Emerging Trail Leader Scholarship Recipient


Damian Morando

Compton, California, United States

I'm Latino and a part of the LGBTQ+ community who was born and raised in Compton CA. When I was 18 years of age I checked myself out of high school and asked my mom to register me to a better high school to graduate from. Her response was to "figure it out" after bouncing around from adult school and youth programs. I finally landed at a small adult school in Watts called "YO WATTS" which was part of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC). I later on join LACC where I found out about the Backcountry trial program (BCTP). In my second year at LACC I got accepted to the BCTP in 2004. I completed the program and went back to LACC where one of the staff members took me the reason I didn't get selected the first year, was because of my weight (I'm 5'2 and chunky) I told him the only reason I even stuck with LACC was to do the BCTP and that when someone has a passion for something they go out and accomplish that. I'm still involved with Conservation work and encourage young adults to get out and explore conservation work. It changed my life and maybe even saved me from the streets of Compton.

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401 views • posted 12/02/2022