Monday, October 24, 2011

Expedition America

I was recently told that an educational program that I hold very near my heart has been canceled. Expedition America (or EA) was a program at Highland High School in Indiana, that took high school students on a summer trip to hike in the mountains (somewhere in the US) for 3 and then spent the next 5 or 6 days visiting historical sites.  I was a chaperon with the founder, Robert Blumenthal, for two years. I had also participated in the same program, but of a different name, Trail Bound, when I was a student at Chesterton High School.

I had originally signed up because I loved history, but I quickly came to love the challenge of backpacking as well.  I also loved the camaraderie of being with my classmates or later, the students. It was/is an incredible form of learning and bounds that the trail/hiking can create between people is like no other. I would not be the person I am today without these experiences in my life.

Rob sent out a letter to EA alumni announce the cancellation and in the letter he beautifully wrote, "I want you to remember always the challenges you overcame and trials you endured along the trail. Always remember that the very best things in life are earned and are never handed to you or are easy. You earned a place on EA by being the very best among your class at HHS; you endured the trail because you fought for every footstep and succeeded there because each of you possesses the tenacity to keep pushing when so many of your peers never would have had the temerity to lace up their boots. I know that you will face hardships in the years to come, but I have also seen every one of you struggle and overcome very surmounting odds. Do not forget this early success. The best is still to come."

EA 2009 - Vermont - The Green Mountains 

Me, of course, in the Green Mountains

Rob and me!! Whale watching off the coast of Boston

I definitely could not have said it better. Rob is truly a role model to me and I know he will only go on to do even bigger and better things, although it is hard to imagine something better than EA.  Thanks Rob, it was a blast. 

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