Nineteen-year-old Gainesville native and Santa Fe student Montana Sewell is at the Young Explorers selection camp in Switzerland trying to achieve a spot on the Environmental Adventure this summer in Africa.
The Young Explorers Programme (YEP) is the brainchild of legendary extreme explorer Mike Horn. The program brings like-minded 15 – 20 year olds together as a team to experience and appreciate, up close and personal, the true beauty of our planet. YEP is open to youngsters from all around the world.
Sewell is attending a 10-day selection camp where the pool of applicants is whittled from an initial 16, down to the final 8 who will be selected for the adventure trip to Africa later this year. The Selection Camp is compulsory for all the 16 potential Young Explorers which were chosen from the applications received.
The Camp is held in Chateau-d’Oex Switzerland at the Mike Horn Expedition Centre, where Sewell is participating in a number of activities to test her abilities, such as survival and first aid, sailing, photography and filming, outdoor equipment use and technology.
YEP has three main goals for each participant:
- TO EXPLORE the world’s unique and most remote places.
- TO LEARN about environmental challenges
- TO ACT by participating in local environmental projects in the regions that are explored, providing immediate step-by-step solutions
If chosen for the African Adventure, Sewell will board the specially-made Pangaea Exploration boat. She will learn first-hand about the ‘ups and downs’, highs and lows’ of our planet along with ways to help save our world with sustainable environmental solutions.
It all started with the hardest button I’ve ever had to click. “Open.” It took me about 45 seconds to open the Email from Mike Horn Headquarters. Luckily, I chose to open the mail alone, because the way I proceeded to celebrate was quite a sight! And it is the heart of my story. When I read the word CONGRATULATIONS I lost control! I was so happy, I let go. I began to do laps around my house with my arms flung in the air, this is not the embarrassing part. (The way I was squawking with joy, like my neighbors parrot, is!) This was not particularly unusual for me, because I’m a quite excitable person in general — but never to this level!
Once the news finally set in, I came back to reality and began my preparations, which is actually much more exciting than it sounds, especially if you love the outdoors as much as I do. I have been riding my bike much more than I ever in hopes that in case we’re asked to ride up there in the Alps, my legs and butt can handle it. Also, I have been running to work on my endurance. Plus, in the past month I have been able to do 20 more push-ups than I was able to in the previous months! Today however was the most exciting thing I have done to prepare for the selection camp. I went rock climbing in a rock gym. It is the biggest rock gym in the entire south east of the United States. Rock climbing is helpful because it tests your mental and physical strengths. Hopefully all of this pays off during the selection camp. Wish me luck! See you there.