Wilderness Adventures Club (WAC)

"For in the end,

we will conserve

only what we love;

we will love

only what we understand;

and we will understand

only what we have been taught."

                                                         Baba Dioum, Senegalese environmentalist, 1968  


The soul of our club

We share a common vision...

Mr. Dioum's wise observation really sums up how I feel about the Wilderness Adventures Club.  Your Sierra Club-trained adult leaders/advisors--Coach Lamb, Ms. Dorothy Gutierrez, Mr. Dick Schroer, and Mr. Fujiyama--believe that the more we take you into the wilderness, the more confident you'll feel in your outdoor skills, and the more connected you'll feel to the natural world. You'll develop a richer understanding of the importance of precious resources like fertile soil, clean water and undeveloped spaces.  That means it's more likely that you--as a highly educated Bolsa graduate and well-informed, empowered citizen--will cast your vote for politicians who will fight for environmental justice and the well-being of our only blue planet!

Your love for the natural world and our shared respect for our community are the threads of the fabric from which our Wilderness Adventures Club is made.  We care about the environment, and we demonstrate our commitment through hard work.

We're committed to community service...

We work as a team to make it happen...

Giving back to our community is central to our mission.  We perform 4-5 stewardship projects each year.  We've earned the friendship and trust of many park rangers and community leaders over the years!

Members help nurture our WAC Garden that used to be the Horticulture yard.  It's been a challenge to control the weeds, but the mulch that has been generously donated by our school district and the city of Garden Grove has given us an edge on the encroaching weeds.  Right now we're learning how to propagate California natives that attract pollinators like bees and hummingbirds.  We've got a lot growing:  blue-eyed grass; California poppies; coyote bush; matilija poppy; California sunflower; bladderpod; mulefat; and spiny rush.  Most of our plants were donated by the Newport Back Bay Science Center.  Later on, we'll start some vegetables like tomato and carrots.  Some of the edibles we'll dehydrate for our backpacking trips; some we'll donate to local families who have been hard-hit by the current economic recession.

If you want to go quickly,
go alone.
But if you want to go far,
go together.

                                   -African proverb

We're environmentalists..

We understand the interconnectedness of ecosystems...

We understand that the plastic used in beverage bottles often ends up in landfills, or worse yet, in our precious oceans.  We know that plastic really does not break down; it just breaks apart into smaller and smaller fragments, and often gets ingested by marine animals, which end up suffering from malnutrition.  We understand that the raw material used to make this plastic is petroleum; we recognize that using fossil fuels to create plastic for containers that are often treated as disposable is environmentally irresponsible.

... and we're willing to get dirty to do something about it...

Each Friday, right after the 6th period bell rings, our members collect recyclable plastic bottles, aluminum cans and glass bottles, and our Officers weigh each member's contribution.  Members then crush the cans and plastic bottles--this saves a lot of room when we store these--and pack them into the greenhouse until we're ready to cash them in.  This program allows WAC to purchase new gear, like the five new Sierra Designs Sirius backpacking tents we bought in April 2009.

Most of our trips have been organized around stewardship projects. In San Juan Capistrano, we cleaned graffiti off boulders in the San Juan Creek streambed. At Crystal Cove State Park, we cleaned flotsam and jetsam (floating debris washed up on the beach).  At Upper Newport Back Bay, we helped plant over 400 California natives in a habitat restoration project, and in Joshua Tree National Park, we helped restore an archeological site by dismantling visitors' playful but inappropriate "rock art".  In Zion National Park, we removed invasive cheat grass, and planted native rice grass.  On Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park, we built a short trail from scratch in an interpretive garden on one day, and obliterated illegal social trails in the backcountry the next.  In July 2011, we backpacked deep into the Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness and worked on trail improvement.

We like to get dirty!

We're a family...

We've built a club based on trust and cooperation.
We operate as a team because we share a common vision: 

We know that the fate of our shared planet
rests in our collective global decisions and behaviors,
and we know that real change starts with us!

Where we go one, we go all...

The wilderness is our playground

Our day-hikes (day-outings) often include a hike--anywhere between 3 - 6 miles is typical for us.  Once a year we enjoy kayaking on the Upper Newport Bay, and occasionally we plan a mountain biking outing.  We've even gone trout fishing in the high country Big Pine Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada.

