BTSLA youth head to the mountains for Futures Camp

Over two consecutive weeks in June, BTSLA hosted 48 boys and 33 girls at the Arrowhead Ranch Outdoor Science School in Lake Arrowhead, California for the second annual Futures Camp.

Futures Camp furthers BTSLA’s mission to make a positive impact in the lives of youth in Los Angeles and to teach them skills and values that will empower them to be tomorrow’s leaders. To that end, Futures Camp provided a serene mountain setting to learn core values such as perseverance, decision making, honesty, and courage.

Each day, the students completed a team-building activity to introduce the theme of the day. On Monday, the teams worked together to untangle themselves from a human knot, demonstrating the theme of perseverance. On Tuesday, each team stood on a piece of fabric and was tasked with flipping over the fabric without anyone stepping off. Together, they exhibited the theme of decision-making by working together and ensuring that each move they made was thought-out and deliberate. On Wednesday, a stationary “shepherd” had to verbally direct his blindfolded “sheep” to their pen, testing each team member’s honesty to not only themselves, but to others. On the last day, the wrestlers demonstrated the theme of courage by putting their toe on the line and taking part in the camp wrestling competition.

The students also wrestled each day and were instructed by both BTSLA coaches and elite wrestlers. Along with BTSLA executive director and coach Yero Washington, the boys camp was honored to welcome Reece Humphrey, three-time U.S. Open champion and World Team member; Anthony Valencia, three-time California state champion, Junior World Team member, and current Arizona State wrestler; and current CSU-Bakersfield wrestler Sergio Mendez who led wrestling sessions for the boys.

Tatiana Suarez Padilla, UFC fighter and two-time World bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling, joined BTSLA coaches Monique Selva (Menlo College), Sarah Saenz (King College and 2014 California Women’s National Team coach), and Laura Mann-Krieger (CSU-Bakersfield) to lead the wrestling sessions for the girls.

Finally, as campers at an outdoor science school, students joined hikes with Arrowhead Ranch Outdoor Science School naturalists to learn about wildlife in the area and round-out their nature camp experience. The girls learned about astronomy one evening, and, on another day, hiked to Arrowhead Village to spend time at peaceful Lake Arrowhead. In their free time, the kids enjoyed ping-pong, basketball, board games, and the swimming pool while forging new friendships and strengthening old ones.

BTSLA is fortunate to have shared a memorable camp experience with these wonderful wrestlers and looks forward to another successful camp next summer.

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