Fresh Tracks arrived in New Mexico with a cohort of young leaders from all across the Southwest and Intermountain regions. We’re grateful to be at the gorgeous Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, where our opening program was lit by a magnificent setting sun. For the next two days, against the backdrop of red cliffs and blue skies, we’ll build a community through cultural sharing, leadership development, and outdoor exploration.
Our adventure began in Albuquerque, where Fresh Tracks was greeted by Bob Mosher, Outdoor Programs and Experiences Coordinator for REI in New Mexico. Bob spoke about the importance of empowering everyone to enjoy our public lands, encouraged the participants to learn more about stewardship opportunities in local communities, and passed out water bottles for the Fresh Tracks crew - just the latest gift in a legacy of support from REI.
After dinner in the Ghost Ranch dining hall, Fresh Tracks moved to Chimney Rock for an orientation and icebreaker, capped by the creation of a community contract, signed by all present. The terms of the contract will set the tone for the training: positivity, respect, laughter, generosity, inclusive language, challenge by choice, and open mindedness.
Back inside after sunset, Fresh Tracks co-Founders Juan Martinez and Martin LeBlanc welcomed the group, shared a brief history of the program, and introduced Kristen Ragain, Philanthropy & Community Partnerships Manager at REI, who will be speaking to the participants Saturday. Erik Stegman, the Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute, expressed his excitement to “learn about you and what you can do for your communities.” Finally, Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director of the Children & Nature Network, a lead partner for Fresh Tracks, shared her personal connection to the outdoors and encouraged the participants to “embrace the moment.”
Stay tuned for more updates from beautiful New Mexico!