BASS LAKE – Thirty-seven Central Valley students hiked, fished, planted trees and spent nights around a campfire during a weekend camp organized by PG&E’s Latino Employee Resource Group.
The trip began on Friday (April 19), where fifth- and sixth-graders from Fresno and Madera counties boarded a school bus headed to the picturesque Bass Lake, just south of Yosemite National Park.
The Youth Achievement Camp was founded by the Fresno Chapter of PG&E’s Latino Employee Resource Group, one of 10 employee resource groups at the utility. The camp, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, is still running strong because of the ongoing support from PG&E’s employees who give their time and find the money to make it happen.
“We had another successful and memorable camp again this year,” said Veronica Sanchez, camp director and Latino ERG member for eight years.
“Having this camp every year is important to us to make sure we reach out to the students and give them hope about achieving their dreams, regardless of their current struggles,” said Sanchez.
The Latino ERG works with school staff to select students who could best benefit from the camp’s message of a positive lifestyle through education. The students hear from guest speakers designed to motivate them to study hard and pursue their career aspirations.
PG&E’s P.J. Martinez, vice president of asset management, and Al Torres, vice president of customer operations, came out to meet and speak with students at this year’s camp. Each told personal stories about their upbringing and career paths. Last year, PG&E’s Geisha Williams, executive vice president of electric operations, addressed students.
Students also heard from forest ranger Jose Sanchez, listened to a wildlife presentation and were impressed with an electric safety board demonstration from PG&E’s Jim Pacheco.
Most of the children have never been to a camp or experienced things such as fishing or riding in a boat. The weekend’s activities are designed to give the students a greater appreciation for the environment and boost self-confidence.
This year’s attendees were from Mill View Elementary School in Madera and Raisin City School and A.L. Conner Elementary School, both in rural Fresno County.
PG&E Latino ERG members from throughout the service territory volunteered at the weekend camp.
Each student left with a backpack filled with items, including a book about Earth Day.