Two experiential educators will begin a trip of a lifetime in May 2016 when Lisa Pugh and Alyce Kuenzli embark on an extraordinary expedition, canoeing 4,000 miles, source-to-sea, on the Jefferson, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers. Starting in Browers Spring, Montana and ending in the Gulf of Mexico, this is the fourth longest waterway system in the world. Using Adventure Learning models, Alyce and Lisa intend to inspire and teach girls and women to build confidence, through positive risk taking. As educators and Outward Bound Instructors, we have over twenty years of combined experience facilitating this process and want to bring this concept to a larger audience of girls and women, using this expedition as a platform for exploring what confidence is and how you build confidence.
Source of Confidence: Source-To-Sea Expedition
About the Journey
As young girls and teenagers we were told, “just be confident” and felt a sense of failure, as that phrase is easier said than done. We needed role models, to see it and experience it, to even begin to understand it. It was through wilderness travel and extended expeditions that we discovered how to build confidence: through positive risk taking, processing both success and failure, and learning from it. Each experience succeeded in building our confidence; the next risk didn’t seem so intimating and we felt internal inspiration to take on greater challenges. This is the concept we will role model through our expedition. We will reach a large audience through digitally documenting our expedition and uploading it in real time to our educational website. Using the latest technology, we will showcase our successes, failures, triumphs, and challenges on the rivers and the tools we use to persevere, aiming to inspire girls and women to discover their source of confidence.
Lisa and Alyce will be the first two women to canoe the fourth longest waterway system in the world. (At this point only one women has kayaked this river system while two more are set to paddle it this summer as part of a group). A once in a life time expedition.
Check out the Documentary Trailer!
Meet the Team
Both Minnesota natives, Lisa grew up in the Twin Cities suburb of Apple Valley and was drawn to the outdoors from a young age. As a little girl, Lisa viewed Eliza Thornberry as one of the few female role models that she could identify with in the media. Thornberry was doing adventurous and scientific activities, following her passion and living her dream, just being wild. We are lucky now that there are more women out there following their dreams and pursing their passions. We want to be intentional about bringing what we do, in a real way, to girls and to women, to show them how to live their dreams. The times Lisa felt she was thriving was when she would go to her family’s northern Minnesota cabin. There she created scavenger hunts in the surrounding woods, explored the regional park, climbed tress, and spent time in nature. Along with playing sports, these became Lisa’s source of confidence.
Lisa attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where she received a research grant to study Fisheries and Wild Life. She was also on the rowing team, winning several accolades, including the big Ten-Conference tile in 2007 and being named to the all NCAA conference team in 2009. It was through rowing that Lisa discovered her love of being on the water, and spent the next six years splitting her time between conducting research on commercial fishing boats in the Gulf of México and leading wilderness canoeing expeditions in Northern Minnesota.
Alyce grew up in small town Minnesota, an hour west of the Twin Cities. Much of her childhood was spent in the woods, building forts, jumping across the creek, and playing imaginative games of pirates. From these experiences she developed a deep love of the outdoors, which has been a central passion all of her life. At 16, Alyce went on her first canoeing expedition, with YMCA Camp Menogyn, spending 11 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, in northern Minnesota. She was hooked and spent the next three summers going on progressively longer expeditions in Canada, concluding with a 40-day expedition on the Back River. These expeditions built Alyce’s confidence and inspired her to continue exploring all over the world. She spent a college semester in Patagonia with the National Outdoor Leadership School, mountaineering, sea-kayaking, and hiking. After graduating from Beloit College, with a degree in Education and Youth Studies, Alyce became an Outward Bound instructor in Ely, MN. In the fall of 2014 she canoed the Mississippi River source-to-sea, paddling over 2,300 miles in three months, deeply exploring the idea of her source of confidence: long-distance expeditions.