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Getting Kids Camping With A Free “No Parents” Trip

Teen Essay Contest

by John Shirley

Here on the prairie we often think of wilderness as part of the west. However, there’s a great piece of wilderness just a little to the east as well. Located in the northeast corner of Minnesota, the Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness Area is just shy of 5 hours from Grand Forks and is a great place for teenagers to build confidence and learn self-sufficiency as they camp in remote areas away from electricity, civilization, and in most places a cell signal. This wilderness is a vast patchwork of lakes and streams providing about 1200 miles of canoe routes, through marshes and dense woods, and over 2000 campsites. No motor boats are allowed.

An outfitting company at the edge of the Boundary Waters is hosting an essay contest and will award a fully outfitted parent-free adventure to the winning sophomore, junior, or senior and two or three of his friends. This means this group will be given canoes, camping gear, food, and emergency contact equipment, for a five-night four-day canoe camping adventure in the Boundary Waters.

The contestants need to write a 1000-1500 word essay answering this question: “Why do you want to go on a parent-free BWCA Wilderness canoe-camping adventure with your friends? They need to submit this before the end of the day February 11th at

Jason Zabokrtsky, the founder of Ely Outfitting Company, is hosting this contest to raise awareness for kids exploring the outdoors. He hopes contests like these will get kids interested in outdoor spaces from Theodore Roosevelt National Park to the Boundary Waters and beyond.

Jason has help put lots of Millennials outdoors, but thinks that high school students are not taking advantage of opportunities like this as much as they should. He has helped some kids in this age range go on similar adventures and they loved it.

As technology increases and the virtual world gets better every day, we need to encourage young people to check out the real world and nature around them, and go places where they may even have to wait a few days to upload their pictures and videos to Facebook.