Sunday, April 29, 2012


Photo by: Richard Juarez

"People who are good at taking risks continually seek out and find meaning in what tests them. They embark on risky activities knowing that what they are doing makes sense to them at a very deep level of their being." -John Graham

Courage, as defined by John Graham, is facing what scares you, including risks that test your spirit as well as your body. In the book Outdoor Leadership, John Graham focuses a whole chapter on courage and shows how having this quality can help you conquer any risk and positively influence your life.

As I finished reading the chapter, I realized that my classmates and I, who chose to stay in Senior Seminar, have courage. We took on a risk. We accepted the challenge to complete a senior project while handling many other important things during our senior year. This risk is scary because of having to sacrifice other things in order to reach your end product and even having the possibility of failing, but we stuck to the project because we find a meaning in what we are doing. Whether it is composing music or guiding young women, we are doing it because it is our passion.

As I realized this, I remembered the whole point of this senior project, to find a passion and take a risk by developing a project around your passion, and this is exactly what we have been doing.

It can work Anywhere

Qualities leaders learn in the outdoors don’t have to stay in the outdoors; they can be implemented at work as well. This video called eZine Setting the Tone as an Effective Project Manager by Youtube user IndabaeTraining shows how these different qualities are used in the workforce.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sprint the last 100 m.

Alright, there is roughly a month left till the school year ends. This means that I have less than a month left until I wrap up my project and present my demonstration of mastery. I have a list of what I want to accomplish before I finish my project. First, I want to write about my experience during the Creativity Week trip and post it on my website. Second, I want to see if I can create at least one more video (I still don’t know about what I want to record) and post it on my website. Third, my Senior Seminar teacher, Susan Davis, wants me to create a curriculum of a three day trip in the outdoors and post it on my website as well. Finally, I want to make my website look more attractive, so I guess with these additional add-on’s, my website will look pretty professional. So this is what I want to shoot for before I present to the world my demonstration of mastery.

Photo by Richard Juarez

Saturday, March 31, 2012

What happened?

Image from Google Maps:

From March 5th – March 8th my school had its annual Creativity Week, and as I mention earlier, I was going to help Stephen Vrla and Lee Bryant lead a camping trip. Originally Lee had planned out to camp at Lake Houston, but because the park closes on Tuesdays we weren’t able to camp there. She chose another location, Big Thicket National Preserve, but this also didn’t work out. Lee and Stephen ended up choosing Sam Houston State Park, which is north of Houston, and that’s where we ended up camping at.

Honestly, the camping trip was more of a learning experience for me. I had planned out to teach the students about outdoor leadership, but I feel that I was the one who learned about outdoor leadership. Throughout the trip I was learning about leadership by being in charge, for the first time, of a group of 19 students and giving them instructions. I felt that I had a many mistakes here and there, but I’m glad that I had those mistakes because they uncovered many things that didn’t know. For example, I had to find a way to get the students together and quiet down before a gathering. I didn’t know how to do this at first; I would only ask them quietly to settle down, but towards the end of the trip, I got better at this and began to properly use my authority.

Throughout the trip, I felt like I didn’t pull my own weight because I didn’t do as much things as I wanted to, and Stephen and Lee were helping me out with things I should have already figured out. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything right, but, now that I look back at the trip, I was feeling this way because I was learning.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Trailer

This is a trailer I created for my Senior Project.

I am "The Leader"

Picture by Richard Juarez; PNW 6/9/10 - 7/9/10

While I was reading “Outdoor Leadership” by John Graham, I came over a passage that said that a leader should see him/herself as “The Leader”. It’s all about confidence. Even if the trip completely fails, a good leader should still have self-confidence and manage to keep everything under control.

