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In August, Thomas Vasconez was one of two HOLA ROPE students who traveled to the wilds of Oregon to participate in a three-week Outward Bound adventure. While Thomas has ventured out of LA before, this was definitely the longest he has been away from home. While in Oregon, he spent one week river rafting and the next two weeks camping. His group hiked an average of 7 miles a day with 50 pounds of gear on their backs. He faced many personal challenges, including jumping from a 30 foot rock face into a river, spelunking through an underground cave with no light but his headlamp, and what he felt was his greatest accomplishment: piloting his raft on the rapids. His group was a challenging one and he often found himself in a position to quietly lead the group out of conflict. This was a life-changing experience for Thomas, returning with enhanced self-confidence and stronger leadership skills. He is grateful to HOLA for giving him this opportunity and who knows, maybe some day Thomas will go back to Outward Bound, not as a camper, but as a group leader.


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