Monday, August 29, 2016

Update from the River

We're happy to report that the #NahanniTeam2016 is doing well and is on track with their itinerary.

Here's an update from Reach Beyond coordinator Angus Murray, who has been receiving updates from the river through satellite technology:

"The Nahanni Trip is on schedule. I have been receiving daily SPOT messages from the team confirming their location. Sarah Wiley will post photos once they are back within reach of a cell phone tower."

Angus also shared with quick message from the river, "All is well, river life is grand!"

Thanks for the updates, team!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

#NahanniTeam2016: Instructor Jason Kuruc

Joining Outward Bound Canada executive director Sarah Wiley as an instructor of the #NahanniTeam2016 is Jason Kuruc. Jason has been instructing with Outward Bound in the Rockies for the past several years, and is also working as part of the program team out West as a course director based out of Canmore. Meet Jason below as he shares with us his passion for outdoor adventure.

"I truly believe that Outward Bound transforms people's lives in a positive way!

Outward Bound is so much more than a physical adventure... being immersed in an "Outward Bound experience" has limitless potential in terms of human capacity to learn, grow, and transform. As an OB instructor, I have personally witnessed in others and have experienced for myself how the power of the human spirit can show you how to be your best self and be a positive contribution to society! The programs and courses that Outward Bound offers are life changing and a critical opportunity for participants to reconnect with themselves and the environment they call home.

When I was a teenager, I really wanted to go on an Outward Bound course. When I realized that I could not afford it, I was a bit discouraged. I found other ways to engage in wild adventures and transformative experiences but the desire for an OB experience still lingered. What I didn't know at the time was how OB offers bursaries and scholarships to students who can't outright afford an OB experience! I wish I knew then what I know now. Fast forward 15 years and I find myself working as an instructor and a course director for OB and fulfilling the dream of having meaningful work.

I have a deep passion for wild places, especially river environments, and my favourite thing to do is share that passion! I have been canoeing for over 25 years, guiding or instructing for about 15 years and have guided on the Nahanni for several years. I have also been working with Outward Bound Canada in the Rockies for about 6 years now. As a graduate of the esteemed Thompson Rivers University Adventure Guide Diploma, I have dedicated the majority of my working life to guiding, instructing and sharing adventures. This also kick started my dense list of certifications! To name a few, I am certified through Paddle Canada as an Intermediate Moving Water Canoe Instructor, through Rescue Canada as a Swiftwater Safety Rescue Technician III and I hold a 90 hr wilderness first responder certificate. The North has a special place in my heart and I am thrilled to be going North again and sharing the experience with the wonderful people on this expedition!

Born and raised in the Toronto area, I inevitably migrated out west to pursue post secondary and live out my passions in the river, ocean and mountain environments I now call home. In my spare time, you'll find me whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing or riding my motorcycle! My next big adventure is training to become a certified ACMG Backcountry Ski Guide :) Through all these adventures, I continually learn from everyone around me and of course, mother nature.

I am very excited and humbled to be a part of this year's Reach Beyond Expedition on the Nahanni River and to help support Outward Bound Canada."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

And We're Off!

Here is a picture of the team in front of the twin otter that we will take to fly into Virginia Falls for the start of our expedition. We have sunny skis, a ton of food and good cheer abounds! This will be the last time we can post as we are entering the world of no cell coverage - it is called wilderness. Can't wait! Back in a week!

Sunset on the Mackenzie River

Well, "the gang is all here" and everyone is excited (and a little bit nervous)! Had a wonderful first night together here in Fort Simpson - meeting and greeting - and are all ready to head to Virginia Falls tomorrow morning by twin otter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Packing Food for the Nahanni Expedition!

Nahanni River Expedition staff are getting ready for the participants to arrive tomorrow. The group of 11 students plus 3 staff head down the iconic wilderness river on August 25th. The group has already raised over $50k to support Outward Bound Canada's programs for youth and adults as part of our Reach Beyond fundraising expeditions.

#NahanniTeam2016: Instructor Sarah Wiley

Our #NahanniTeam2016 paddlers will be led by two instructors. The first is certainly no stranger to Outward Bound - she is Sarah Wiley, Executive Director of Outward Bound Canada! Here's what Sarah has to say about herself, her background and the journey ahead:

"I am currently the Executive Director of Outward Bound Canada, a position I have held since June 2010. I got my teaching degree and speciality in Outdoor and Experiential Education in 1989 and began working for Outward Bound Canada as an instructor in 1992. I left Outward Bound in 2004 and moved to Calgary where I worked as Director of Student Life at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School and then moved to Vancouver Island where I was the Deputy Head of School at Shawnigan Lake School.  I have a Masters of Education and an MBA (I love learning!). I have travelled extensively and have climbed mountains in South America, North America, & Africa. I have led five climbs up Mt. Kilimanjaro, four of them with Outward Bound Canada.

My husband and I have an eight-year old son, Hugh, and a dog named Charlie who both keep us quite busy! Though I work in Toronto at OBC’s head office, I am lucky to live in the country, about 90mins northwest of the city. I am really looking forward to spending time on the Nahanni River with what seems to be a fabulous team and am extremely grateful for the fundraising efforts to date. With the funds raised from this expedition, we will be able to increase access to Outward Bound programs for those who will most benefit from them."

Friday, August 19, 2016

#NahanniTeam2016: KC Rogers

One of the most majestic and breathtaking sights along the Nahanni is Virginia Falls.

This iconic natural waterfall has a total drop of 96 m (315 ft), making it about twice the height of Niagara Falls. It consists of a single drop with an average width of 259 m (850 ft). The rock in the centre of the falls is called Mason's Rock, named after Bill Mason, the famous Canadian canoeist, author, and filmmaker.

Our next #NahanniTeam2016 paddler is KC Rogers.

Captivated by paddling in her youth, KC has fond memories of her first Outward Bound trip in Northern Ontario in her late teens. Ever since, she’s hoped to do another, and this summer’s trip down the Nahanni seemed like the perfect opportunity to realize that dream. 

KC is the “CEO” of her home, single-handedly managing a tribe of four kids aged 8, 10, 11 and 13. Summers and weekends are devoted to imparting her love of the wilderness to the kids through adventures on the outer islands of Georgian Bay. 

Her downtime takes the form of singing with Toronto’s Choir!Choir!Choir!, which isn’t a surprise since she sang with the Toronto Children’s Chorus for many years, as her eldest daughter still does. She’s also learning how to play the Ukelele for campfire singalongs.  Count her in for paddling songs this summer!

KC knows how transformative an Outward Bound expedition can be, and is motivated by ensuring someone who might not otherwise be able to benefit should have the opportunity to develop the grit, confidence and competence that comes from being part of a team for days in the wilderness.

Personally she’s also excited to discover the Northwest Territories – a mythical place for many Canadians which few southerners have the opportunity to discover. Her friends, family and supporters can’t wait to hear all about it.