When I asked Marquise Usher what his favorite part about CLC was, he answered without hesitation: “The people. There’s just so much camaraderie and we all get along.” His profile, hanging on the CLC students wall in the Oakland SCA office, declares under the question: Is there anything else we should know about you?: “I love this group to death!”
This 16 year old from Oakland just completed his second year with the Bay Area Conservation Leadership Corps. As a second year CLC student Marquise has taken on a leadership role in the program, says Robert Vergara, program coordinator for the National High School Crews and the Bay Area CLC Program. "He is always full of good ideas and willing to take on many responsibilities."
In my interview with Marquise, he said that he feels that he has gained leadership skills, and learned how to take initiative throughout his time with the CLC program. Indeed, Marquise has emerged as a leader among his fellow CLC students.
The program did not come without challenges for Marquise, however. The most challenging (also his answer to the most fun) experience of CLC for Marquise was the ropes course at Westminster Woods last Spring. The ropes course involved walking across a thin log which was precariously balanced (just kidding!), leaned against another tree at a steep angle. Once the log was crossed, the only way down was to jump! (with a harness of course). This was a challenge for many of the students, especially those with fear of heights, but everyone did it and many enjoyed it.
This summer Marquise is packing his bag for a month long crew in Kenai, Alaska. When asked if he feels prepared for his summer crew he answered, again without hesitation, “Definitely.”