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YEPs prepare for upcoming Camp

In just a few days 16 youths from all around the world will join the Mike Horn team in Château-d'oex, Switzerland.

They are getting excited and are already sending us their blogs and photos…

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Jule Holland from Germany

Tick. Tick. Tick. Every single second. That’s how the clock in my bedroom is going. 864000 more “ticks” and we will all meet in Chateau d’Oex. That makes 240 hours or 10 days!

But let me start at the beginning. I was just checking my emails during my summer holidays. Being at home for just one day between two journeys, unpacking and repacking my stuff, I was just about to leave. Why were there so many emails of the Mike Horn team? Well, after having read some of them my friend and I had to postpone our trip to Lake Chiemsee… J

At the moment I am working together with Anne, Mario and Michael on a project about an environmental issue in the Everglades. Be curious for our presentation on the Camp! Researching information about the Everglades makes the excitement even bigger: I am actually impressed by the beauty of the landscape, the rivers and the lakes, the ocean and the biodiversity down there!

I am looking forward to the YEP-meeting in Stuttgart on Saturday, where I will meet some of the YEPs!

Last weekend I went on a two-day-mountain hike with my parents for training my endurance for the selection camp.

Since we probably go mountain biking I really need to improve my cycling skills, especially uphill! The problem is that I usually come home late in the evening when it is dark. There was no chance but pushing my mum onto all the hills I could find nearby J

I never believed that I could have made it to the selection camp and I am incredibly happy and pretty excited to what is coming up to us on the camp!


Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Dan Cullum from New Zealand

I am Dan, Young Explorer from New Zealand, and I am absolutely ecstatic about the YEP Selection Camp in 1 week time! It is a surreal feeling, knowing that in only a few days time, I’m going to be transported halfway around the world, to spend 10 days in the Swiss Alps, with some of the most inspiring people I will ever meet. What a blessing!!!

At the moment I am snowed in with university assignments, doing everything I can to finish them early. I spent much of my mid-semester break covering the 2 weeks of class material I will miss, and now that I’ve almost finished the assignments, the excitement of the adventure has arrived, and I’m prepared to make the most and cherish every moment and opportunity.

I have been talking a lot to my fellow YEPs on Facebook – as well as quite a few 6am Skype conversations with my Pangaea Core Project Team. Sharing our ideas and dreams has been so inspirational, and I haven’t even met them yet! This is undoubtedly the thing I am looking forward to most: being in an environment with so many passionate young people, all wanting to make a difference for our planet!

I am ready for the adventure, I am ready for the surprises, I am ready for my perspective to be expanded, I am ready for the experience of a lifetime!

Bring it on!!

Below is a re-enactment of my 6am Skype calls 

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Aya Anholt from Canada

Hello YEP Community,

I’m Aya! I’m 15 years old, and I’m from North Vancouver, Canada!

Friday, August 19th was what I thought would be a typical day. It was still during the summer holidays, so I reluctantly forced myself to get out of bed. After grabbing something to munch on, I checked my email. I then saw an email in my inbox from the Mike Horn Team and I swear my heart skipped a beat. What happened after that was certainly a blur! Dancing around, jumping on the spot, laughing, screaming, you name it!

I have been preparing for the camp ever since I got that email by trail running, doing some intensive hiking, and swimming. However, physical training is not the only thing you do in preparation for the camp. I am to contact media, prepare a presentation to introduce myself and lastly we are split into groups and in those groups we are to come up with a Pangaea Core Act Project.

We received an equipment list a while ago, and I went shopping for few items on the list that I didn’t own already. As I was buying my new hiking shoes and muddy buddies *, the cashier exclaimed “Have fun out there!" and I replied with a huge smile "Oh man, I will!”

Words cannot express how excited I am for this upcoming selection camp! I am counting down the seconds until I leave for Château-d’Oex. How awesome is it that the YEP program allows you to make friends from all over the world, share ideas, learn about all these different cultures and we will unite with a common interest ; We are to protect our natural environment.

* When I was in kindergarten, my teacher called our rain pants, muddy buddies! Those were the days eh?

