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Westward Expansion THE FARTHEST JOURNEY YET On July 11th, Mountain Alliance departed on an incredible adventure of discovery for its fourth consecutive summer. The Rolling Academy is an advanced leadership academy that uses expeditionary learning to promote personal growth and group development. Similar to the previous 3 years, a crew of 10 Watauga High School students was selected to leave their inhibitions aside and bring an open mind as they agree to live on a bus for the next 14 days of their summer. To add to the adventure of the experience, the crew does not know what they are doing or where they are going until they wake up each morning. This year though, they were told one thing: to be ready for a journey of westward expansion!

The crew meets a few times before departure to go over the 7 main themes for the trip, called Guiding Principles.

Gateway to the West The first task the group met seemed a simple one: make it to Wyoming... but with 13 people, one bus and, along the way, a broken alternator, the task proved more difficult. But with an improvised

extra stay in Nebraska, the crew worked everything out and spirits were high. The drive was long, but the many hours gave the students time to get to know each other as more than just classmates. The last night of the drive set the tone for the whole trip. Just miles outside of their destination, The Grand Teton National Park, the crew took a pit stop to look at the stars. Arms linked, staring up at the sky, a shooting star passed overhead... and everyone knew that the journey of a lifetime had begun.

Guiding Principles Community to live in respec harmony with othe tful rs Environmenta l Awareness appreciate, value, and protect the na to tural world Communicatio n - to increase lea rning capacity by being present, reflecting and actively listening Service - to grow in compass ion, understanding, and value for others Cra ftsmanship - to develop se discipline an d a s t a n d a r d lfexcellence of

Leadership - to grow in self confide nce and courage


Teton Times BACKPACKING PAINTBRUSH CANYON The next adventure lay in the backcountry of the Teton Mountains. The crew headed up the trail on Day 4 of the Rolling Academy prepared for a 3 day backpacking trip.


THE CLIMBER’S RANCH FAMILY After coming down from the mountains, the crew headed to the American Alpine Climber’s Ranch in Moose, WY. The Climber’s Ranch is a hostel for anyone who wants to climb, hike, bike, or simply enjoy the mountains. The students were welcomed into the community with ease. They socialized with the other visitors, but also had a greater impact on the ranch helping out in a day of service around the grounds. During the time serving and the down-time around the ranch, the students found themselves connecting with people old and young, from near and far, and with views similar and different to their own. Some students even joined the other visitors for some good ole’ bluegrass singing.

I have learned that through good communication, the willingness to learn new things, and an open mind, a family can be found anywhere. Whether it is in your home eating a family dinner or singing a song with a band consisting of people from all over the wold... a person can always find a family. Environmental awareness and communication were the emphasized principles as the crew made it to the first campsite working as a team. Upon arrival at the site, everyone was surprised to see someone else wearing a Rolling Academy shirt walk up. Señor Joe Quinn from Boone met up with the group to show them a little about mountaineering in the Tetons!

- Olivia Horton, WHS Sophomore

Our Nation’s First Park On the way out of Wyoming, the group took a day to explore America’s first national park. From grizzly bears to geysers, each student saw something new. The day was filled with history and smiles as the students took a dip in crystal clear water to cool off at the end of the day.

This world we live in holds many beautiful wonders that only we can enjoy. But above all things of this world, the greatest thing you can discover is yourself. The more we traveled out west, the more I discovered in myself. Mason Lowrance, WHS Junior

The next day in the backcountry was a push to the top of an area called Paintbrush divide. After a hard hike to the top, the crew was rewarded with spectacular views. After admiring the views, Señor Quinn had a “snow school” with the students teaching them how to traverse over snowy inclines using an ice axe! Physical limits were pushed and comfort zones were expanded as everyone learned something new.

