Friday, November 2, 2012

New Mission, New Energy

These past few months we have been talking to anyone and everyone to gather opinions on how to differentiate Wild River Academy from competitive outfitters, women's groups, or adventure companies. Every suggestion helped us chip away at our mission and vision, finally leading to our current business model. Wild River Academy would like to thank the following people for their assistance these past few months:

Lammot DuPont - Wild River Academy's go-to dude
Sunny Pitcher - Potomac Paddlesports
Bob Ratcliffe - National Parks
Roman Ryan - Keros
Alina Imam - Keros
CA, President of Georgetown Day School
Kathy Summers - Stand Up Paddleboard DC
Tom Doi - Calleva Adventures
Kimberley Jutze - Shifting Patterns Consulting
Richard Warren - Lawyer

And many, many more...We couldn't have done it without you.

Here is the new business plan...enjoy! 

Wild River Academy provides 3-day river trips to connect high school girls with young successful women. Trips are 35 miles on the Potomac River, from the boat launch in Brunswick, Md to Calleva, north of Great Falls. The trips run from Friday to Sunday and consist of 12 participants, 6 high school girls and 6 young adults from the ages of 23 to 35, including one trip leader. The adults act as mentors, or 'paddling partners', for the young girls and are also female. Mentors are approved for trips based on their driven attitudes and passion for social change. 

Wild River Academy focuses on middle-class high school girls because, in many ways, they need the most character building. It is easy for girls to rely on money, technology, and other people to do things for them -- they rarely have the opportunity to problem solve out of necessity. Wild River Academy encourages girls to realize their full potential by engaging them in challenging conversations and physical challenges inherent in canoe trips. In a society striving for gender equality, it is necessary for females to realize their full potential at a young age in order to create the next generation of strong, independent women. 

Teenagers begin to pull away from their parents during high school. Unless they have an older sibling or relative, high schoolers do not have the opportunity to build relationships with successful, driven women in their young twenties. Wild River Academy provides an opportunity for these two groups to interact. We believe that young women need strong role models to help them overcome challenges that they do not feel comfortable talking to their parents about. Young adults remember what it is like to be in high school and can share their stories to provide clarity for high school girls during a confusing time in their lives. High School girls need young, relatable, and reliable role models to help them through the challenges present at a crucial time in their development, and young adults entering the business world need to be silly and channel their younger selves. 

The media portrays post-college life as having a respectable job, going to bars, and hanging out with friends. High school girls see this image and try to replicate it at a younger age. As a result, they accelerate their growth into adulthood when they should be relishing in their youth. Youth are drinking and smoking at a younger age because of this false portrayal of young adults. Instead of the media telling high school girls what it is like to be a young adult, which is often inaccurate, Wild River Academy wants young female adults to share their experiences with high schoolers to better prepare them for college and post-college life.

High School girls are focused on getting into the best colleges so they can get a respectable job and income later in life, so that they can afford the lifestyle that they think will make them happy. Wild River Academy encourages young people to change their measure of success from the procurement of income and title to the pursuit of passions and involvement in their community. WRA believes that it is the social responsibility of young privileged people to pursue their passions to create fulfilled societies and diverse economies. Instead of applying for the 'best' colleges, young people should apply to schools that best fit their personality and style of learning so that they can acquire the skills necessary to pursue their passions. 

Who is working with WRA?

Natalie Warren, with the support of a driven community, started Wild River Academy in August 2012. She was one of the first two women, with Ann Raiho, to paddle the 2,000 miles from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, following Eric Sevareid's route from Canoeing With the Cree. Natalie attended YMCA Camp Menogyn as a teenager and believes that wilderness adventures help young females reach their full physical and emotional potential. After a year of presenting on her Hudson Bay Bound adventure, Natalie wanted to provide something tangible for her audiences...hello, Wild River Academy! Natalie loves to dress up as a dog, play music, and manage your hunger level on trail. She has too many finger puppets, if there is such a thing.

About a month ago, Nick Ryan signed on as Co-Founder and Director of Operations. Nick manages finances, sponsorships, and trip planning logistics. He loves SCUBA diving and the BBC show Doctor Who. He is a swell dude and a huge asset to WRA's efforts.

Our social media intern, Annie Heffernan, is rockin' it. See below for confirmation. She manages our Facebook page and Twitter. Annie enjoys gymnastics, duffing, and impromptu dance parties.

Kyle Contrata is the WRA Development Intern. He is currently working on grants and graphic design (t-shirts on the way!). Kyle graduated from AU, loves being creative and playing frisbee.

We roll with Keros a lot...they like road trips, vegetables, and business consulting. So do we.

Don't forget to join our mailing list @, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter

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