This caught my attention because as Creativity Week comes closer, I fell as though I’m going to fail the purpose of my project. I feel as though everything is going to go out of control and Stephen and Lee will have to step in and pick up my slack. As I read this passage, I was told that it doesn’t matter if the trip fails; part of being a leader is being able to keep a cool head when everything isn’t going according to plan. Being a leader means that I will have to be confident in my decisions and keep the trip alive if something wrong happens.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Change of Location

Last Friday, I had another meeting with Stephen, Lee, and the students who are going to attend the Creativity Week camping trip, and Lee informed us that there is a possibility that we weren’t going to be able to camp at Lake Houston because the park is closed on Tuesday. She said we can work around this, but we won’t be able to camp at the park for two days as we planned.

After the meeting, Stephen, Lee, and I looked up different parks, and agreed that we would research different park over the weekend so we can find another location. Stephen informed me on Tuesday that Lee found another location called Big Thicket National Preserve. Stephen said that both him and Lee liked the area, and I agreed with them as well after I looked it up.

So now we are not camping at Lake Houston anymore, we are heading out to Big Thicket National Preserve this coming Monday. Here is a picture of where Big Thicket is located.

Image is from Google Maps.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who’s on board?

So far I’ve heard from two people whom are willing to be on my panel. One of them is Stephen Vrla and the other is Rob Christy. Stephen had already told me he will help me out, but this is just a formal “Yes”. I’ve been planning the trip with Stephen, and so far everything is going smoothly.

I haven’t talked about my project with Rob Christy, but I will email him and explain where I’m at with my project. I will also meet him in person during our school’s Gala which is on February 23rd. I will be sitting at his table, so I hope we can get to know each other and talk about my project as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Dream Team

The advisory panel for my project will consist of four people; my mentor, one teacher from my school, a board member from my school, and an expert in the field of outdoor leadership. So far I have three members whom are willing to help me out with my project: Robert Vasquez, Stephen Vrla, and Rob Christy. Robert Vasquez is my mentor, Stephen Vrla is a teacher and dorm parent for the middle school boys, and Rob Christy is a board member who expressed interest in helping me with my project. The only person I’m missing is an expert in the field. One of my class mates, Ana Flores, said she knows a member of the Sierra Club and gave me his email, so I could ask if he is willing to be on my panel. I’m almost done completing my panel, and hopefully I can fill in the last spot soon.

The Book is Here!

I ordered a book from Barnes & Nobel called Outdoor Leadership. I recently received the book, and it looks very promising. I think it will be a useful tool for preparing me for the camping trip during Creativity Week. The book consists of teaching different techniques of leadership and how to successfully preform those techniques. The book also teaches the reader other aspects such as how to deal with stress, how to resolve conflict, and how believe in yourself. I feel that this book will be a strong stepping stone on which I can build my camping trip off of.

Here is a link for you to preview the book: Outdoor Leadership

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Trip

So the big question is “What am I going to do?” So far, I have joined a Creativity Week group with two teachers, Stephen Vrla and Lee Bryant. Today we had our first meeting with all of the group members who are going to participate in the trip. There are about twenty students in total, and Stephen, Lee, and I gave them an overview of what we are going to be doing throughout the trip. Stephen is going to teach environmental ethics, and Lee is going to teach art; I’m going to teach the basics of camping and leadership to the students.

The location of the trip will be at Lake Houston. We will spend one night on campus to get everyone comfortable with camping, and spend the next two nights at Lake Houston. On the last day, Thursday, we will come back to campus for the all-school presentation and during this day we will present our Creativity Week project to the whole school.

Currently, everything is working out well. All we need to do is prepare for the trip by gathering the equipment, food, and other things needed for the trip. I still have to prepare my part of the project by creating my agenda and the activities I will make the group participate in, but the preparation is going smoothly. So to answer the question asked above, this is what I’m going to do.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Experts Wanted

I want to ask if there is anyone who is willing to help me out with my project. I don't want to make it seem as though no one is helping me, because I do have people helping me with my project, but it would be nice to have a wider range of people who could help me. It will be great if someone with a better knowledge of outdoor leadership can help me out and give me a better insight on my project.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I'm thinking of asking students at my school what is the most important qualities a leader should have. I want to do this so I can have an idea of what others think about leadership and compare their responses. This will help by being a base on which I can work on.