Local teen seeks crowdfunding for Arctic voyage

Josh

My name is Josh Thompson and I’m 15 years old. I was born and raised in Mississippi Mills but I’m always interested in going to new places. I wanted to write an article to tell people about an amazing opportunity I’ve been accepted to take part in. It is called Students on Ice and it is an experiential learning expedition to the Arctic.

A ship called the MV Clipper Adventurer goes to the Arctic once a summer during the peak ice melt, with scientists, artists, and educators on board. Students on Ice was formed 15 years ago to help high school students from around the world get a chance to experience this ship based journey to the far North.

Teens who have already taken part have written that it is truly a life changing experience and that they have learned so much about the environment, the Inuit culture, and the world as a result of the expedition. If you are interested in finding out more about Students On Ice, check out studentsonice.com.

I made my application to Students On Ice in the Winter, which involved answering essay questions about my commitments to volunteerism and the environment and getting 2 letters of reference. I found out that I was accepted in the spring.

I applied for a scholarship with the Schad Foundation, however, they let me know I was a finalist but that I didn’t get the scholarship. I decided to defer my acceptance to the summer of 2016 to give me enough time to raise the required funds.

I have a lot of experience with fundraising from my participation in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer (I played Captain Hook in Peter Pan and I’ll be performing the same role in August at Almonte’s Puppet’s Up festival if you’re interested in checking it out).

You may remember me knocking on your door last year selling Equator coffee or collecting bottles door to door for bottle drives or selling raffle tickets at the grocery and hardware stores to raise money for our group of 6 Almonte High School students to participate in the Fringe Festival through an organization called the American High School Theatre Festival.

I learned that the most successful fundraiser for the Scotland endeavor was getting permission to stand on the bridge for a bucket drive. I’m hoping to receive permission to do this again and maybe some raffles. I know I need to start early and work hard.

The total cost of the Arctic Expedition is $11 500 (travel to the Polar regions is incredibly expensive).

I have saved up $1000 from my job as a ski instructor at Mount Pakenham on weekends last winter. I am working every weekday this summer as a landscaper/gardener in a beautiful waterfront garden at a woman’s home in Almonte and intend to earn another $2000 by September, then I’ll be back to high school and Mount Pakenham, hopefully earning another $500 over the winter. My parents have paid my $1000 deposit.

A friend of my family told me that on-line crowd-funding really works and she helped me set up an account. So far this fund has raised $1220 in 2 weeks which is amazing. This brings my fundraising goal to $5720 over the next 12 months.

If you would like to see who the awesome people are who have donated to my crowd-fund or follow my progress on-line check out www.gofundme.com/yf49heg . If there are any students reading this that are fundraising for an event or cause, I highly recommend this method.

Another thing I have learned , that other students should know, is that the service clubs take a break from their regularly scheduled meetings over the summer. I had mistakenly thought that I should wait until I finished exams to start contacting the Legion, Lions, Civitan, Hub and Rotary. I was able to get in touch over the phone with each one but could only attend the Legion meeting before the clubs started their summer holidays from meetings. I’ll be setting up meetings with the remaining groups in the fall.

One hundred students from around the world get to visit the Arctic each year with Students On Ice. I am incredibly lucky to be able to take part next summer. I also realise that I am extremely fortunate to live in such a supportive community that values young people and their desire to learn about the natural world. I hope to submit another update to the Millstone in the fall.

My Mom’s email address is sarahalmontethompson@gmail.com.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me, she can pass them along to me. I Hope you have enjoyed hearing about my news and I look forward to talking to school groups and anyone else who is interested about everything I will have learned when I get back!