Most of our multi-day/overnight trips are centered around backpacking, which means hiking away from cars and roads to make a comfortable wilderness camp, and sleep with only the sound of owls and the mountain wind--in the case of Mr. Bui's snoring, that would mean a HOWLING mountain wind! :)

Who is the Sierra Club?

"The Club is America's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 1.3 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet."

The Sierra Club's Inner City Outings Program pays for our outings!

We continue the tradition of stewardship...

You should know that John Muir, an immigrant from Scotland, founded the Sierra Club as a way of introducing more people to the wonders of our natural world.  Muir fell in love with the woods, and convinced then-President "Teddy" Roosevelt to create Yosemite National Park.

Many of our outings include a stewardship activity to preserve our wildlands for future generations.

John Muir is truly one of our most beloved heros, and we follow in his bootprints whenever we take to the woods.

How do we pay for all this? 

We've had a lot of help in funding these trips from a variety of folks...

Recreational Equipment, Inc (REI) generously granted the Sierra Club Orange County Inner City Outings program (OC ICO) $5,000 in 2008 to help fund outings for our youth.  Please visit their website here.  If you've been on any of our WAC backpack trips, you already know that we recommend REI for your required personal equipment; that REI carries high-quality outdoor gear; and that when your birthday rolls around each year, this is THE PLACE to drag your parents to (with their credit cards!) when they're in a generous mood!  There's an REI in Huntington Beach, on the corner of Beach Blvd. and Edinger, next to Kohl's (this is the REI where Merilyn works; Mer was our founding WAC President in 2005-2006), and an REI in Tustin in the Tustin Marketplace on Jamboree and El Camino Real, just east of the 5 freeway.

Transportation expenses for our WAC outings are generously provided by the Sierra Club's Orange County Inner City Outings (OC ICO) program.  These costs represent upwards of 90% of the expenses for providing these trips.

In fall 2009, our WAC members ratified a motion that our club raise funds through recycling to use to cover our food expenses on our overnight trips.  I'm proud that our club is willing to help offset Sierra Club's expenses! 

Donations can be sent directly to:

The Sierra Club Foundation/Orange County ICO in MEMORIAL of Bruce Boydston
TSCF, 85 Second St., Suite #750, San Francisco, CA  95105

All donations to TSCF are tax-deductible.

Who is Bruce Boydson? 

In 2005, Bruce was the first OC ICO leader to volunteer to organize and lead backcountry trips for WAC (this was in the days before Mr. Bui and Mr. Fujiyama were Certified OC ICO leaders).  Bruce taught us how set up trips, purchase gear and lead with confidence.  We now follow in his footsteps.  Mr. Bui and I mentor our strongest youth leaders through the Sierra Club Leadership Training Program, and six of our BGHS alumni have taken the challenge.  We hope we've made Bruce proud.  He is, and always will be, our friend, mentor and champion.


When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

~ Native American Cree Nation

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of 'stuff' will we do in WAC?

Campus clean-up:  Every Friday, immediately following the period 6 dismissal bell, our members pick up recyclables all over campus, and return these to P-6 where Officers weigh each member's contribution.

Stewardship:  We clean up beaches, remove invasive (non-native) weeds and replace them with native species, clean up graffiti from boulders near roadside areas adjacent to wilderness boundaries.  We're a work-our-butts-off-for-the-planet kind of club!

Community Service:  We grow vegetables for donation to needy families.

Wilderness Adventure:  Our club is a day-hike, backpack, kayak, camp, mountain bike, fish-for-trout, sit-around-the-campfire-and-toast-s'mores kind of club.

Environmentalism:  We collect and recycle bottles and cans that otherwise would end up in landfills, and we use the money to help fund our trips, and buy equipment, like sleeping bags, that you can borrow when we go on trips.

Can I still join WAC?

You bet!  We don't close our membership, so just come to our Friday meetings in P-6 at 2:45 pm, introduce yourself, and we'll get you on our membership roster.  Make sure you bring a plastic bag full of recyclables to weigh!

Here's the 'to-do':

  • Come to our Friday meeting.  Introduce yourself to any of the Officers.  Make sure you speak to our President Jennifer; let her know that you're interested in becoming our newest member, and that you'd like her to assign you a classroom so you can participate in our Recycling Campaign.

  • Help with the Recycling Project.  Every Friday, immediately after period 6 is excused, go pick up recyclables from our green WAC RECYCLES boxes in almost every classroom.  You'll want to bring a large Hefty bag for this (Don't remove the green box from the classroom).

