Del Oro club on a quest for outdoor adventure

Trips run the gamut from snow skiing to sea kayaking, spelunking and camping
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Teens have always liked being outdoors and having adventures. Del Oro High School has a club that offers students both. The Outdoor Adventure Club unites students from all different groups and allows them to experience activities such as camping, backpacking, sea kayaking, spelunking, hiking, rock climbing, snowboarding and cross-country and downhill skiing. Del Oro junior Carlie Beasley, 16, is the club’s president. She said the group meets once a week before school and there are no requirements to join. Carlie rated the camping and sea-kayaking trip the students took to Santa Cruz in fall as one of her favorite outings. Last year, Carlie said, her most challenging trip was a wintertime, 4-day backpacking expedition to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. “I had an injured hip muscle that was very painful. But I kept on going. I found out I was tougher than I thought,” she said. Recently, the club planned another backpacking trip to Glacier Point, but inclement weather turned the trip into a car-camping snow adventure. On March 27, the group will go snowboarding and skiing for the day at a Lake Tahoe resort. Carlie said the club has almost 80 members and her involvement has helped her forge friendships and connect with other students. “The kids are from all different groups on campus, but on these trips we’re like one, big, happy family. No one cares about where you came from. It’s very in-the-moment,” she said. She said student members “are real. You can have a conversation with them. They are genuine and nice and want to have fun.” Carlie said no electronic devices, cell phones, game devices or make-up are allowed on the trips, although she said occasionally a girl will sneak in mascara and use it. “Everyone gives her a hard time,” she said. Del Oro science, math and leadership teacher Greg Kelderman is the club’s adviser. “Mr. Kelderman makes it fun. Without him it wouldn’t be anything,” Carlie said. Kelderman, an avid outdoorsman, said his goal is to help students learn how to safely do things in the outdoors while learning responsibility. He said he relies on the help of additional chaperones on the trips; usually there is one adult per four students. “The club is a place where kids can go and learn to take risks while being supervised. They learn to do things they never thought they could do,” he said. Kelderman said his own outdoor adventures began years ago when he guided local river raft trips. “A lot of things I learned on my own. I also took courses, read books and went on guided trips,” he said. Kelderman said his favorite trip every year is the first backpacking trip. “You have kids who’ve never even car-camped before,” he said. “I do a gear check before trips to ensure they have the proper stuff. But sometimes they pack the wrong food or forget something, like a sleeping pad. I’m ‘live and learn.’ I’m OK if they’re uncomfortable if they learn from it,” Kelderman said. Kelderman said he always takes care of any safety issues and does pack extra tents, jackets, etc., if needed, but said, “It might mean they have to hike back to the car to get it.” He also said that kids are never excluded from trips because they can’t afford it. “I find a way to make it work,” he said. Grant Kelderman, 16, is a Del Oro sophomore, club member and Greg Kelderman’s son. He said having his father on the trips doesn’t bother him. “He doesn’t treat me any differently than any other students and I don’t think of him as my dad out there,” Grant said. Grant said his favorite outings are the snowboarding trips. He said he also really enjoyed snowcamping in Yosemite. “That was my first time snow-camping. It was quiet, not a lot of people,” he said.