How did you hear about the Leadership Academy and what inspired you to apply for the program?
I heard about the Leadership Academy through a Facebook link. What inspired my mission to clean up the East Fork was after my good friend passed away. I feel he would have wanted me to do something like this.
What was your project?
East Fork’s Golden Preservation was my project. I wanted to eliminate as much trash on the East Fork as possible and create awareness of what’s going on before it gets any worse.
What’s the best thing you learned?
I learned that people can come from a good cause. People really want to make a difference. Sometimes, all we need is a leader. I was just one of the leaders. I wasn’t able to do this by myself. Group effort was involved. Thanks to Daisy from Trash Free Earth, as well as everybody who came out. You all are the true heroes.
What surprised you about the program or your work on the project?
What surprised me were a few things, including the amount of trash we picked up within two hours (713 pounds!) and the people who woke up early to help out. I’m still thankful for them. Other surprises were the obstacles I had to hurdle over to make my project go off… Those being people dropping out.
Describe what being in the great outdoors means to you.
Being in the great outdoors means more to me than you’ll ever know. I met some of the greatest people in the mountains. I feel people who love the mountains know themselves and have good energy. They are happy go-lucky people, and I like that.
What’s your favorite way to spend your day in the San Gabriel Mountains?
Prospecting, camping, hiking, truck camping, All the above. Need I say more?
What has post-Academy life been like?
Post-Academy life has been great. We are planning more cleanups this year and will be teaming up with Convert-A-Can to create double the awareness. To sum it all up, I’ll put it in a song lyric: “We’ve only just begun.”