Adventure Kids Who Inspire Us

As a kid, the most frustrating phrase I ever heard uttered by adults in my life was, “You’re too young.” While yes, there are plenty of things that children should not be doing (paying bills or driving semi-trucks, for instance), I still find that we all sometimes underestimate the capability of children.

Kids have incredible minds, active imaginations and generally upbeat attitudes (probably because they’re not jaded yet from paying bills). With support rather than condescension, they can accomplish so much. Not convinced? Even after Chloe Kim and Red Gerard dominated the 2018 Winter Olympics?! Fine. Here are a few examples of young people doing really incredible things with the help of supportive adults:

Jade Hameister

At the age of 16 in January of 2018, Jade became the youngest person to ever complete a “Polar Hat Trick.” On skis, Jade travelled through the rough terrain of the North Pole, through the Greenland ice caps, and finished at the South Pole. Jade broke numerous records with this trip, in her own words on her Instagram, Jade wrote:

“In arriving at the Pole today (aged approx 16 and 7 months), I now have the privilege of being:

The youngest person to ski coast to South Pole (unsupported and unassisted). The first woman to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole.

The first Australian woman to ski coast to South Pole (unsupported and unassisted). The youngest person to ski to both Poles.

The youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick.

And the honour of being part of the first all-Australian team to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole.”

On the evening of the 10th Jan 2018 (morning of 11th AEST), we finally arrived at Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole after an epic 37 day journey from the Amundsen Coast via a new route through the Transantarctic Mountain Range. In doing so, my 1,300km journey on skis dragging a heavy sled to the frozen ends of the Earth chasing my Polar Hat Trick dream (North Pole, Greenland and South Pole) is now complete. Whilst these adventures were never about breaking records to me, over time I have learnt of the few I have broken along the way. In arriving at the Pole today (aged approx 16 and 7 months), I now have the privilege of being: The youngest person to ski coast to South Pole (unsupported and unassisted). The first woman to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole. The first Australian woman to ski coast to South Pole (unsupported and unassisted). The youngest person to ski to both Poles. The youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick. And the honour of being part of the first all-Australian team to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole. My guide, Eric Philips said this was the toughest trip in terms of weather conditions in his 25 years of polar guiding. The wind and extreme cold was relentless and brutal. So many stories, so many memories. I cannot thank the incredibly fun team I shared this journey with enough and everyone back home for your support. Here’s to a hot shower and some real food! #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #makemeasandwich #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic

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Since Jade’s impressive, record-breaking trek, she has become a public speaker giving talks on young women’s social issues and raising awareness about climate change.  She is also currently working on a book about her journey.

Watch Jade’s TEDx Talk!

Read the National Geographic article about Jade’s journey.

 

Malavath Poorna

Malavath Poorna is the youngest girl to summit Mt. Everest (being only 1 month older than Jordan Romero, the youngest person to summit Everest). Malavath is from a small tribal village in the Telangana, India. In an interview with the BBC, Malavath said, “The aim of my expedition was to inspire young people and students from my kind of background. For a tribal like me, opportunities are very rare and I was looking for one opportunity where I could prove my calibre.”

Malavath’s journey, from becoming selected to train for the trek to reaching the summit, was full of hardships. Poorna was challenged by sexism, ageism, as well as the risks of the trek itself, including a deadly avalanche in which 16 sherpas were killed only a few days after Malavath reached Everest Base Camp. She persisted despite all that she was up against and she became the youngest girl to make it to the top of the world on May 25, 2014.

Since summiting Mt. Everest, Malavath has been in the public eye, encouraging young women to dream bigger. During Malavath’s time at grade school, she saw girls being refused educations or being married off before they could complete their schooling. Malavath is trying to change things for young women all over the world, and in India. Malavath’s journey has also become the subject of a film released in 2017 called, Poorna

To quote Malavath’s Instagram, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Watch Malavath’s TEDx Talk!

Read more about Malavath’s story at GQ India.

 

3. Neva “Chipmunk” Warren

At age 15 in October of 2013, she became the youngest solo thru-hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail. That’s right, SOLO. Neva comes from an adventurous family and was reaching a point in her young life where she had to think about starting college, getting a job, buying a car — overwhelming stuff for anyone! She decided the best way to have time to think about her future would be this journey. Following her route in their camper, her parents met her at crossings every night where they camped and cooked dinner together. Neva only spent one night in the woods alone, after a notoriously difficult mile called “The Notch.” Neva partnered with Hike for Mental Health which she says helped her put her entire journey into perspective. Now Neva talks about her journey on the AT to inspire other young people, but she’s far from done with having adventures. In her life she hopes to complete 12 “Herculean Tasks,” big adventures based on the 12 Labours of Hercules. We can’t wait to read about what she does next.

Watch Neva’s TEDx Talk!

Speaking of the Appalachian Trail, be sure to read about Buddy Backpacker, an unstoppable five – year old thru-hiker that finished the trail with his parents, and got the education of a lifetime!

All of these kids come from different places and backgrounds. They all had a few things in common, besides their obvious bravery and determination, they all had adults who were significant in their lives, and who encouraged them to achieve their dreams. Adults who provided support despite being scared of the risks associated with the journeys the kids wanted to take. None of these kids, as they’ve since grown, have ever expressed regret about their journeys. Most of them talk happily and confidently about the growth they experienced. Now sure, we don’t all need to summit Mt. Everest or create a new route from the North Pole to the South Pole to be great. The point is, kudos to those adults who support kids’ growth (even if it makes them a little nervous). Let’s all try to remember to support their excitement for life and their ability to dream of accomplishing great things…and maybe we can learn a little something from them too!

 

Know of a rad adventure kid? Share their story with us in the comments!

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