As I gazed in amazement at the incredible geysers launching boiling water from their steaming pipes, I was informed that even the slightest human interference drastically changes the geysers. I believe that I have been altered much like Old Faithful. Each person we welcome into our lives alters us in positive or negative ways. I have been fortunate enough to be forever altered by this leadership academy. Chelsea Bercaw, WHS Senior



Big Sky Country THE CARROLL RANCH A stop in Montana on the 10,000 acres of the Carroll Ranch gave everyone some insight to the life of a cattle rancher. David Henderson, the ranch caretaker, showed the students around and told them about his average day. The students set up their tents to be ready for a day of service in the morning, but most chose to sleep out under the stars for the night. The next day was filled with a mixture of hard work and fun. The students focused on the guiding principle of craftsmanship as they worked to do everything to the best of their ability. After a beautiful day, the group reflected on everything from community service to life dreams before enjoying one more night asleep under the Montana sky.

The sheer vastness of the 10,000 acre ranch in Montana taught me that there is so much more to be discovered in the world, as well as in my self.. there is always something more to learn.

CODY RODEO Everyone slept well listening to the sounds of nature as coyotes howled in the distance and woke up ready for the fast-paced life of the bull fighters at the Cody Wyoming Stampede Rodeo. From washing horses, to cleaning bull shoots, to joking with rodeo clowns, the Rolling Academy crew was in the heart of the rodeo before it even began. The cowboys pointed out the prime seats, and everyone got to enjoy the show. 3 students even represented North Carolina in the rodeo dance competition down in the arena! Kettle corn, cotton candy, and a little taste of the cowboy life was on everyone’s mind that night as the crew gained perspective into yet another new and different lifestyle.

Dan Gryder, WHS Sophomore

Homeward Bound A FEW MORE ADVENTURES As the crew headed back east, they fit in a few last stops along the way. A canoeing adventure along the Missouri River and a night at Ponca State Park mirrored Lewis and Clark’s expedition. A stop at Mount Rushmore led to admiration and thoughts about leaders in history. And when we the hours got long on the bus, everyone had plenty to talk about. One of the students had tripled the number of states she’d been to; several had never gone without their cell phones or ipods for this long; all had grown in ways they never imagined.



Presentations of Learning SHARING OUR STORY Throughout the whole trip, the students are working to create the Rolling Academy Symposium. The symposium is held every year on the evening that the students arrive back in Boone. This is a presentation that both develops the students’ planning and public speaking skills as well as provides an outlet to tell their stories, both as a group and as an individual. Each student writes a personal speech about their experience and helps to create either the trip slideshow or video presentation. This year the crew arrived at the Grandfather Mountain Visitor Center on July 25th to share their story. Family, friends, and past Rolling Academy participants welcomed the crew home and eagerly awaited tales of their adventures. Parents especially listened with open hearts as each student spoke about what they discovered by going west.

We set out on this trip as strangers, not only to each other; but to ourselves. We left thinking that we were just going on a summer vacation... that we would see new sights, meet new people, and learn some things through new experiences. What we didn't realize was how much we would learn about ourselves. Ashlyn Henson, WHS Senior

2010 ROLLING ACADEMY PARTICIPANTS Natalie Deuitch, Olivia Horton, Emily Hinshaw, Cheyenne Underwood, Chelsea Bercaw, Ashlyn Henson, Dan Gryder, Mason Lowrance, Chy Bryant, and Kathryn Wheeler

In Appreciation The Rolling Academy is made possible by the generous donations of our sponsors. Both community businesses and individuals have supported this program. It is thanks to them that this life-changing experience is possible. Thank you.

Mark Gould Becka Saunders

Billy Kennedy

Expedition Staff SHELLY CRANDALL Mountain Alliance Program Coordinator 08-10 Rolling Academy Expedition Staff

JESSE SIMPSON Mountain Alliance Trip Leader 2010 Rolling Academy Expedition Staff

ALLISON HUCKINS Mountain Alliance Trip Leader 2010 Rolling Academy Expedition Staff

Mountain Alliance The Rolling Academy is a program of Mountain Alliance. Mountain Alliance strives to offer programs that grow leaders through service, adventure, and experience. We work closely with Watauga High School and offer the majority of our programming during the academic school year. For more information about getting involved as a participant or supporter, please contact us.


Rolling Academy Newsletter 2010  

Expedition 2010 Westward Journey

Rolling Academy Newsletter 2010  

Expedition 2010 Westward Journey