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Rick Kotze from South Africa


The words jumped out of the screen and kicked me off of my chair into a state of chaotic celebration!
It’s only about 20 seconds later when I realized that I was in a public computer room (and that everyone was staring at me) that I calmed myself down enough to log off of the computer before running out at full speed to spread the good news to all of my friends and family.

It’s an odd feeling when you read an e-mail and know that it’s going to change your life. It’s as though news that big should come accompanied with fire crackers and a marching band or something. But the crackers were going off in my mind, and the band didn’t stop playing for days. Within the first week after the good news, the Young Explorers Program had already changed my life. So much preparation for the application process had finally paid off, and this was only the beginning.

Immediately the pace of my life shifted up a gear:
Exercise – Visa – Shop – Research – Exercise – Media – Academics – Mails – Facebook – YEP – Facebook – Mails – Exercise – REPEAT…
It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Trying to balance third year engineering with YEP proved to be a real challenge, and sleeping became nothing more than an irritation that I wished I could have gone without. It is only when you are busy the whole day that you realize what a waste of time sleeping really is πŸ˜‰

Luckily all my lecturers were really supportive of this great opportunity, and everything is ready for me to head out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. I have thoroughly enjoyed the application as well as the selection process, and cannot wait to meet my fellow YEPs in exactly one week!

Thanks again to the Mike horn Team for choosing me! I won’t let you down!

See you soon!

Happy Days πŸ™‚

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Jeremy Basset from Switzerland

WOW times goes so fast ,it seems it was yesterday that we received the mail telling us we were selected , since this moment tons of things came at the same time in my life , I felt so much happiness to be selected , and at the same time sadness for my friends who weren’t selected, I still remember that day and now I realize there is only one week left until the camp , I am looking forward to get to know all those great persons I’ m going to meet there and that makes me so happy.

I’ m really feeling that my life is taking the good direction, you know since I’ m a teenager I’ve always been worried about my future , I didn’t want an usual life : going to work on a desk, come back home and watch TV until I fall asleep drinking beer has never been a goal in my life… I always need to feel I’m learning something important in what I do; I want to achieve great things. I want to live an intense life, that’s why I love exploration: going to places I’ve never gone and meeting new people gives me a sensation of fulfillment and that’s so great!

Two weeks ago I was at the shop buying the material for the camp. That was the moment I realized that I was going to live this experience for real. Those last weeks I went hiking in the mountains with friends to test my material, and everything is working very well. I also contacted the Medias .The first time I went on the radio it was sooo scary! , the first minute I was so stressed I couldn’t even speak, but then I understood it wasn’t about talking well , it was about telling with my own words my feelings and just being relaxed to be able to spread the Pangaea message , I took a deep breath and everything went well. I feel it’s so useful to contact the Medias for our own future: Now I know that if I do other adventures and projects after Pangaea I will be able to contact journalists that I already know. Pangaea is already opening so many doors in my life and I feel very grateful for it, I’m looking forward to helping all the YEPs to make Pangaea bigger to make a change in this world.

I’m really happy to have the opportunity to be part of this big family!

Enjoy your life πŸ˜‰ Have a good day

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Tiba ABDULWAHID from Irak

Hello everyone!

I’m Tiba from Baghdad, Iraq!

Jumping up and down with joy grinning from ear to ear was my first reaction to the word “Congratulations!“ in the e-mail from Mike Horn team telling us that we got accepted, then I started singing “Start spreading the news I’m leaving today…” _by Sinatra, the song is about New York but it sounded appropriate at the time since I didn't know any songs about Switzerland.

Of course it took me a while to read what the rest of the e-mail said πŸ™‚

Since then word excited doesn’t seem right I’m BEYOND excited!! Only one week away from the camp! So even more excited to meet 16 amazing people from all around the world, can’t wait!

Preparation for the Camp is going pretty well, training extra hard at the gym, did some reading on the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico, Skyping with my group for the project idea, got all the stuff that we need, EXCEPT for the fact that I haven’t got my Visa yet!!! Hopefully I will have it by next week but you can’t help not to stress about such thing!

