UC Irvine YAL Chooses Charity with the Pacific Crest Trail Association (Part 1) - Building, Climbing, and Camping

Richard Pham
Jan 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

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On December 15th of 2012, as our Fall quarter came near toward winter break, the University of California-Irvine volunteered (voluntarily of course) with the Pacific Crest Trail Association and Forest Service. 

Here in California, along with the Great State of Oregon and Washington, the Pacific Crest Trail is long distance trail of 2,663 miles stretching from the US-Mexican border all the way to Canada. In order to maintain these trails, protect the beauty of it, and to make sure generations after us will have the opportunity to enjoy the trail and create memories, the PCTA was created to help plan journeys for thru-hikers, day hikers, and sectional hikers; create a network of camping, hiking, and nature enthusiasts; and to help maintain the trails and preserve its precious waterways. Interesting enough, all this is maintained through volunteers!

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Boy, was this a successful and fun event! Who says you can't mix in a little fun with volunteering? In this trip, we reached out to other clubs, organizations, and sororities/fraternities. We especially stressed how fun this event would be and how great our YAL chapter potentially become. In a word of advice, freshmen are great targets to market your message as you will see that their young faces eager to make the most of their college experience. 

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To give you a gist of what went down:

We spent the day restoring picnic benches. Everything from cutting the timber and sanding it down to removing frames for reuse from extremely weathered benches to finally painting and assembling our finished products!

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But let's remember, all work and no play turns you mad right? We spent the rest of the having lunch, rock climbing and camping. Our chapter president, Richard Pham, a seasoned rock climbing veteran, was glad to teach newbies how to climb. 

And we finished off the night with dinner, smores, hot chocolate and cider, and a nice camp fire.

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As part of YAL National's Choose Charity event, since our event was such a successful one, we decided to return with the Pacific Crest Trail Association later this January for another project and to diversify further into helping the needy at a nearby soup kitchen. More updates will follow.

From this, we learned chapters can expand in membership, do activism events, and most important, have fun and connect with each other! One should definitely learn how to effectively build coalitions and target those who might be interested. From this, we've expanded our chapter from 15 active members to 23! A big move from members listed on your mailing list compared to the more important crown jewels, the active members!

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