Highlights: The "Best Of" The 2016 #SheAdventures Scholarship Applications

We were blown away by the response to our first-ever #SheAdventure scholarship! We received over 1,000 applications, and just as many stories of heart, passion and stoke for the mountains. Our judges had their work cut out for them, and it wasn't easy, says Sarah Hueniken, who will be guiding the one lucky winner on a week-long alpine camp this summer.

Our list of finalists includes outdoor educators who’ve played in the mountains their entire lives and a mother who didn’t get into outdoor sports until after the birth of her third child. The passion, drive and desire for leadership across all the applicants made the judging tough, as each one told a unique and powerful story of finding the value of freedom in the mountains. Congratulations and thank you to all the applicants—we were completely floored by you!

SheAdventures Scholarship Finalists:

Jillian Bukoski

McKenzie Huffman

Mikhaila Redovian

Sonja Rusnak

Danielle Roscher

Lise Beaulieu

Sarah Paul

Kalenna Olynyk

Kristin Gloystein


And a few highlights from their stories:

"I can't think of a time that I have been happier then when I am hanging out in the mountains. I love the exercise it takes to get to beautiful places, the lack of crowds, the quietness, the fresh air, gorgeous views and the wonderful people that explore with you. The chance to spend my weekends away from the stress of cities and life is my motivation to get out and explore. It's impossible to be grumpy in the mountains!"
—Kalenna Olynyk

"I was introduced to mountain sports after I had my third son. I was hungry for something new, something to challenge me outside of my domestic duties."
—Danielle Roscher

"Most people say they live to climb. For me it is the complete opposite. I climb simply to stay alive. At 19 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Without any true medical options I chose an active lifestyle to keep my health in check. Now I run an adaptive rock climbing team comprised of children and adults who need climbing to stay alive. I constantly strive to be a source of inspiration for them during hard times. I would like to gain more experience in the mountains to pair with my experience on rock. I also hope to make lifelong friends in the climbing community and to further my range of climbing knowledge."
—Jillian Bukoski

"Living in the city, it's a bit of work to get out, but it's such a great change from my everyday life. My apartment is next to the L, so sleeping in a tent means a night without the rumble of the train.
But mostly, it's the community I've found through backpacking. My friends love the wilderness, and spending time with them on the trail or around the campfire makes my heart happy."
—Sonja Rusnak

Photos by James Q Martin and Jeremiah Watt.