But I read somewhere that “you really value things when you’re uncertain, at some point, whether you'll have it or not” well, let's just say I fully understand that statement now!

See you in a week!

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP MichaΓ…β€š SUWICZAK from Poland

Many things changed, since I received my email with congratulations and finding out that I am one of sixteen young people from all over the world who are asked to come to Switzerland. Despite the fact I haven’t been at the Selection Camp and Expedition, almost everyday I have been just EXPLORING, LEARNING AND ACTING.

For first two days I was so busy chatting with the rest young explorers, getting to know with them, view their photos, and being stunningly happy, that I forgot about my duties. I realised that it is time to act. My first action was to go to a party with my friends celebrating my participation. Friends are also a kind of media, buzz marketing is very important. πŸ˜‰ I wish that going to the parties was acceptable form of contacting media – it would be so easy and pleasant.;) I made a trip in my town visiting two editorial offices of local newspapers and two radio studios. What’s interesting. Both first and second radio compete with themselves and giving an interview to one of them I wouldn’t get a permission to do it in the second one. That’s a disadvantage of capitalism. πŸ˜‰ I have also sent many emails and made calls to the medias from a whole country.

Preparing for the Camp I had to do a little shopping, buying all necessary things. Every day I have been jogging or cycling, reading a lot and preparing our presentation about the Everglades. While jogging I often think about my participation and it comes to my mind that it can’t be true, that it must be a joke, then I say: “Michal, calm down, it REALLY happens to you.”

Photo caption:  Me while training hard for the Selection Camp

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Ann-Kathrin GEIGER from Germany

Camp Preparations

Today began with the ringing of the alarm at 5.50 AM in the morning. Skype time.

When I made my way to the living room, laptop in hand I almost stumbled over my French guest from the Stuttgart YEP Meeting on Saturday. The next hour I spend researching and discussing to succeed with the project we are preparing for Switzerland. I'm really amazed how well everything works out.

There are a lot of new amazing things I learned during the last weeks, for example everything we read about the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico made me literally fall in love with this region.

One hour later I was on my way to school, meeting my tutor in the hallway. He told me that he still needed to talk to me about the lessons I am going to miss during the camp. After the regular school I met up with him and felt how a huge smile appeared on my face, while I explained what awaits me in Chateau-d'Oex.

When I got the final mail, I was halfway between Kerstena in Greece and Abisko in Sweden. The three weeks in Sweden were the perfect preparation for the hiking part of the camp.

It still takes time to realise that I'm finally going to Switzerland.

Now gets more clear with every day that passes and shortens the time between today and the camp.

The weekend, with all the amazing YEP's at the meeting and two guests at my home was turbulent but it reminded me that I'm really going to be with 15 really excited people from all over the world, that I am going to be part of something fantastic like the Selection Camp and the Pangaea Family!

Thank you all so much for this opportunity!

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Anne McGARVEY from the USA

The hardest part is the first three miles, after that the endorphins kick in and the running is awesome. As I got in better shape during cross-country practice, I knew the harder I pushed myself, the more prepared I would be for the Everglades selection camp, coming up now in five days.

Last Friday, my team and I ran 11.3 miles around the Baltimore-Washington Airport! It has been hard-going for me to get to that point, but with the help of my friends and my coach, it is a piece of cake now. During that run around the airport, my friend and I ran for seven miles without stopping.

Along with this, my days are filled with ab workouts, pushups, field-sprinting, and agility training. On top of this, a new, healthier diet has allowed me to loose some weight. Overall, I’m feeling the best I have felt in my entire life!

Besides all of the training, the Mike Horn Team split all 16 young explorers into four groups. I am working on an environmental project with Jule Holland, Mario Loscher, and Michal Sumiczak. We have been working adamantly to research the Everglades and Gulf of Mexico, and come up with ideas on how to protect the environment of both.

Finally, equipment, which is pretty important, since it is going to be about 25°F colder in Switzerland than in Maryland, USA. This change will be more than welcome! Since I live on the east coast of the USA, Eastern Mountain Sports, REI Outfitters and Under Armor have been my havens for getting gear. When I go into a store, I get so excited, since I know the clothes I get I will be getting are going to be worn doing something I love.

