BENEFITING: EAGLES NEST FOUNDATION INCORPORATED
EVENT DATE: Nov 09, 2015
Hey there! Welcome to Northbound for Nesters. My name is Andrew Nelson and, as of September 18th, I am now an official Appalachian Trail thru-hiker of the 2015 season (Woohoo!).
An AT hike has the potential to be a deeply personal, possibly spiritual journey for people. I want both of those, but I also wanted some greater good to come out of the hike when I decided to untertake it. I took about a month off from the AT this summer to lead a youth outdoor trip for teenagers on a 100-mile portion of the AT in Virginia. The trip was conducted through Hante Adventures, a youth outdoor program that is under the umbrella of the non-profit Eagle's Nest Foundation.
As a veteran of Hante Adventures on both the participant and instructor sides, I have witnessed first-hand the power of wilderness immersion and small community development in changing the lives of teens in incredibly positive ways. The pride and confidence that can come from realizing one's own self-sufficiency in challenging contexts is truly something to behold in youth who may otherwise have remained unaware of their abilities. This is the greater good that I would like to come out of my personal hike.
Eagle's Nest Foundation facilitates scholarship for prospective campers and Hante participants who would otherwise be fincancially limited in their abilities to participate. I set a goal for myself to raise enough money to sponsor one Hante participant for the summer of 2016 by the time I reached Katahdin in Maine. Though self-imposed, I have learned firsthand that the experience of a long-distance hiker is riddled with hurdles both literal and figurative, big and small, physical and mental, spiritual and emotional. I knew I could quit at any time. Nobody was keeping my out there. The empowerment grew from learning how to confront whatever was making me uncomfortable, unhappy, miserable, and then coming out the other side more in tune with my own mind and more confident in my own abilities. My hope is that my efforts in moving over the hurdles can inspire you to help somebody else- somebody who will otherwise never have the opportunity- transcend their normal lives to realize their potential when faced with challenges and the option to quit.
Here's where you come in. I'd like to request your monetary contributions to enable this unsuspecting teenager (because they totally don't know what's about to happen in their life). This platform only allows for flat donations, but I'd also like to throw in the idea of "by the mile" contributions where you donate based on individual miles hiked (i.e. $.01/mile would come to $21.89). In hindsight, this option often played a significant role in keeping me going when morale was waning. Just one more mile meant a little bit more in helping me reach my goal.
I want to give thanks in advance to all you great people out there who will work with me to make this happen. I believe in the power of a close, supportive community as well as the power of the woods as a positive influence, so thank you for helping me share these beliefs with others.
You can check out some of my AT highlights on Instagram (@northbound_n_down) if you'd like to get an idea of the kind of experience that you are helping to ensure for someone. It was truly an impactful and life-altering experience for me that was undoubtedly for the better. It was that rare kind of experience that you feel urgently compelled to share with others. Inspiring and helping a teenager to get out and do it is one of the best ways in which I can imagine doing so.
Andrew Nelson, trail-name "Patches"