per participant, ARC course scholarships are made possible by the generous support of corporate and nonprofit sponsors, grant funding and contributions from individual donors.

Learn more about ARC, donate to make it possible for a student to participate, or apply for a summer program at

About Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC)

ARC has facilitated leadership, literacy and wilderness experiences for high school students since 2004. In ARC’s outdoor classroom, students have the space to think critically about their stories, their academic challenges, and their post-secondary aspirations. After climbing peaks, exploring nature, and learning new skills, ARC youth envision a brighter future for themselves in school and beyond. ARC’s innovative year-round programming is rooted in the integration of rigorous academic instruction and outdoor education, and it truly changes lives. ARC inspires youth to become life-long learners, stewards of the environment, and leaders in their schools and community. Learn more at