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SF Achievers develop self-reliance in Yosemite
Elspeth Hamilton
February 12, 2013 - 10:26am


Last month, a group of high schoolers from SF Achievers made the long journey from the Bay, through the Central Valley, and up to the heart of the Sierra Nevada: Yosemite National Park.  As they headed west, they left the Pacific Ocean behind. Driving through farm country, with almonds, pecans, cows, and a plethora of vegetables, they looked up to see the Sierra Nevada in the distance, shrouded in a blanket of snow.

The Sierra Nevada: source of Hetch Hetchy, the reservoir that supplies San Francisco with drinking water.  Source of the water that grows the food that fuels them as they go about their day—studying, playing sports, and hanging with friends.

SF Achievers is a program based in San Francisco that “provides resources and strategies to help African American male scholars develop self-reliance and interdependence regarding their academic, personal, and social growth.”

These young men are excited for their opportunity to be in the program.  When asked why they were here and part of the program, one young man responded, “This program provides me things in the long run.  Experiences that I can benefit from. This program helps us to adapt to different places.” 

They arrived at NatureBridge in the evening, and reacted to the nearly five feet of snow in a frenzy of excitement that you can only expect from a group of young men from a typically snowless hometown.

As the plants and animals in Yosemite are constantly adapting to the infinite changes of their environs, so do the SF Achievers students as they navigate life in San Francisco and this new experience: spending a week ‘unplugged’ in Yosemite.  They are connecting to the natural world, taking their learning outside, and learning to be scientists. 

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