The morning is quiet, Plaza A at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square is filled with sleepy eyes, the aroma of coffee and nerves as our staff welcome the start of the 4th Annual City Skyline Challenge. Volunteers are slowly starting to trickle in. In walks a slender young man with a gentle way to him, Cristobal Castaneda. We assign him a task and he is off, without question or hesitation to join in and help out.
Cristobal has the added unique story of being the recipient of an Outward Bound Pinnacle Scholarship for our 65-day Instructor Development Course. His passion for experiential education, youth and outdoors led him to apply and he was accepted earlier this year.
Volunteers are the glue for this event that requires many hands to pull off. They are also working towards the same goal – to raise scholarship funds for Outward Bound California courses. This year more than $270,000 was raised, which will help to make the courses accessible for groups and individuals like Cristobal – many of whom will be catalysts in their community, amplified by their experiences on course with us.
At the end of the day, Cristobal decided to purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to rappel. Each year, two winners are able to take the challenge just by winning the raffle and coming back the next day!
We pulled the raffle at 1:30 pm on Saturday, August 18th – the winner, can you guess?
It was Cristobal Castaneda. Our team was beside ourselves. He purchased one ticket and won! The young man had been volunteering all day and was able to end the experience rappelling from the roof of the building, lucky break!
Cristobal’s Instructor Development Course went into the field a few days ago, funds raised at City Skyline Challenge send more folks like him on course to grow their leadership skills, unleash their potential, and in this case, give a strong basis for entering the field of outdoor education, setting him up to continue to be a catalyst in his community when he returns home.
Cristobal describes his passions for the outdoors like this:
“Moving forward, I know that my personal mission working for the outdoor industry is to become a better youth leader to teach the next generation about the importance of preserving our parks and break down the barriers that keep them from enjoying them. Through combining the science of restoration with the thrilling experience of backpacking, I hope to help diverse individuals to value stewardship, nature, and equity in the outdoors.”
It’s people like Cristobal, who give back, and stories of luck like this that make the City Skyline Challenge truly spectacular. You never know, it might be you who wins the spot next year!
Check out Cristobal in the yellow!