BBBS Adventure Trips

Big Brothers Big Sisters - California Adventure Trips completed its 20th year at the end of 2000. After reviewing my trip files for the past 20 years, I realized how large the Adventure Trip program has grown. Here are some amazing facts about the trips, since it was started in California.

  1. Over 2000 youth have participated in trips by the end of the year 2000.
  2. 52 adult advisors volunteered to go on the trips.
  3. 174 Adventure Trips were organized.
  4. 20 mini Trips were organized.
  5. 92 boating trips were organized.
  6. A total of 286 Adventure Trips were organized.
The Adventure Trips program started in Marion, Ohio in 1974. The idea began a couple years before then, when I took my nephew Karl on a canoe trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in northern Ontario, Canada. After going back on several more canoe trips, I started taking my first little brother. I was inspired with the wilderness and its solitude. I decided to form a small group of little brothers who were on the waiting list to go on a weeklong canoe trip to Canada.

The first Adventure Trip was formed as Adventure Trips for Youth. It was a weeklong trip in Canada in July of 1974. We started with 3 adult advisors, including myself, and 10 boys ages 10-15. We traveled up to 30 miles over 14 lakes with numerous portages. The trips were rugged and the kids pushed hard, traveling, paddling over windy lakes, and carrying heavy canoes and backpacks and gear over portages in two separate trips that were infested with mosquitoes. The trip was a success and was expanded through 1979. Then my wife, Nancy, and I moved to California to pursue a new frontier with my job.

The California Adventure Trips were the formed in 1980, with the first trip beginning on July 13-17, 1980. Oscar Torres, executive director, and Bill Meyer volunteered and became the charted adult advisors. It was a backpacking trip in Yosemite's Hetch Hechy region. We backpacked 25 miles from Cherry Lake to Kibby Lake and back for 5 days. The trips continued for the next 20 years, resulting in the amazing facts listed above. Throughout the years, the trips were expanded to include many of the following wilderness activities.

Backpacking Whitewater Rafting
Beach Camping Canoeing
Horse Backpacking Boating:

Water Skiing,
Knee Boarding,
Wake Boarding

Hiking and Cave Exploring Bike Tours
Mini Day Trips Snow Trips:

Snow Skiing and

Without my devoted volunteers, the trips would not have happened. From the beginning, Oscar Torres and Bill Meyer started the trips and over the past years Ken Lennon, Ed Mahler, Keith Onodera and Ed Ferrero have been loyal volunteers and made the trips a great success.

I want to thank my wife Nancy for putting up with all the time I spent planning, loading the garage with camping gear and food and being gone on 2-7 overnight trips in the wilderness. She too deserves an award for supporting me throughout the years.

In 1998, Dave was honored by the San Francisco Giants baseball team as a "Giant in the Community" for creating and implementing Big Brothers Adventures Trips. He was also recognized by local FOX affiliate - Channel 2 - during two of their broadcasts:

Video Clip - Giant in the Community - Mornings on 2
(for Windows Media Player)
Video Clip - Big Brothers Adventure Trips - Segment Two
(for Windows Media Player)

Video Clip - Giant in the Community - Mornings on 2
(for Apple QuickTime Player)
Video Clip - Big Brothers Adventure Trips - Segment Two
(for Apple QuickTime Player)

"Giant in the Community"
Junior League of San Jose
1998 Silver Bowl winner
"Volunteerism at it's Best"
May 1998
Farewell Dinner
at Florentines
Nathan, Dave, T.J.,
Kelly and Nancy
July 26, 2000
Farewell Dinner
Ed Mahler and Dave
Smokey Mountains
brother Ed and Dave
Whitewater Rafting:
American River
South Fork
10 years
Sinkyone Wilderness
along the north coast
Beach Backpacking:
King Range
California's Lost Coast
Boating Mini Trips:
Water skiing, wakeboarding,
boarding and tubing
Yosemite National Park
Beach Walk:
Point Reyes
National Seashore