Having only been to Europe once, to Italy and Greece when I was thirteen on a school trip, I cannot wait to arrive in Château-d’Oex! I have wanted to see the Swiss Alps my whole life, and to do things I would not be able to do in Maryland, like outdoor rock-climbing, since where I live there are no mountains. With each passing day, the reality of me traveling to Europe sinks in just a little bit more. The count-down continues now: five days left!

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Livio Oliver KNÖRI from Switzerland

Hello YEP Community

This morning I get up at 6:15. When I looked out the window I saw snow on the mountains. Then I immediately thought of the Selection Camp, will we have snow?

In only 6 days I meet the other 15 YEPs in Chateau d'oex. The Mike Horn Expedition Centre is just 30 minutes away by train, but it feels like I'm travelling to another far away country.

After I found a little bit surprised that it snowed, I had to go to work. The day was very busy, like almost every day, since one of total three employees is on holiday.

Since I received the email with the words “congratulations”, are the days passed like hours, everything has changed. It was so cool and great days.

On the Evening I heard, the weather will be warmer in the coming days, that’s also okay. But perhaps it will snow again up to the Selection Camp πŸ˜‰

See you next Sunday

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Sylvia SCHMUTZ from Switzerland

The newspapers wrote it already: “I had tears in my eyes when I got the invitation to the Selection Camp in Chateaux d´Oex.” But that doesn´t even capture correctly how I felt: I only read “CONGRATULATION” and I felt thrilled already. My eyes couldn´t read further as they were full of tears already. I was shaking. I wanted to know more but I couldn´t read on. The first YEP started talking to me on facebook already before I could even read everything and with shaky hands I tried to answer. See, I didn´t see the news on the first day, as I was still in Asia doing volunteer work and therefore I didn´t have access to internet very often.

This also helped me to introduce Mike Horns project to the locals in Sabah, Malaysia. They were all excited for me, just as my own family too. I started to do loads of sports, even in the hot weather of Malaysia. Before I even came back to Switzerland I organized trips to the mountains: Every weekend until the selection camp was planned.

Now the Selection Camp is nearer than ever: only two days to go! I am looking forward to present our environmental project, do sports until I drop and meet a lot of exciting new people from all around the world!

Image: Climbing for getting myself fit – On the Summit of the little Diamantstock after a nine pitch climb called Sir Elias consisting of 5a routes, with backpacks

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Ravyna JASSANI from Malaysia

Ever since i found out about the Pangaea Young Explorers Program late last year, I had wanted to attend one of the Selection Camps; and a year later, that's exactly what i'm going to be doing!!! I still haven't wrapped my mind around it yet, it really feels like a dream come true!

My training and preparations for the camp has been going really good and keeping in touch and talking with all the 15 other YEPs selected, has kept me very motivated and i'm so excited to meet everyone!! We're going to have such an amazing time in Chateau D'Oex!

The Camp's only a few days away, and it's been really intense for me, juggling all my school work and getting some last minute preparations done as well as holding in my excitement for the camp, but i'm more pumped than ever, and just can't wait to get on that plane to Geneva!

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Lavanya JULANIYA from India

On 24th September 2011, I am going to embark on a journey which will be significant in the times to come. I have been chosen to attend the Mike Horn’s Young Explorers Programme in Switzerland along with 15 young people from across the world. Being a passionate lover of nature, climbing the beautiful Swiss Alps and capturing the beauty of this planet in the eyes of my soul is like a wish which is soon going to be fulfilled.

I feel like a spark which is soon going to illuminate with the experiences and the riches in the coming week.

At this moment, I am busy finalizing my packing for the expedition which kick-starts in four days time and thus, busy finalizing my travel list.

I wish to see this expedition as a life-changing experience, especially at a time when we as young people are willing to absorb and unlearn a lot of things. I am hopeful about returning with a suitcase full of memories.

But being selective as the Indian representative at the Mike Horn’s Young Explorers Programme is of course no easy job. I am overwhelmed and excited about being given this opportunity.

