by Stacey A.
This Sunday seven local bands come together for ARC in the Park, a fundraiser for local nonprofit, Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC). The event brings a full day of music to the Truckee Amphitheater from noon-10 p.m., raffle prizes from twenty local businesses, food trucks, games for the kids, and local vendors. All proceeds from this grassroots and volunteer-driven event go toward the ARC cause; even the bands and staff are donating their time.
Now in its 11th year, ARC was founded by Katie Zanto in the Tahoe area. It's a leadership and literacy program that combines the wilderness with academics. Participants get high school credit for completing the summer course.
Courses are offered in 20 or 40-day modules both in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite and are completely scholarship-based. Once a month there is a weekend retreat, with past trips including rock climbing in Yosemite, camping on the coast, ski trips in Lake Tahoe, and a ropes course. Students are free to do both summer courses and weekend retreats without limit, but most students come to ARC for the first time for a weekend just to try it out.
ARC backpacking retreat in the mountains
Program Coordinator Sean McAlindin says the ideal ARC candidate is a kid who is motivated to strive for something better in life but doesn't have the support. "At ARC we can help give him the same opportunity as someone else with more resources."
Any student is welcome into the program, but the focus is on helping low-income and at-risk teenagers start thinking about their goals and college plans. 82% of ARC summer immersion participants go on to college, despite many coming from Spanish-speaking, Mexican-immigrant, and low-income families. ARC courses are heavily writing-based, using a journal format to help bilingual teens not only improve their English skills but also focus on introspection.
ARC participants learning wilderness and survival skills
McAlindin recruits participants from local high schools in North Lake and Truckee, and teens from South Lake, Reno, Sacramento, and the Bay Area add diversity to the group. He has experience in wilderness therapy both in and out of the classroom and has typically been the go-to guy for troubled students that no one else can get through to.
He believes "the wilderness has an amazing quality to help people face their true self because there are no other distractions."
I had the pleasure of meeting McAlindin during a rock climbing trip near Donner Lake and was impressed by his involvement in the local community. Aside from ARC, McAlindin is also connected to the local music scene with his band, Lost Whiskey Engine, and his work at another nonprofit, the Tahoe School of Music. The idea of ARC in the Park came from a fusion of his two worlds.
McAlindin in Lost Whiskey Engine
In addition to Lost Whiskey Engine, six local bands will play this Sunday - Sneaky Creatures, Coburn Station, Angele & The Wildwood Band, Aaron Oropeza, Truckee Tribe, and The Crawlers.
McAlindin hopes the benefit will not only raise money but also awareness of ARC program; he said he picked this Sunday in particular because it is the first real "locals" weekend of the season. He also hopes people will value ARC in the Park as a purely local music festival. "For a small town, we have one of the best music scenes, and it's only getting stronger."
Thirty local businesses have donated merchandise and gift certificates to the raffle, and the grand prize is a Jeremy Jones snowboard. Tickets are available online here for $20 as well as at New moon in Truckee at Tahoe City, For Goodness Sake, Between the Notes, and the Glenshire General Store.
More information on how to donate time or resources to ARC can be found here or at the information booth at the event.
Our intern, Stacey Alonzo, is an outdoor enthusiast, yoga instructor, aspiring journalist, Burner, and lover of food, drinks, live music, and travel.