Newsletter submitted by J.U.M.P. (Just Understand My Potential)
Here is what's happening...
Leanne M, a 23 year old who has been a JUMP hiker since 2011, is commencing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) this March. Leanne' s hiking story is one like few others.
For safety reasons, Leanne was not permitted to participate in physical education in high school. In 2011, looking for a way to be active, she participated in her first JUMP hike, a modest day hike within the Blue Hills Reservation (above).
She stuck with it, eventually going out on her own walking the back roads of Harvard with a pack on her back to build up her strength and endurance. In 2019 she graduated from Fitchburg State University and currently works at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch, hiking on her days off. Last October, Leanne rose early, donned her pack, and followed the Crawford Path to the summit of Mt. Washington, solo. (When she texted me the next day, I was overwhelmed with pride while dutifully scolding her for going alone!) It took her ten hours, and since her visual field is quite limited even in full daylight, she wisely took the Cog Railway back down. Quite an accomplishment from a determined young woman.
She continues to push her limits, and has set a goal of thru hiking the AT starting in March 2020. When people hear of her plan, they ask if we think she will make it. Well, we think she already has. What matters to us is that a young woman facing some challenges in her life at an early age has found confidence and a path to success. She learned some outdoor skills, drove herself to a high level of fitness and set goals that many would have seen as unthinkable a few short years ago. We are all rooting for her to achieve her objective and know the outcome will not overshadow the strides she has made.
One thing we have learned over the past two decades is the value of engaging youth in the sometimes tedious, but very necessary, preparation required when setting forth on an outdoor adventure. Hike preparation requires planning and attention to detail. One tool is a staging tarp. These tarps, designed by JUMP staff, will use graphics and imagery to map out the equipment and tools needed by youth to participate in successful hikes. Not only does this instill accountability within JUMPers, it also allows hike leaders to coach rather than direct.
If the above account of one hiker’s transformation resulting from her own persistence and participation in our program moves you, please consider a donation in any amount to support our Staging Tarp Campaign. Through this campaign, we aim to make this organizational tool available for all of our youth. Be on the lookout for more information about this campaign soon!
The number of youth transformed through participation in our programs is up to us. We can’t make them succeed, but together, we can open the door. After that, it’s up to them.
Meet Ladda, a JUMP Volunteer
Ladda Kosaketh has been volunteering for JUMP since 2018 and has worked with youth for over 10 years. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Outdoor Education & Leadership at Sterling College in Vermont. Her focus in outdoor education has been through challenge course facilitation and nature mentoring. Ladda has a variety of experience including guiding for paddling, climbing and caving. She is certified as a Wilderness First Responder through SOLO and has been recruited as an Outdoor Leader by the Appalachian Mountain Club Youth Opportunities Program owing to her leadership skills and attention to detail. Her interests include outdoor living skills, herbal medicine and backpacking.
Calling All Volunteers!
Looking to join this outstanding group of volunteers? Check out opportunities to support JUMP's mission HERE.
J.U.M.P. is 501(c)(3) outdoor adventure nonprofit that introduces young people to the mountains of New England and, in the process, teaches leadership skills, inspiring them to realize their full potential. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!