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Tanzania RPCV Trevor Murphy is director of Save Our Youth, an after-school program in Los Angeles that offers recreational, social, academic and health and fitness activities for 11- to 17-year-olds
1,436057.story?coll=la-tcn-pilot-news, Tanzania RPCV Trevor Murphy is director of Save Our Youth, an after-school program in Los Angeles that offers recreational, social, academic and health and fitness activities for 11- to 17-year-olds
Girls peaking in their prime
* Save Our Youth's director takes nine students on their first hike, where they will scale Mt. Whitney.
Deirdre Newman, Daily Pilot
COSTA MESA — Sixteen-year-old Christina Torres has never been on a hiking trip, but next week she will scale Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.
Guiding her will be Trevor Murphy, director of Save Our Youth, an after-school program that offers recreational, social, academic and health and fitness activities for 11- to 17-year-olds.
Murphy led several hiking trips up Mt. Kilimanjaro when he was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania and teaching at an all-girls school. He felt the African girls were passive and that the culture treated them like second-class citizens. He felt a challenging experience like a hike could invigorate them and give them a stronger sense of self.
When he came to Save Our Youth, he began to sense the same cultural treatment toward Latina girls, which the organization mainly serves. He hopes the Mt. Whitney trips will achieve the same goal the Mt. Kilimanjaro hikes did.
"Along the way, there's lots of hurdles and humps," Murphy said. "The main point is: I don't carry them up the mountain. I encourage them. I train them. But at the end of the day, they look back and realize they did it themselves."
Murphy and nine Save Our Youth girls, who are mostly 14 and 15, will depart Saturday for their six-day trip. Like Christina, most of the girls have never done anything like this, Murphy said.
To prepare for the trip, the girls have been working out and going on hikes at places like Crystal Cove State Park. Christina has been going to the Save Our Youth center three days a week for more than a month and using the treadmill, the Stairmaster and lifting weights.
"I'm excited about [the trip] but also a little nervous," Christina said.
The girls will be hiking 11 miles uphill. To get acclimated to the altitude, the group will spend the first two nights at 8,000 feet, the base of Mt. Whitney. On Monday, they will enter the park and camp at 10,000 feet. The next day, they will trek 2,000 more feet. And Wednesday, they will ascend to the peak, then hike down to their camp, pack it up and descend to the bottom. That night, they will have the luxury of sleeping in a comfy hotel bed and taking a shower, Murphy said.
The girls have been practicing with small backpacks, Murphy said. So carrying their backpacks for the trip, which weigh between 15 and 25 pounds, will be challenging, he added.
Murphy also showed the girls a video of his trips up Kilimanjaro and has been talking to the girls' parents to let them know what the trip will be like.
"[The girls] are getting excited because they don't really realize you're climbing uphill all the time," Murphy said.
Christina said she has already learned some life lessons in preparing for the trip.
"Nothing comes easy," she said. "You have to work if you want to do something."