Win a Trip to the Boundary Waters!

Deadline for receipt of entries is 11:59pm on March 15th, 2020.

Kids4BW believes everyone should have equal opportunity to experience and explore the outdoors. Unfortunately, equal access to wild places is not a reality.  Kids4BW is proud to begin doing our part to help bridge this gap. We are partnering with Ely Outfitting Company to host an essay contest to provide a fully funded and outfitted Boundary Waters trip to seven winners who have not yet had the chance to experience the BWCAW.  Kids4BW encourages young people of diverse social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds to apply, regardless of previous outdoor experience.

What you could win:

Seven winners will receive a free, fully outfitted and guided Boundary Waters adventure. The trip will take place June 21-27.  Here’s what’s included:

  • A complete outfitting package from Ely Outfitting Company.  
  • Two experienced Kids4BW guides who will teach you everything you need to know and ensure your first trip is a success. 
  • Flights to and from Minneapolis Minnesota*.
  • Transportation between Minneapolis and Ely before and after trail.
  • Lodging in Ely the nights before and after being on trail.
  • Dinner in Ely before and after going on trail.
  • Altogether a $1500 value!

*Flight costs will be limited to $600 per winner.

What is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area?

The Boundary Waters is 1.1 million acres of pristine lakeland and forests in Northeastern Minnesota that is the largest federally designated wilderness area east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Everglades.  This wilderness designation keeps the Boundary Waters free of permanent structures, motors, limits the number of people allowed at once and has kept the BWCA so clean that in some places you can drink straight out of the lakes!  The Boundary Waters is the most popular wilderness area in the United States with over 200,000 people from around the world traveling here each year.  Over 1000 lakes,  2000 campsites, and 1500 miles of canoe routes are contained within the area.

Essay Prompt:

Why do you want to explore the Boundary Waters, and how would winning this contest break down any barriers potentially preventing you from exploring the wilderness?

Judging Criteria:

A panel of Kids4BW judges will select the contest winner. The winning essay will be selected based on the following criteria:

5% – Spelling, grammar, and overall flow. Essays should not have spelling errors, sloppy grammar, or incomplete/incoherent sentences. (Consider asking an adult, teacher, or trusted friend to look over your essay before submission.)

50% – Originality of idea and content. Essays should be rooted in an original idea that reflects the writer’s personality and ambition. 

25% – Individual voice. Essays should reflect a writer’s personal style and voice. Essays should give the judging panel a sense of who the writer is in a fun to read and well thought out essay.  Write from the heart with open and honest prose.

20% – Tone and thoughtfulness. An essay’s tone and thoughtfulness should reinforce the notion that the writer is responsible enough to embark safely on a wilderness trip.

Contest Rules:

  • You may only enter this contest if you have not previously visited the Boundary Waters.
  • You must be 15-18 years of age at the start of the trip on June 21, 2020.
  • Essays should be between 1000 and 1500 words.
  • Essays must include the entrant’s name, grade in school, phone number, mailing address, and email address.
  • Submit your contact info and essay using our online form. Note that bold, underline, and italics text will be converted to plain text.
  • Deadline for receipt of entries is 11:59pm on February 9th, 2020. Late entries will not be accepted.
  • Winners will be announced no later than February 28th, 2020.
  • Winners must complete a trip waiver before embarking on their adventure.  These will be provided when winners are selected.
  • Limit of one essay per person. All essays must be original work by entrant.
  • All essays become the property of Kids for the Boundary Waters which reserves the right to print, edit and display essays.
  • Any essay entered in this contest cannot be entered in future contests.
  • The determination of the judges is final.
  • Winners must confirm their attendance and sign a waiver by March 8th or their prize will be forfeited and go to the next highest scoring applicant.

Trip Info and Itinerary:

The trip will begin Sunday, June 21st.  That day, participants will travel to Ely, MN and meet the rest of the group and guides for a trip orientation.  During orientation we will teach proper use of gear, how to paddle and steer a canoe, review the trip route, talk about wilderness rules and safety and answer any questions.  After we will provide a group dinner. Lodging for the night will be provided in the bunkhouse of Ely Outfitting Company. Monday morning we will drive to our entry point, put our boats in the water, and set off!  The following five days (four nights) will be spent traveling, exploring, fishing, swimming, sightseeing, and hanging out in the Boundary Waters. We will exit the wilderness Friday afternoon and have one last group dinner.  Lodging for the night will again be in the bunkhouse of Ely Outfitting Company. Saturday morning we will say our goodbyes and part ways.

Safety is Our Top Priority:

The Boundary Waters is a uniquely accessible Wilderness with routing options appropriate for people of all abilities and skill levels.  Kids4BW wants everyone’s first Boundary Waters experience to be a huge success.  We’ll select an appropriate route based on the ability and experience level of the group as well as interests for the trip.  We will do a complete trip orientation to ensure that everyone has the canoeing, portaging, and camping skills necessary for a week on trail.  The group guides will be carrying a satellite communication device with them in case of emergency.  

Trip Guides:

Joseph Goldstein:  Joseph is the founder and president of Kids for the Boundary Waters.  This will be his thirteenth summer traveling in the Boundary Waters and his third year guiding in the Boundary Waters.  He is currently attending Middlebury College in Vermont and plans on majoring in environmental studies.  Joseph is a certified Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) and Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) Technician.

Lily Pearson: Lily first started working with Kids4BW during our November 2018 D.C. fly-in.  She has been traveling in the Boundary Waters for the past fourteen years.  The past four summers she has participated in outdoor leadership training and this past summer she spent as staff at YMCA Camp Du Nord.  She is currently attending St. Olaf college in Northfield, Minnesota and plans to major in Biology with a minor in Science Education.  She is CPR and First Aid certified.