Outdoors at Columbia: A Culminating Leadership Project
Anna Bruno was born and raised up in her home of Tuolumne County, CA, in the gold country of the Sierras. Growing up, she explored the wilderness through a plethora of outdoor activities. Because of this, she was surprised when she realized how few people in her county actually explored the outdoors, even with multiple wilderness areas nearby, including Yosemite. So, when Anna had a chance to create her Culminating Leadership Project at Alzar School, she decided to try to introduce more people into the outdoors. To accomplish this, she created an outdoor club at the local community college, Columbia College, which she attended. She hoped that this club could bring more people into the outdoors. Additionally, those who were already involved in outdoor activities could have a group of people to join them on trips.
"The outdoors are amazing, we just need to find a way to get people there." -Anna Bruno
Implementation of Project
Anna was able to find many students at Columbia to be apart of her action team. There was already interest in creating an outdoor club, so there were many people willing to help and join. Once the general idea for the club was created, the club was chartered and made official, in terms of the college. Then, trips began. Before her action day, there were many outings. These included weekly climbing days, a climbing class, and a graffiti cleanup day. Through these events, more people were drawn into the outdoor club. This increased interest lead to more participation on Anna’s action day. Additionally to events, there were weekly outdoor club meetings, where future trips were planned, and Anna was able to publicize her action day.
Anna’s action day consisted of a camping and hiking trip in the Sierras, near a reservoir. The day of the camping trip, Anna met with participants at Columbia College before driving up to the campground. There, they were surprised to find snow, which was not expected. However, they decided to stay. They hiked through the snow to the reservoir, which was covered in ice. Afterwards, they hiked and explored around the lake before heading back to the campground. There, games were played, and a campfire was started. That night, it snowed, and Anna’s action day was shortened as the trail that they had planned to hike the next day was covered in mud.
"It is incredible how much energy and excitement there is in my action team and the members of OAC. I couldn’t believe how enthusiastic people were to go and scrub graffiti off a wall, and pick up trash, all to benefit an area of campus they might not even use. I’m so glad I have been able to be a part of organizing this energy to do good." -Anna Bruno
Results of Project
Anna’s action day resulted in interesting problems that she and participants needed to overcome. They had to decide if camping in the snow was a good idea, and how to light a fire with wet wood. Additionally, her project brought people out camping that wouldn’t have gone otherwise. However, her action day is not the only way Anna’s project is making an impact. OAC will continue to plan trips to bring people into the outdoors of Tuolumne County.
There will be many more trips through OAC in the future. Events such as a mud run, and skiing and kayaking trips have been discussed, and there has been communication to create a wilderness first aid course for OAC members. Hopefully OAC can find gear and money to support the club in the next semester, to allow for more activities and to make trips available to a larger number of people who do not own outdoor gear. Anna hopes that that when she leaves the community college in a few years, she can pass on her project to a new group of people, who can keep OAC alive.
“Many clubs at Columbia have not survived, because most students are only here for two years. However, I think OAC will continue due to the local interest in the outdoors, and how many participants are beginning to get to know to the outdoors.” –Anna Bruno