By Mary O’KEEFE
About 15 Glendale teens spent the weekend at Dunsmore Park building leadership and teamwork skills as part of the Outdoor Youth Connection [OYC].
Park Naturalist Dave Moreno explained OYC is a state run outreach program that provides teenagers who are already involved in community based organizations to have the opportunity to experience outdoor activities like camping.
Normally the group would meet, and camp, at Deukmejian Wilderness Park but plans were changed due to the Station Fire. Instead of canceling the event, Moreno brought the group to Dunsmore Park.
“This is not normal and camping is not allowed at Dunsmore Park,” he said.
But with supervision and the unusual circumstances regarding the Deukmejian closure, the group settled at Dunsmore.
This was Michelle Ragalado’s, 18, second time participating in OYC camp. This weekend she brought along some friends she thought would benefit from the program.
“I brought five people with me. This [program] will teach them how to work as a team. Everybody works together,” Ragalado said.
She added that before joining the OYC she was at times shy when meeting people she didn’t know.
“Now I can go up to a person I don’t know and introduce myself. I have confidence now,” Ragalado added.
Daniel Warden, 15, was also a veteran of OYC who agreed with Ragalado that the program builds confidence.
“It teaches us how to work together, and that sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone,” Warden said.
Moreno and fellow counselor/leader Nune Sogomonyen guided the group in games and exercises that highlighted what the teens thought were the qualities of a leader. One of the team games they called Spider Web. Moreno told the group that they were all stuck on an island and the only way for survival was crawling through a web.
“There is a huge spider up at the top, on the other side of the web is your only water and food source. You have to crawl through the holes in the web but remember that the spider will feel any vibration. You have to work together to work on a strategy,” he said.
The kids split into two separate groups and began to plan on which one of them would crawl through the lower part of the web and how they could lift others through the top section. The game took some time and as it went on the teens found that they had to work together to get through to the other side.