  • Crushing recyclables.  Then, before the meeting starts, help us to crush our recyclables.

  • Meeting every Friday.  Hang out for our meeting after school.  We'll announce trips, BBQs, games, etc, so don't miss the meetings!

  • Final yard clean-up.  Make sure you help us to clean up the area afterward; there are always a lot of bottle caps, labels, and other trash to pick up.  Belonging to WAC means having respect for the Horticulture yard...this yard belongs to all of us, and I expect you to have as much respect for it as you would for any wildlands area we visit!

  • WAC T-shirt:  Before the meeting starts, ask any Officer, or Mr. Fujiyama, about purchasing a get dirty WAC T-shirt.

That's it!  Once you pick up your first collection of recyclables, you'll be an official WAC member!  Welcome to the WAC family!

Does it cost anything to be a member?

In the fall, WAC members can buy a get dirty WAC T-shirt, but it's not a requirement to belong to the club.  We do not charge any fees for belonging to WAC or participating in any of our events.

Once I'm a member, how do I sign up for trips?

Some trips will have more criteria; others less.  Here's an example of the criteria:

  • You'll have collected $20 worth of recycling.

  • You'll have worked a total of 12 hours combined:  Shed work, Garden work, etc.

  • You'll have attended our meetings, and been an active participant.

Your WAC service (recycling; gardening; fundraising events participation; campus clean-up) is recorded on index cards; we call these your 'service cards'.  Don't lose this; the Officers and Advisors DO NOT keep a record, so if you lose your card, your service record is likewise lost.

If there are more students who want to go on a trip than the number of available seats, priority is always given to students with more service credits (the more active you've been in WAC, the more credits you've earned).

If two students have the same service record, then priority will be given to the student who has turned in his/her permission slip first.

What kind of clothing and equipment do I need?

If you don't already own most of what you'll need, WAC has a lot of gear to loan you (specialized hiking socks, and hiking boots; sleeping bags, tents, etc).  You need non-cotton clothing; those nylon track pants you use as sports warm-ups will work just fine.  Your book bag will work fine for day-trips, as long as it has two shoulder straps.  If you don't already own sunglasses that block UVA and UVB, you'll want to shop for these.

I will give you very detailed instructions about what kinds of equipment you'll need for each trip.  Here's a summary of what you'd need:  personal equipment and clothing

We love Caspers...

and we work hard to protect it!

We backpacked for a week in the backcountry.

Cool, clean mountain streams

And we love the desert, too!

It's amazing how much wilderness
we can enjoy so close to Los Angeles!

Ocean views from a local park

Sometimes our bedroom has no roof!

No, Elaine, this isn't what we mean by 'backpacking'...

One week in the backcountry,
and we really needed the bath!

Tough hike up a desert peak...
the payoff is the glorious sunrise

Training hike...getting ready for a week
in the Sierra Nevada with your home on your back!

Our very first WAC backpack trip!

Spray paint is really hard to remove!

We helped showcase the Sierra Club ICO program.

Creeks are fun to cross!

Here's how we get our recyclables to the recycling center.

This activity attracts a lot of attention!

A week in the backcountry

Some time to splash around!

Cleaning up the kayaks after a fun day on the water

Hiking the slot canyons of Death Valley

Here's a look at our T-shirts!

Regarding safety:  A Note to Parents and Guardians from Mr. Fujiyama:

I consider my #1 job to keep your child safe--in and out of my classroom--and I understand that you may have reservations about letting your child participate on some of our trips.  I respect your concerns.  These outings represent unique learning opportunities, so please study my background information.  Understand that I have a lot of advanced wilderness training and experience, including wilderness first aid, navigation (map and compass), and rock climbing safety certifications.  I've selected a very special team of Sierra Club-trained leaders to make sure your children stay safe, learn a lot of wilderness travel skills, and have fun!  You are welcome to email me davefujiyama@gmail.com or dfujiyama@ggusd.us , visit me in my classroom P-6, or call me at school (714) 663-6424 or on my cell (949) 212-1337, and I'll be happy to speak to you one-on-one about how my leadership team does a great job at keeping our kids safe!

Wisdom gleaned from listening to those who have passed before us, Glacier National Park, Montana:

"Humans were the last beings to be created, and so we are the youngest brothers in all creation.  The traditional (Native American) Kootenai would have this realization in mind as they walked through life, and would carry themselves as one would when walking among elders."

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