The Ripple Effect: Baboquivari High School
“Our students have very little swimming experience,” says trip coordinator and guidance counselor Rebecca, “so just being in the water was stepping outside of their comfort zones.”
For many youth from Baboquivari High School on the Tohono O’odham Nation in Southern Arizona, the Colorado River was the most water they had ever seen.
In 2017, two Baboquivari students, Chavez and Joaquin, rafted the Grand Canyon with Grand Canyon Youth (GCY). Their experience was so profound that in 2018, Rebecca spearheaded the planning for a GCY expedition from Diamond Creek to Lake Mead on the Colorado River.
“If the river was a woman, I’d marry it, because once I saw it I knew I was in love.”
Chavez, 2017 Participant
When the trip launched in June, eight teenagers, including the younger siblings of both Chavez and Joaquin, spent a magical four days swimming rapids, exploring canyons, and connecting with nature and each other.
In 2019, Rebecca plans to coordinate a five-day expedition on the San Juan River. She says, “I am heartened that GCY is so committed to making these trips accessible to underrepresented populations. It is so important to get more Native students on the river and exposed to these opportunities.”
This is the ripple effect of Grand Canyon Youth: building relationships with schools, individuals, and communities to create an ever greater impact. What started with two youth on a Grand Canyon expedition has expanded to include a consistent Baboquivari program serving more students every year.