Scholarship Winners for 2012

Hooray!  The 2012 Kid for the Wild Scholarship has been awarded to:

Tanner WhiteTanner White of Billings, Montana who will attend the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Tanner is an avid hiker, fisherman and has a goal to become an Eagle Scout.  He donates time to a number of different neighbors who need help as well as projects helping young people learn to fly fish, projects for wildlife advocacy and park restoration. Tanner is an active caretaker of the planet and an avid supporter of conservation and nature outreach.  His motivation, energy and love of the natural world are why we are so excited to help Tanner attain his goals.  This experience will help Tanner  make change in the world.

To quote Tanner “I hope to instill a desire in others to expand their horizons by jumping off the pavement and onto a trail less traveled”

Below is an update about Tanner’s experience at Philmont this summer!

I have numerous stories to share but here are a few of my favorites. During our 12 day trek, we learned some important survival skills. One was the lightening position. When you are in the wild and lightening strikes near you, you have to squat and hold your body with your hands on your feet for 30 minutes after every strike, this is to direct the energy through your arms and into the ground. This happened twice on our trip. Once we held the position for an hour and half. The thunder was so loud during one of the storms I could feel the ground shake. Not thinking I put my fingers in my ears to mute the sound, not realizing I was directing the energy straight into my head!

During our first day of the trek, we encountered a bear on the trail. He was not at all scared of us and proceeded to walk right into our camp. Thankfully we had already put all our food in the bear bag and strung it up a tree. If not, there would have been no dinner that night.

Philmont has a plague of a ravenous creatures call the “mini bear”. These are horrible, lunch stealing, pack chewing, ferocious creatures that seemed to be everywhere. They were, of course, only chipmunks, squirrels and ground squirrels. My tent mate left his hydration bladder sitting outside overnight only to find it the next morning with the mouth piece chewed into a million pieces. It would only take a few minutes for them to organize a full scale attach upon our backpacks.

Even for a Montana boy, who is accustomed to majestic mountain view, New Mexico offered breathtaking scenery. Beginning at a base camp of 6600 feet we traveled up to 11,700 feet to some of the most spectacular and interesting mountain ranges I had ever seen. We traversed along the edges of cliffs where one misstep would end in tragedy, down into deep valleys lush green with creeks and animals and spent cool nights under the brilliant starlit Philmont skies.

As we sang in the Philmont hymn “Philmont is the scouting paradise”. I believe it to be true. The old saying goes..”when you drive out of Philmont and look back at Arrowhead Rock, if you can see the arrow you will come back to Philmont someday.” I did look back and I saw the arrow. It was a beautiful sight. I will go back someday.

Thank you so much for the opportunity that this scholarship gave me. I look forward to sharing my presentation with my local boy scout troop, my school and with you.


Tanner White

Emma Balunek  of Chagrin Falls, Ohio who will attend an Alpengirls photojournalism camp in Montana. Fishing and hunting have had a great impact on Emma’s life. These activities give her a strong connection to nature and the outdoors because she has about the behaviors of the different animals.  Her patience and persistence help develop Emma’s connections with the natural world.  Emma has worked on wetlands projects to create, support and maintain that environment.  Her interest in photography, dedication to the natural world and maturity will be important as she becomes a future caretaker for our planet.

To quote Emma, “I can only control my behavior, but I hope that by leading a good example I can influence other people’s behavior and help make the world a better place”.

Just spoke with Emma Balunek, who just returned from her Alpen Girls photo journalism class supported by a Kid for the Wild scholarship. The final comment Emma made was:

 “ I think this scholarship is a really good thing and you should keep doing it every summer.  It really helped me to be able to do this program and I know it would be a good thing for other kids”

Emma’s program was 14 days.  They did white water rafting, rock climbing, canoeing, horseback riding and backpacking.  Riding a horse all day in the mountains was her favorite activity.  Wbhile ackpacking they carried all their own gear and split group gear between them.  They had no back up with a pack horse.

It was a photo journalism class so each day they had a photo challenge. (9 total).  The girls shared a photo from each day and journal entry that described that photo.  They had journal time every day.  At the end of the trip they had a final project.  That was a binder that included their favorite picture from each photo challenge and some of their journal and drawings from each day.

I asked her if anything stood out or if anything happened she didn’t expect.  She said she loved making new friends who enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors and Montana, going in the rivers, cooking together  and other things she enjoyed. She loved that they all got along together and shared so much.  She also really enjoyed the counselors.  For the rest of the summer she will help her parents plant tress like she does each summer.

Nicholas Wade of Big Sky, MT loves the outdoors and nature.  He always gets his hands dirty with a science project or a day in the park.  He attended the “Kid for the Wild” camp last summer and has been a friend and fan of Walkin’ Jim’s since birth.  Nick helped lead younger kids to learn Walkin Jim songs at Camp Big Sky, helped with the Forever Wild prayer flags and mask making projects in preparation for the Web of Life presentation during the Forever Wild 2011 celebration. He is a young leader who has the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of all around him and a positive impact for the planet earth.