#17 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
My name is Wanyi Chen, and I am a senior at Mission High School. I faced a huge challenge when I immigrated to San Francisco. Then I continued to challenge myself by joining Outward Bound. I thought it would be an opportunity for me to try new things and challenge me to be a braver, stronger, and a more outgoing person. I did things that I never got a chance to do in China such as camping, rock climbing, and hiking in the rain. Now, I am preparing to rappel a 23-story building!
Before, I was always timid, I would never think of camping for 14 days in the middle of nowhere with strangers. In China, I lived in a clean, comfortable, and safe apartment. After I joined Outward Bound, my world changed; the Outward Bound staff pulled me out of my comfort zone and took me to trips to the middle of nowhere.
One of my extreme challenges was a 48 hours “solo” where I was all alone. I was sitting under my tent in Lower Indian Lake in the middle of the Sierras by myself holding five crackers and some chocolates. I set up my tent and pulled out all my gear which had been wet for two days. At night, I wrote in my journal and set up my goals for the next five years. In the daytime, I kept pushing away insects, such as ants, bees, and spiders, from my sleeping bag.
The first few hours, I worried about my health and safety. But breathing the fresh oxygen in the Sierras raised my spirits and cleared my thoughts. It was the complete opposite from breathing carbon monoxide in Guangzhou. The trip relaxed the mental stress that had built up after many years. Being in a forest alone made me cherish my family and friends more
After trips in Outward Bound, I felt like changed to be more active in school and my leadership skills improved. Now, I am also a person that cherishes the environment and surroundings.
You can make an expedition possible for a students to have experiences like Wanyi’s by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge!