“Our mission is to empower underserved youth through integrated literacy and wilderness experiences.”
About Us

Since 2004, ARC has supported youth in developing skills in literacy, leadership, and life.

“Our mission is to empower underserved youth through integrated literacy and wilderness experiences.”
ARC’s interactive and innovative year-round programming is rooted in the integration of rigorous academic instruction and outdoor education, and it truly changes lives. Our participants are selected for their leadership potential, their willingness to learn and challenge themselves, their need for an experience that bolsters their academic and leadership skills, and their lack of access to meaningful and transformational experiences in the outdoors.

The majority of young people in our communities face myriad challenges
on their path toward an education that will lead to a promising future.

Did You Know?

Recent research indicates that by 2025 there will be a shortage of 1 million college-educated individuals prepared for the California work force.

Did You Know?

The majority of California high school students are not passing the Expository Reading and Writing component of the STAR exam, indicating they do not have basic college English proficiencies.

Did You Know?

Research shows that wilderness/outdoor experiences provide learning opportunities that traditional classrooms do not.

“Our vision is that all youth will have a pathway to complete post-secondary education and to live as engaged, empowered citizens.”
How We Are Making a Difference

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ARC specializes in exceptional summer learning opportunities for young people that are strengthened through academic-year programming. ARC inspires youth to become life-long learners, stewards of the environment, and leaders in their schools and community. Through our innovative integration of outdoor and academic education, they learn valuable social skills and increase their self-esteem, to support them in their academic, personal, and professional pursuits. High quality summer learning programs are essential to the success of today’s youth.



The summer courses are based at University of California field stations and blend outdoor adventure, leadership activities, and academics.

Download an application for our 2016 Summer Course in Yosemite
Download an application for our 2016 Summer Course in Lake Tahoe


Print and Web

Sarah Ottley: Profile of ARC’s Dynamic Director
The Tahoe Weekly, February 21, 2017

Moving Mountains: Outdoor Education Teaches Strength to Valley Teens
The Fresno Bee, August 4, 2016

Outdoor Leadership Program Provides Life-changing Experience
Sierra Star, July 31, 2014

UC President Napolitano attends ARC poetry reading in Yosemite
UC Natural Reserve System Newsletter, August 6, 2013

Students Learn About Life, Nature In Rigorous Program
Fresno Bee, August 10, 2011

Event Focuses On Youth
Vida En El Valle, December 6, 2011

Con apoyo, los jóvenes pueden tener éxito
Vida En El Valle, December 6, 2011

Educational Program Knocks Down Barriers Students Face
Merced Sun-star, December 3, 2011

ARC Interns Participate in Youth Conference
Sagehen News, October 7, 2008

Bridge To Self-Reliance: High School Students Participate in Leadership and Literacy Summer Program.
Santa Barbara News-Press, July 20, 2007

Grant Helps Expand UC Natural Reserve Outreach
UC Berkeley News, August 2, 2006

Students Trek Beyond Classrooms and Desks
Sierra Sun, June 2, 2006

ARC Hopes to Expand in Incline
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, January 15, 2006

Leadership and Literacy Program Challenges Area Youth
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, July 29, 2005

Literacy Program Combines Books with Backpacking
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, May 29, 2005

Program Research

Place, Literacy Learning, and Civic Engagement (pdf)
A Case Study of Adventure Risk Challenge

Breaking Barriers Project (pdf)
Understanding Motivations and Barriers to Youth Participation in the Outdoors

Bridging the Gap: The Union of Personal and Academic Growth (pdf)
ARC: Delivering literacy and personal growth for English Language Learners through outdoor education. Christine Hooper, Master’s Thesis, 59 pp.

Transforming Thought into Words: Using Photography and Dialogue to Help Immigrant Students Write with Voice (pdf)
Shelley Gorin, Master’s Thesis. 72 pp.


Sagehen’s Adventure Risk Challenge Summer Program
NPR, April 19, 2006

Youth Voices Radio Project
KVMR (NPR), February 27, 2008