A Letter From the Chair
Happy New Year!
We have continued to work closely with Merced County’s Probation Department, Merced Boys & Girls Club, and other youth-serving organizations in the Central Valley and Northern California.We completed a short video, Unifying Spirit – Honoring Indigenous, with the American Indian tribes of Yosemite, funded by an America’s Best Ideas grant from the National Parks Foundation.
We have especially focused on our relationship with the Merced County Probation Department. Almost every week Ron goes to the Merced County juvenile justice complex, Iris Garrett, for lunch with the youth. He brings healthy organic food and they share lunch and talk about their experiences in Yosemite. Ron and his work with Probation was also featured in The Search for Freedom by filmmaker Jon Long.
Our new book, Voices From Inside Out, was developed jointly by Sacred Rok and the Probation Department youth whom are incarcerated. This inspirational book tells the stories of 22 young people who have come to Yosemite with Sacred Rok, and what it has meant to them.
With the support of our donors, last year Ron led twenty-six day trips and five camping trips with Merced County Probation, Boys & Girls Club of Merced, EMQ FamiliesFirst, Yosemite area Native American Tribes and Symple Equazion. These trips provide the opportunity for these young people to experience nature and to build ongoing relationships.
Ron has also made presentations to groups throughout the Bay Area, as well as showing his movie Return to Balance: A Climber’s Journey at the Yosemite Visitor Center on weekend nights during the spring and summer.
We are grateful to our many supporters and donors, who share our values and commitment to our future as an inclusive society connected to nature and its wonders.These projects have been supported by Clif Bar Family Foundation, The North Face, Patagonia, Yosemite Conservancy, Merced County United Way, and the National Parks Foundation. All of our trips are at no cost to the participants. We are 100% funded by donations (monetary and in-kind), grants, and contracts. We are especially grateful for the donation of a camper vehicle from Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford of Clif Bar, providing amenities such as refrigeration and hot water for our camping trips.
Thank you for the opportunity to share the healing experience of nature with the young people we serve as well as with the larger community.
Nancy Goodban, Board Chair
Click here for Voices from our Youth