A stolen truck – jammed with camp gear – won’t stop Long Beach YMCA teens from a great summer

Hanna Guardado is a long-time participant of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach’s Youth Institute program. Her favorite part of the program is getting the opportunity to go on a wilderness retreat for 10 days in Mammoth Lakes.

This year, Guardado and more than 100 other teens from the program were on the verge of missing their annual wilderness retreat.

The YMCA’s truck, jam-packed with camping gear and personal essentials, was stolen last week in the downtown Long Beach area, right before the team was scheduled to head up to make camp.

Although heartbroken because of the situation, the nonprofit’s officials were able to replace the gear and teens will be headed to camp next week to kick off their summer.

For years, the YMCA of Greater Long Beach has sent low-income teens, between the ages of 13 to 17, to a wilderness retreat at Mammoth Lakes as part of their Community Development Youth Institute program. At the retreat, teens unplug from city life and are encouraged to focus on reconnecting with nature, take time for introspection and set goals for themselves, as well as participate in team building activities, officials said.

The YMCA received grants that allow them to offer the retreat to teens for free, officials said. Teens were supposed to go the week of June 14-22.

The trip was postponed after Jonathan Gray, associate executive director of the YMCA’s Community Development branch, and the Y team discovered that the 42-foot long U-Haul, parked in a lot downtown overnight, had been stolen only an hour and a half before they arrived on Friday morning, June 14, Gray said.

“The police responded quickly, and they took a report,” Gray said in an interview on Wednesday, June 19. “The U-Haul was located about five hours later and everything was gone.”

The operations team for YMCA of Greater Long Beach’s Youth Institute Wilderness Retreat packed up their truck with replaced camping gear and essential on Thursday, June 20, after postponing the retreat due to the previous U-Haul being stolen. (Photo by Christina Merino, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

The operations team for YMCA of Greater Long Beach’s Youth Institute Wilderness Retreat packed up their truck with replaced camping gear and essential on Thursday, June 20, after postponing the retreat due to the previous U-Haul being stolen. (Photo by Christina Merino, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

YMCA of Greater Long Beach takes teens to Mammoth Lakes for a Wilderness Retreat each year. This year, the trip was postponed due to the U-Haul with supplies being stolen, but the Y was able to replace camping gear and essential and will be hosting the retreat next week. (Photo courtesy of YMCA of Greater Long Beach)

YMCA of Greater Long Beach takes teens to Mammoth Lakes for a Wilderness Retreat each year. This year, the trip was postponed due to the U-Haul with supplies being stolen, but the Y was able to replace camping gear and essential and will be hosting the retreat next week. (Photo courtesy of YMCA of Greater Long Beach)

of

Expand

It was a disappointing situation but the team pivoted immediately, Gray said. They made the appropriate phone calls, and were able to push back the wilderness retreat a week.

The Y got to work, and were able to replace gear and equipment in just three days, Gray said. The wilderness retreat will be held June 24-28 for 140 teenagers.

“Thanks to the unwavering support from our dedicated partners, donors, and the community, we were able to rebound quickly and minimize the impact on our teen participants,” Monica Wong, director of marketing and communications for the Y, said in a statement.

“We’re immensely grateful for this outpouring of support, as it reaffirms the importance of our mission and commitment to serving the community,” Wong said. “While this incident has been challenging, we remain focused on providing life-changing opportunities for the 140 teens eager to experience the wilderness retreat.”

On Thursday morning, 30 teens and YMCA leaders helped pack a new U-Haul with the new camping gear, such as tents, coolers, sleeping bags, and cooking stoves, and more. Lifting the heavy boxes, teens were still enthusiastic about finally getting on the road to help set up the camp before others arrive next week.

“They’re going to go, double check all the supplies and make sure everything works, set it up, bring it down to the campsite, so we call them the operations team,” Gray said. “The operations team is layered learning. We give the teens opportunities to have more responsibility and learn more about nature and a lot of them love to do it because a lot of them are from disinvested communities and really the only time they get to go camping every year.”

  Dry lightning and gusty winds could increase wildfire dangers in Southern California this weekend

To ensure the ongoing success of programs and maintain the trust of the community, the Y will be implementing additional security measures and safeguards to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, Wong said.

Related Articles

News |


LA Councilmember Tim McOsker elected chair of Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority

News |


Land movement forces Rancho Palos Verdes to prohibit motorcycles and bicycles on main road

News |


Manhattan Beach’s 1st city-sponsored Juneteenth ceremony held at historic Bruce’s Beach Park

News |


Santa Anita officials tout safest year as winter/spring meet ends

News |


With connection repaired, all Voyager instruments now communicating with JPL

“Our dedication to the well-being and personal growth of the youth we serve remains stronger than ever,” Wong added. “Together, we will continue to create positive change and build a brighter future for our community.”

Gray said that he also wanted to thank the community for their concern and their unwavering support of the YMCA as a whole. While the situation may have been a setback, the kids are still going to experience the wilderness retreat, which is the most important part, he said.

“Despite the situation that happened to the U-Haul, Community Development YMCA has replaced and provided us with new equipment for camp, and outdoor clothing,” Guardado said. “I am still excited that we can have a wilderness retreat and start my summer off right in Mammoth Lakes.”

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *