Two years ago, the inaugural Fresh Tracks program brought two cohorts of young leaders to Los Angeles for a cross-cultural leadership journey that culminated a week later in Arctic Alaska. Now Fresh Tracks is holding regional training programs all across the country.
On July 13, Fresh Tracks proudly returned to Southern California for the West Coast Training in Long Beach, a three-day experience that began with an afternoon of outdoor exploration at beautiful Cabrillo Beach.
Against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, more than 45 diverse young leaders representing urban, rural, and tribal communities all over the western United States enjoyed opportunities to bond in the summer sunshine while exploring the natural surroundings with staff from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Outdoor exploration is just one aspect of the Fresh Tracks experience. Another core element is cultural sharing. Later that day, on the campus Cal State Long Beach - home to Fresh Tracks for the weekend - the participants met with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Deborah Sanchez. Judge Sanchez, who is Chumash, O’odham and Raramuri American Indian, spoke about the history of the land where Cal State Long Beach is now located and about the legacy of the indigenous people who lived there, reminding the room that "no matter how you were raised, the memory of your people is in your heart."
The first day of the West Coast Training concluded with a focus on the third pillar of the Fresh Tracks experience - civic engagement. Before adjourning, the participants were invited to share on a white board the changes they would like to see in their community. While the responses were rich and varied, the energy in the room was captured by words from one of the leaders, Omar, who said, "It is amazing to see that there are people out there who just want to do good for people."
Stay tuned for updates on Day Two and Day Three of the West Coast Training! And follow along with #freshtracksaction.