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Group ready to reach its goal--Mounty Whitney peak

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Group ready to reach its goal--Mounty Whitney peak

Postby ERIC » Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:35 pm

Group ready to reach its goal--Mounty Whitney peak

By Alicia Doyle, Correspondent
Ventura County Star
July 13, 2006

A college president, a member of the California Judicial Council and a stay-at-home mom are among a group of women preparing to climb Mount Whitney on a trek led by teenagers.

Through a leadership program called Reach the Top, the team is expected to reap a rewarding life experience, said project director Margie Borjon-Miller of Oxnard. Launched four years ago, the project runs parallel with the school year and ends with a climb in July. While last year's hike involved a group of influential women leading teens, the roles are reversed this year.

"This team includes some very influential and powerful women in our community, and they're being inspired by young women who climbed the mountain last year," said Borjon-Miller, 51, product director for the California Case Management System.

This year's group is much like the last four years in that most of the women have never backpacked or hiked in the Sierra Nevada or local foothills and mountains, she added.

"So, I hope all of the women who have participated have a greater appreciation for the earth and our natural resources and that they keep on hiking," she said. "This is more than just climbing a mountain — it's about realizing how important we are to each other, so I hope the women pay it forward and continue to help others reach new heights."

Mount Whitney climb set for July 23

The team will leave for Mount Whitney July 23. Upon their arrival, they will ride horses for 27 miles to the west side, backpack to base camp, then hike to the summit of the mountain on July 26. The group will then backpack for three days as the members descend to their starting point.

"I hope the women see that it's never too late to set new goals, that aging doesn't mean you can't climb mountains — figuratively and literally," Borjon-Miller said. "I hope they've pushed themselves out of their comfort zones in order to realize how much stronger they can be."

The four young women mentoring the adults are Camarillo resident Arianna Hall-Reinhard, 17, a student at Ventura College; Somis resident Jazmin Ceja, 20, a Moorpark College student; and Camarillo residents Jessica Beatty, 17, and Ashlae Armenta, 17, recent Camarillo High graduates.

The young women will guide Borjon-Miller, a member of the state of California Judicial Council; Melissa Avrea of Camarillo, owner of Aloha Steakhouse; Lydia Ledesma-Reese of Oxnard, former president of Oxnard College; Brenda Maltese of Oxnard, a yoga instructor; Aliza Richman of Ventura, a registered nurse at UCLA Medical Center; Sandra Ramirez of Simi Valley, a teacher at Oaks Christian Academy; Wendy Ropes of Camarillo, a stay-at-home mom; Charnell Smith of Ventura, general manager at Aloha Steakhouse; and Daisy Tatum of Oxnard, principal at Pacific View and Puente high schools.

Preparations take hard work

Ropes, 33, said her biggest challenge in preparing for the climb has been time management — juggling 3- and 4-year-olds, training and her husband.

So far, "I have found strength and determination within and have made some amazing friends," she said. "When I reach the top of Mount Whitney, I will have the confidence to know that I can achieve any goal I set my mind to."

Tatum also believes she will benefit from the physically challenging feat by knowing "that when I take on a task, no matter how big, if I stick with it and train, I can complete the task."

For the young ladies leading the trek, "I hope they realize that the more mature ladies on the climb have had many challenges throughout their lives," Tatum said.

The group — comprised of teenagers to women in their 60s — has been training since February by going on weekend hikes, taking aerobics classes, doing circuit training and going on power walks to Grant Park in Ventura. They also attended a course on altitude acclimation to learn how the body responds and how to prevent altitude sickness on Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 states.

At an elevation of 14,497 feet, the biggest challenge is altitude acclimation, Borjon-Miller said.

"One never knows how the body will respond to altitude until you're there."

Riding horses for nine hours is no easy feat either, she added.

"It's quite painful ¿ and, of course, there's the backpacking. We will be carrying 40 to 45 pounds in altitude."

Some already know the mountain

The young women leading the excursion have climbed the mountain before, so they know what to expect, "but I hope by spending all this time with a group of powerful, independent and successful women, they can visualize a comparable success story in their future."

Ledesma-Reese, 58, hopes the first-hand experience will teach the team what it takes to reach a goal.

"You set a goal, and you need to go deep within yourself to reach it. One needs to set high standards, ethics, follow through, honesty and integrity to accomplish what one has set out to do."
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Postby Ratboy » Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:10 am

Good luck LADIES, :unibrow:
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