I am starting a non-profit called Wild River Academy. By providing experiential learning opportunities in the form of outdoor excursions, I want to provide high school students with the chance to understand their environment, their peers, and themselves. My goal is to expand the audience to include schools in low-income neighborhoods, thus providing equal learning opportunities for teenagers from all social and financial backgrounds.
Wild River Academy will lead seven-day canoe trips for high school students on the Minnesota River. Participants will paddle 110 miles, from Montevideo to New Ulm, stopping en route to interact with environmental organizations, community members, Dakota people, fisherman, farmers, and State Park Rangers. Our staff of three will lead eight trips (each with fourteen students) every summer; these trips, however, get costly when considering food, staffing, and gear. We need funding to jump-start our scholarship program which will sponsor 140 students from low-income neighborhoods to participate in the trips over the next five years, at little to no cost.