Molly Barth has always enjoyed the outdoors and had been car camping many times before her first SCA crew in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado after her junior year of high school. But her 2005 summer crew was like no camping she had done before and grounded in her mind that she loves the outdoors, hiking, and working to protect the environment.
In my interview with her, Molly said several times about the CLC program: “It was a very, very good experience,” and it helped her “gain more of a sense of what I would like to do.”
The seventeen year old from San Francisco joined the Conservation Leadership Corps her junior and senior year of high school, an SCA program in the Bay Area that introduces students to outdoor service and conservation and prepares them for their summer crews by holding camping weekends throughout the spring. CLC members have the added benefit of having their travel expenses paid to their summer crew site. Molly said that CLC helped prepare her for her summer crew by providing a “base to work off of.” CLC taught her the SCA basics of camping, such as doing trail work, identifying and removing invasive species as well as other conservation skills. The best part, though, was meeting people her age with similar interests in the outdoors and the environment.
Her crew last summer went to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where they restored trails and installed erosion prevention structures. The crew hiked into the backcountry six miles the first day and by the end of the summer, they were eight miles in the backcountry and had moved twice. Molly had never back packed before SCA and described the experience of being outdoors for a long period of time with few amenities as, “intense.” Her only form of bathing was to jump in the river, but she didn’t mind and quickly got used to this new regimen of hygiene. She “didn’t miss the politics and gossip of the outside world” and enjoyed losing herself in the experience at hand. The best day, in her opinion, was when the crew hiked to the Continental Divide, at 12,000 feet! Molly also enjoyed the people on her crew of eight; especially the two other girls and her crew leaders. She has stayed in touch with her crew leader and the two other girls.
The worst part about the trip for Molly was coming down with a sore throat for a week. She said it was scary not to be able to talk with a doctor right away. Her recovery was swift, though, and even getting sick didn’t affect her overall great experience.
She will be heading off to the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming this summer on her second crew and will be starting as a freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle this fall. Her thinking now is that she will probably be an environmental studies major in college. Yesss! Welcome to the club!