But I also know that this also comes with a lot of responsibility.

Responsibility means being able to learn from the stories of my fellow young explorers and grow with each other, with each passing day at the camp. It means being able to actively contribute and participate in the discussions. It means to be able to unravel the riches of our Mother Earth with my fellow young explorers. It means forming bonds with the Mother Earth and my young explorers for a lifetime.

It means submitting to a cause which is much larger. Not just for a day or month or a year but an entire lifetime.

I am ready. Are you?

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Theresa KAISER from Germany

Hey there,

I'm Theresa a 16 years old girl from Germany and I'm of course very very happy πŸ™‚

I can remember very well the day when I got the mail which says that I'm selected for the Selection Camp! I'm sure that this important day will always stay in memory. This special day changed my life and I know that this mail was just a beginning of a something bigger, something from which I will get amazing experiences, something from which I will learn for my hole life and something that will help me to make a difference in the world.

Since this special day my normal days have changed into well structured days. At the beginning of my preparation phase I had holidays so I always had enough time for researching, working together with my core project group, making sport, contacting the media and working on my presentation, but nearly two weeks ago my school started so my sleeps get shorter and shorter. But I'm so much motivated that I don't mind.

But as it usually is when you working on something for which you are really passionated about something is going wrong. 3 weeks ago I had one of my biggest shocks in my life. I had an accident with my horse during the jumbing lessons and had to go to the hospital. I was so shocked that I couldn't feel anything and just hoped that everything is okay. Lucky me I only got sutured my lip and sprained my left ankle. But this means for 2 week no training. One week ago I started to train again.

I'm very motivated, incredible happy and super super super excited and I can't wait to meet the other 15 young people who also are very passionated about the environment and making a difference in the world.

Greetings from Germany

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Mario LÖSCHER from Austria

Hi, my name is Mario and I live in Innsbruck, Austria.

There are only three days until the camp starts. I have to say it several times a day and I now think that I have realized this fact. Going to the Selection Camp.

After I visited the meeting in Stuttgart and met three other participants of the Selection Camp and all the other Young Explorers and soon to be Young Explorers I got even more excited about the Camp. Further it was really great to see so many people whom we told for the first time about Pangaea at the Mercedes Benz Sternstunden.

Thanks to Michael, who has given us a lot of work to do, the time flew by.

Doing research on the Everglades, doing physical activities, two days of shopping and sometimes sleeping and eating, this is what the last month was like. Furthermore I had tons of work the last few days for our Meeting in Innsbruck which starts tomorrow and ends with my flight to Switzerland.

Today I have packed my luggage after I have bought the last missing parts for our meeting.

I am so amazed to meet all these 15 other Young Explorers and the Mike Horn Team in three days.

Blog written by USA Selection Camp YEP Gregory ANTONO from Canada/Singapore

I still can’t seem to grasp the reality of my countdown almost dropping to zero. At 11.05 tomorrow night, I’ll be leaving Toronto, Canada, for Switzerland! I’ve been counting down to this day for so long now, and now that it’s really about to happen – everything in the past few weeks seems like a blur.

Every single day since I received the incredible news that I made the top 16, my imagination of the upcoming selection camp has been running wild. I’d followed the past expeditions and selection camps for so long, so I have a rough idea of what’s in store for us – but what surprises await us during those 10 days? I am beyond thrilled just thinking about the challenges that we’ll face, but at the same time, I cannot deny that I’m feeling a little nervous. But what’s an adventure without expecting the unexpected, right?

I just need to add the last pieces of clothing or equipment into my bag before I’m all set! (last minute laundry … ) I’ll be flying from Toronto to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Geneva, where I’ll reach approximately at 4.30pm on Sunday. Aya and I, both coming from different parts of Canada, are the last ones touching down that day – everyone else would be arriving earlier!

Everything feels so surreal, but in a couple of days, I’ll finally be meeting some really amazing people. We’ve been in contact through Facebook, email or Skype for so many weeks, but soon we can finally meet in person. πŸ™‚

Next update from me will probably be from Chateau-d’Oex! Till then!

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