By Michael Abeyta

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Fifteen year old Daisy Chavez considers herself an athlete, but this weekend she was in unfamiliar territory.

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“I play basketball and soccer, but I’ve never done rock climbing before,” she told CBS4.

(credit: CBS)

Chavez is a member of the nonprofit Environmental Learning for Kids.

Executive director Loretta Pineda says ELK’s mission is to get students who live in urban areas out into Mother Nature.

“We get our students outdoors they learn all about hiking, fishing, all the different activities that you can do out of doors,” Pineda said.

ELK brought students like Daisy from Montbello to the American Mountaineering Center in Golden on Sunday to try their hand at rock climbing.

Many of them have never experienced outdoor activities even though they live so close to some of the best wilderness areas in the world.

“There’s access problems related to transportation, or them not feeling safe to be outside,” said Pineda.

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She admitted things are much different now than from when she was a kid.

“When I was growing up I remember my parents putting me outside and (saying) don’t come back until supper. But now, it’s a totally different environment for students. Students don’t feel safe,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

By teaching their students how to conquer the outdoors, ELK Hopes they are also teaching them life lessons and instilling them with confidence so they can succeed throughout their lives.

“You have to see yourself to be it,” said Pineda. “If they can climb the wall, they can do it and can climb to be something better. Climb into that board room. Climb into that great job.”

After a tense few minutes, Chavez made it to the top of the climbing wall.

“I think it would have been a dream that I never thought that I could do,” said Chavez.

It was an experience she says she’ll never forget.

“I was scared, but it was a good scared,” Chavez said. “It was like a feeling that made you feel alive.”

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Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.