Week 1, By: Bridget Rojas

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Hurrah!!! First post of the 4th year of L.A. Rooted!! I’m so glad to be writing the blog again this year. The first week went by like a breeze. Day 1 we talked about pedestrian safety because, “We take safety very seriously.”- Rio. Right before snack time we talked about resilience and using our special talents to help the community.  After exploring a bit around the Vista Hermosa Park, we went to another part of the park and talked about the San Gabriel Mountains and how we need to protect all open green spaces. Next, they gave us plants and we all gave each of our own plants a name, (don’t judge I named mine William), and we were given a project where we had to take a picture with our plants at places where we thought a native garden was needed. At the end of the day we talked about love, respect, and discipline. Which by far was my favorite part.

Day 2 was a blast as well. We had our first biking day and we went up the Court St hill twice, (thanks a lot Rio!!!), and later talked about nature and health. We also had a great lunch from the Wednesday Crew and we had a bit of free time. (Which included a race to the restrooms with a fellow camp-mate named, Jeremaya). A while after that w separated into 2 different groups and made sure everyone had their biking skills in order. Rio taught us comeback students to new bike skills that personally scared the bejeezers out of me called Rock Dodge and Quick Stop. (According to Rio, these skills are usually taught to adults…but i guess you’re going to teach them to us anyways…RIO! Once a savage, always a savage, that’s my Rio. Later on, when we got back to the firehouse, we had two workshops. The first was with Joy where we talked about the exhibit and learned how there are different jobs for everyone working in an exhibition. The second workshop was with Sandra where we learned more about field notes and how you can take samples of things called “rubbings”. Overall it was a great day.

Day 3 was by far my favorite. We biked up and down hills to Rio’s house. The sweat nearly drenching my whole face, biking up those hills was a challenge and I could feel my legs growing new muscles. After packing our bikes in the back of Rio’s house we go to have a seed discussion with Annabelle and we learn from her how herbs can be used for a tea or for steaming. I’d recommend both. Herbs can also be used as an alternative to using prescription or over-the-counter drugs. It’s both great for your body and an amazing feeling. It feels like all the negative energy in you is getting washed out. Later, we had my favorite lunch of the week, quinoa with tomatoes, kale, and cucumber. Alongside it, pinto beans and orange slices. The quinoa salad was just wonderfully delicious, I went for seconds, thirds, and fourths. The coolest part of the day was the cipher we did, which is like a musical/sound mash-up. Then, afterwards we did a little meditation and tasted bougambilia oil and we all had our own little visions or memories while meditating. My vision was first I saw a little green plant growing out of the ground and then it turned into the bougambilia flower and there was a beautiful sunset in the background. Finally we went back to Camp HQ and of course we had the ups and downs of the hill, which made me realize that the hills in Echo Park are a great representation of life. You have your ups and your downs but you gotta get from A to B somehow and in the end its worth it. Walking home from camp, my face was redder than a clown’s nose but, heck I was happy after a great first week of camp.

~By: Bridget Rojas

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