Grand Teton National Park, with the support of the Foundation, continues to leave an impact on the local Latinx community with Pura Vida programming. This year, the Pura Vida Summer Camp hosted 15 middle school students and 1 peer mentor who explored a variety of recreation opportunities while discovering what Grand Teton has to offer. Throughout each week, they also engage in team building, gain confidence, and develop valuable leadership and stewardship skills.
The program is filled with a variety of activities, exposing youth to an array of interests. This year participants hiked at Taggart Lake, Blacktail Butte, and Colter Bay. They learned about Grand Teton National Park in the visitor centers and by participating in The Nature Conservancy’s citizen science project Wildflower Watch. They strengthened their relationship with one another through challenging activities like canoeing at String Lake, completing Teton Science Schools' low ropes course, and spending a night under the stars at the Gros Ventre Campground. A highlight for the group was getting out on the water at String Lake, and it’s safe to say that they cannot wait to get back out there again soon.
Overnight camping was reintroduced to the program this year, and families joined the group for dinner at the Gros Ventre Campground. Participants gave family members a tour of their homes (tents) for the evening, highlighted some of their favorite experiences of the week, and wrote postcards to inspire their future selves.
The group collectively shared that recreation skills, teamwork, and perseverance were what they improved upon the most during the week. Most had their first experience canoeing and noticed a vast improvement of skills by the end of the first day and felt a noticeable increase in their paddling stamina by the end of the week. Participants shared that they felt more connected as a team through activities like canoeing, the low ropes course, and camping. Some felt they were pushed to their limits and were ready to give up, but through teamwork, were able to push each other in helping accomplish their goals.
The program's peer mentor participated in the high school spring break session of Pura Vida and was hired to join the middle school program this summer. They really enjoyed being able to build relationships and play a leadership role with the middle school youth.
Participants had a great time and families enjoyed seeing firsthand the impact of Pura Vida and hope to continue to be a part of this program and spend more time in Grand Teton in the future.
Thanks to all of our dedicated supporters who make this program possible every year!