Y.E.T.I. has been working with some of the community outreach staff at Highline High School to get an outing together this Fall and last week the trip came together with great success! We planned the hike for Veterans Day, knowing that the kids would be off school and looking for a fun activity mid-week. After coordinating with teachers to gauge interest and get the word out about the opportunity, we settled on Twin Falls State Park as a destination as it is a perfect venue to learn about the waterways in Western Washington as well as experience the gorgeous views of the cascading falls. Word must have spread quickly among the students as the trip filled to max capacity over the course of two days.
The students were primarily English Language Learners (ELL) and a couple of their teachers came along as Y.E.T.I. volunteers to translate some of the lessons and direction throughout the hike. When offering programs like this, Y.E.T.I. always strives to make space for teachers, parents, coaches, counselors or other organization leaders in order to foster a deeper connection between the students, their community, and their public lands. We could not have been more thankful for the extra hours these teachers volunteered to make this program a success for their students!
A Rainy Adventure
After a brief history of the area, we hit the trail and found solace from the consistent PNW drizzle under the equally iconic dense forest and tree cover. Donning Y.E.T.I. provided hard shell and down jackets, the students persevered through the damp conditions with the energy and excitement usually reserved for sunny summer hikes. It was clear that this group doesn’t let much stand in the way of having a good time.
Along the trail, we stopped at riverbanks, huge tree trunks, and waterfall views. The students took turns posing for photos, admired the views, and learned a bit about how water in Washington moves through and shapes our landscape. On the drive back to Highline, the van was buzzing with energy as the students continued to talk and laugh, ever deepening the human connection that develops through a shared outdoor adventure.
Plans for More!
Since participating in that hike, the ELL students have already reached out to plan another adventure this winter. Additionally, the Environmental Science Club at Highline has invited us to present to the club about trip opportunities and already scheduled a snowshoe outing in the coming months. As the word spreads, the momentum and excitement for Y.E.T.I. programs seems to be building as we have received requests from 2 other student clubs at Highline for outings. Y.E.T.I. is so excited to offer these opportunities to such motivated and amazing kids seeking out all the wonder and joy that an outdoor adventure has to offer.