To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

Growing Up Wild Scholarship Program – Past Winners

2015 Growing Up Wild Scholarship Winner: Callie Little

Callie Little recently graduated from Villanova and has been awarded the scholarship for her continued education at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo in the fall.

“Callie was the inspiration for this scholarship when she came to volunteer with us at the OVLC. She is a hard worker, a fast learner, and an unbelievably friendly young lady. We enjoyed having her in the office,” says Brian Stark, Executive Director.

Callie is bright, capable, caring and kind; a true joy to be around. “This bright young scholar inspired us here at the OVLC to find a way to not only give back to her and help her as she continues into her next adventure, but to inspire future generations to share their time for causes they care about, and to share their love for the outdoors,” says Tania Parker, Director of Advancement.

When Callie was volunteering for the OVLC, she was asked to write about her favorite outdoor experience. Here is an excerpt from her essay that inspired this scholarship:

IMG_2181“Born and raised in the beautiful Ojai Valley, it’s difficult to not appreciate the mountains that surround us. Some of my very first memories include trudging up Pratt trail with my mom and dog. Although my little legs were sore and my lungs hurt from the incline, I still gazed around with wonder at the beautiful trails and foothills I was walking through. Many years later, I still have this experience of awe while trekking up Gridley or looking down at the valley from Horn Canyon. The experience of climbing up a hill or mountain and being able to look down and see the view from what seems like the top of the world is what makes hiking my favorite outdoor activity.

Not only is hiking great exercise, it provides an escape from the developed world and into the mountains and trails of the wild. Rarely are people able to personally appreciate nature nowadays, but hiking through trails and up mountains gives a glimpse into the past of a land that was once run by the natural progression of Earth instead of human development. One of my favorite hiking trails is on the beautiful island of Catalina, which I have been lucky enough to visit numerous times. Catalina is already an island that seems untouched from the mainland world of human expansion and creation, but the hiking trails at Toyon Bay take you up through blossoming mountains full of wildlife and native plants. Trekking up through the valleys and hillsides gives an untouched glimpse at what California must have been like prior to settlement and gives a sense of peace as you reach the top to find the majestic Pacific ocean and the surrounding beauty of the island. The very experience of hiking through undeveloped land and reaching the top to see a sight that can only be described as awesome prompts me to appreciate the land and natural world that so often go overlooked…”

Click here to read Callie’s essay in full »