OC Hiking Club
The Orange County Hiking Club, is a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit which exists to promote physical, mental and emotional wellness through connection with nature. In addition to outdoor recreation for our members, OC Hiking Club nurtures stewardship that protects trails for future generations and provides education, encouragement and nature-empowerment for people of all ages, families and at-risk youth through mentorship and leadership development in the outdoors.  
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A review of OC Hiking Club written by CASA

A Walk on the Beach with the OC Hiking Club

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children

I showed up to the hike not knowing what to expect. Would it be a strenuous day of hills that would leave me sore for days? Would the younger kids on the hike be able to make it the entire way? I arrived at the Crystal Cove State Beach to meet an excited group of hikers from the Orange County Hiking Club. They were ready to lead the way on the hike and to share life experiences with the kids during the trip.

The hike was not a difficult one; I would actually classify it as a stroll on the beach. Each advocate and child walked at their own pace, stopping whenever necessary or pausing simply to take a look at the wildlife living in the tide pools. One of the hiking club members, a marine biologist, gladly shared information and binoculars with the eager to learn kids. It was one child’s first time seeing the ocean! I watched another child teach a newfound friend to skip stones they found on the shore. When the hike ended I heard him whisper to his CASA, “I’ve always wanted to know how to do that!”

Throughout the hike I found that the club members were a diverse group of individuals. Some had climbed Mt. Whitney, a few had traveled all over the world and most had experienced just about every outdoor trail and activity in Orange County. There were also a few first time hikers who had just joined the club. Coming from all walks of life, each of them had inspirational stories to share with our kids. I spoke with some of the hikers about their interest in becoming CASAs themselves which is what drew many of them to come and hike with us.

I left the hike feeling invigorated by the fresh air and the willingness of our community members to come out and share their knowledge of this beautiful place that we call home. The kids made it; in fact, I think they would have gladly done the hike again had they been given the option and each of them left with stories to last a lifetime.

To learn more about the OC Hiking Club check out their website at www.oc-hiking.com.

Kendra Puryear, CASA of Orange County, www.casaoc.org

“Giving a voice, hope and a future to abused and neglected children. “

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