“I had never considered the environment to be important. It was family, money and an education that mattered to me. However after working in the parks, I came to see the value of our environment. I saw this firsthand when we camped at Half Moon Bay State Park. The beach was beautiful, but ice plant and mustard plant covered the park. These plants are non-native and crowd out native plants. The crew leaders taught us how to use the trail maintenance tools. We played games and hiked around. The crew and leaders became friends and we learned how to work together as a team.”
Marvin was the only student from his high school to join SCA, which meant he was meeting and working with youth from around San Mateo County and also from the East Bay.
“At first, I didn’t really feel like I belonged. When you are taken to places far from your home, without smartphones or expectations, the crew just has each other and you end up developing a seamless bond. We were all different, and after spending three nights camping, we found our own community, which is essential for a crew working together.
I got to work on San Bruno Mountain with an SCA crew from Oakland. After camping for two days, it felt like I had known them for a long time. We cheered each other on during a ropes course and shared stories around a campfire. We pulled out invasive plants, piling them up for park rangers to dispose. We gathered on top of that mountain of invasive plants for a group photo and when I look back at it, it reminds me of the power and magnificence of people who care about each other and their environment.”
The close bond Marvin formed with his crew members and the knowledge he gained from working in the field infused him with a new sense of confidence. This propelled him to take what he learned and apply it to his daily life. Today, Marvin is a student at Cañada College, taking Environmental Science classes. He is also an Apprentice SCA crew leader, leading activities and mentoring crew members.
“It is important that programs like SCA are offered to youth, so they can volunteer and learn about social and environmental issues. When you take the initiative to learn things and solve problems, a whole new world opens up for you. And when you make the most out of a new experience, a great appreciation comes over you and you realize you can be a leader too.”
The San Mateo County Parks Foundation has been funding SCA summer crews for eight years.
San Bruno County & State Park stands as the Northern sentinel of the Santa Cruz mountains. The park’s 1314’ peak offers outstanding trail runs & hikes. Its multiple hiking options are great for adults & kids. The parks includes: Ridge reviews of San Francisco, SF Bay, and Pacific Ocean Multiple hiking options for families: starting at Summit Trail near the top of the bog trail Great berry picking along the Bog Trail in late summer Preserve for rare and endangered animals including checkerspot butterfly on its exposed windy slopes & Serpentine soil Varied wildflowers in spring 1st OpenSpace Park master plan in the nation Adjacent to a canyon for a Bullitt care chase (for those Steve McQueen fans) Excellent Peninsula alternative to Marin One of my favorite moderate hikes in the Bay Area is the 3.1 miles Summit Loop. The well graded trail is good for trail runs and moderate hikes with friends. Just make sure to watch your footing along with the multiple 360 degree views of the Bay Area. I have a soft spot for San Bruno Mountain since I’ve lead 100s volunteer trail maintainers over the years with www.trailcenter.org and San Mateo County Parks in the park.…