“…It brought about this inner feeling of peace and self-accomplishment that I had never experienced.”
It can be hard to measure the transformative impacts the outdoors has on a person. Yet, many of us have, at some point, experienced profound, life-changing moments that took place outdoors, in nature. Whether it was backpacking for the first time through Shenandoah National Park in the Fall as the leaves changed from shades of green to dark reds and oranges, or taking your first family trip to see the magnificent Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park, these moments leave a lasting imprint on us and help us all learn a bit more about ourselves and what we are truly capable of.

In an effort to share just how transformative the outdoors is for City Kids youth, we sat down with Josh, a current City Kid participant and junior at Benjamin Banneker High School, to hear more about his recent adventure to Alaska, where he backpacked through Denali State Park, paddled down the Lion’s Head section of the Matanuska River, and kayaked through glaciers in Prince William Sound. This trip was made possible through an amazing partnership thanks to Wilderness Adventures!  Here’s what Josh had to say:

You recently went on a 2-week hiking, sea-kayaking and whitewater rafting trip to Alaska, what was the most challenging part of your Alaska experience?  How did you approach this?

Josh: The two most challenging portions of the trip were traveling on my own for the first time across the country to a destination I had never been to, and spending two weeks with people I had never met. The switchbacks were pretty challenging too and constantly going uphill and downhill was not easy, but I pushed through to get the most out of the experience. Instead of focusing on how hard it was, I would look up and focus on the amazing views and realize, “Oh my gosh, I’m in Alaska!” It brought about this inner feeling of peace and self-accomplishment that I had never experienced.

How do you think that your experience in Alaska will help you later on in life?

Josh: I believe that those amazing moments in Alaska will help me to appreciate situations in the moment and not take them for granted. I’ve learned to make the most out of everything I experience. 

What keeps you coming back to City Kids?

Josh: I’ve been a part of City Kids for 6 years now, and I keep coming back because I love and appreciate the environment they provide. The countless trips and activities we do in the program are things I would have never imagined seeing myself doing. Kayaking, for example, is something I would have never been exposed to, but it’s my favorite activity to do! I definitely would have never pictured myself traveling to Alaska as well. City Kids has also pushed me to take on leadership roles, which is not something I’ve always been comfortable taking on.  With City Kids supporting me, I feel comfortable being a leader. Continuing in the program has also allowed me to become more open minded and has enabled me to be able to broaden my horizons.

City Kids is incredibly grateful for the generous support that each and every one of you provide to ensure that youth like Josh can go safely out into the world and explore a new area, grow as a leader, and continue to challenge what’s possible.