Young and Wild Expedition 2013
The Young and Wild Expedition 2013 is a World-Record attempt cycling expedition from Jacksonville, FL to Seattle, Washington via San Diego, California. That is, from Jacksonville to San Diego to Seattle. The ride will take approximately five months to complete, running from Sunday January 6, 2013 through Friday May 24, 2013. Leaders employed by the YP will lead approximately 30(though, technically, there is no limit of attendees) underprivileged, international, and otherwise interested young people along the route specified. The riders’ age range is 18-25, though the YP may make special admittances to those whom it chooses. It will, among other things, (tentatively) be an official attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Largest and Longest Unsupported Cycling Expedition
The ride is meant to teach valuable leadership, business, intellectual, and personal skills. It is meant to carry out the four YP core words—Inspire. Explore. Connect. Celebrate.—in a way that is attractive and uplifting to all those exposed to the expedition. The expedition is meant as a recruitment tool and exercise for potential YP employees. The YP will look to develop the following personal areas in its riders on the expedition.
On the Physical
The YP will actively recruit riders from all socio-economic backgrounds, ages within the age range, religious affiliation, and ethnic backgrounds. The YP will seek a diverse group of riders with the intent of building a multi-national community that comes together to Inspire, learn, and grow with one another. The YP currently has approximately 40 riders showing interest or intent in participating in the expedition from all over the United States, Honduras, United Kingdom, Russia and France.
The YP will employ mentors to ride with the group. They will be college graduates who have experience leading and teaching others; are given to scholarship on some level in their personal lives; and have the necessary physical, mental and emotional abilities to lead the expedition. The YP will also employ a cameraman/media director throughout the ride, and a medic.
Riders will pedal a bicycle from 20 to 120 miles a day, with the average day being approximately 65 miles. Riders will ride, on average, 5 days of every week. In other words, riders will ride about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. They will eat on $5 a day, not including food donated by local charities. The group will learn basic bicycle maintenance, cycling laws, and will push each other to achieve a peak level of fitness. Basic catastrophic insurance will be provided for each rider. Riders will otherwise be responsible for their own medical bills—they are each encouraged to carry their own insurance. The route will be well planned with stops, seminars, community outreach events, tutorials, “Distinguished Citizen” lectures, and a number of other types of events. The specific route will be released to the public in December of 2012.
Dinner will often be supplied through what The YP calls Celebrations–or pot-luck style meals with local community members. Foods like rice, lentils, beans, bread and peanut butter, along with basic fruits will be common foods eaten for lunch and breakfast (along with oatmeal and traditional breakfast foods), when meals are not donated, or during periods of camping. Other options of an equal or lesser financial value will be available to riders at their own discretion. (Or, riders can buy their own things with their own money). Riders will be expected to make every effort to maintain or achieve an appropriate physical fitness level during the ride. On average, each person doubles their caloric intake on such an expedition. It should be assumed that hunger will be a common feeling. Riders should be, or will learn to be capable of operating in a mature, sociable manner under this condition. However, it should also be noted that many organizations or private residence where the ride stops will go above and beyond the average meal.
Riders will camp; stay in community buildings, in homes or on private property. Riders may have access to tents and bikes provided by the YP, along with whatever gear is made accessible to the YP through partnership or sponsorship (water bottles, riding jerseys, etc). Participants may need to bring sleeping bags and other desired outdoor gear. When camping, riders will have their own tent–either their own or one provided by The YP. Not every night will be completely comfortable or completely safe (wild animals, elements etc; riders will likely be safe from other people). Riders should be capable of enduring such inconveniences. The ride will plan to stay at one specific location each night–often in a community center building in the respective town. On other occasions the ride will plan to camp for extended periods of time (e.g. The Grand Canyon National Park; Yosemite National Park). Programs will be initiated during these extended stays in beautiful places, but the riders will largely be on their own during these times for purposes of reflection, thought, and for catching up with their readings (see below).
Other Gear, Miscellaneous
The YP will likely be able to provide subsidies, gear, and other necessary items to those in need of such things. It is also possible that riders would be expected to wear or use any gear, clothing or equipment as mandated by the YP’s sponsors or partners.
Each rider will have (either by their own means, or through the YP): 1 one- or two-man tent, sleeping bag, appropriate cycling gear (shoes, socks, bike shorts, cycling jerseys, helmet, sunglasses, cycling gloves); appropriate athletic and casual clothing, footwear, personal accessories; appropriate personal toiletries; 1 towel; and any other necessary personal items including electronics.
In other words, the day-to-day of the ride will look something like this.
• Everyone wakes up and eats breakfast (often provided by local organization) in the early morning.
• Pack gear back onto bikes and prepare to depart.
• Ride approximately 4 hours–until early afternoon.
• Riders will be responsible to ride in their “Riding Groups” of approximately 5 people so as not to get lost, get left behind with maintenance problems, or get separated by any other means. Riding Groups stop for water, snacks, bathroom breaks, etc, as a team.
• Everyone stops for lunch in the early afternoon.
• After lunch, everyone rides another 2-4 hours to final location for the day. Team prepares for late afternoon activity (activities can be service projects, youth events, reading or reflection periods, teaching from local “Distinguished Citizens” (see below), or any number of other community service or curriculum-based events).
• Teams prepare for dinner.
• In most cases, nothing will be scheduled after dinner in an attempt to encourage riders to explore their surroundings, get to know each other and local residents, and to utilize periods for personal time.
• Individuals will be responsible for setting up and tearing down their camping gear on a daily basis.
• Much of the day will not be incredibly structured, but riders will be expected to participate in community events (often in the late afternoon, evening) and keep up with their readings–aside from keeping up with the cycling, of course.
• There will be times when the group strays from the day to day–during prolonged stationary periods. The ride will take some prolonged amounts of time off in order to rest, engage in larger community development activities, celebrate, explore a certain region, or for any other necessary reason.
On the Intellectual
A college endorsed, humanities- and social science-based curriculum will be strictly followed throughout the expedition. Riders will have access to books via paper (traditional books), audio (though the YP will not endorse riding while listening); as well as some scholarly articles or printouts from book excerpts. It is also possible that riders will have access to e-Readers. Riders will be expected to keep up with the readings (about two books per month).
In collaboration with college professors, The YP has developed 5 core areas of study: Religion, Leadership, Economics/Business, Literature and Rhetoric. The 5 areas will systematically be studied over the course of five months. All areas will be studied for approximately 4 weeks. Riders will also take part in weekly or bi-weekly tutorials or lectures given by “Distinguished Citizens” of communities the group rides through. Local professors, pastors, businessmen, lawyers, etc will give 1-2 lectures over the course of one or two days to students regarding the topics they have been reading about. Riders will turn in hand-written responses to readings and lectures on a basis determined by the YP mentor or group leader. Small group discussions will be promoted throughout the day-to-day, but especially through small group meetings held at least once per week.
It should also be noted that the Rhetoric curriculum will be practiced by appropriate participants in front of local schools, churches and other organizations where the Expedition is otherwise presenting their cause.
In addition to, though not necessarily in relation to, the curriculum, the YP has developed a set of five primary questions that it will encourage riders to seek answers to as they study curriculum and generally experience life throughout the course of the ride. The questions will address areas of life such as: God, intimacy and relationships, life and its meaning, civic duty, truth and its importance, and nature and the animal life around us. These questions are meant to aid in the cross-integration of multiple studies and schools of thought. They are meant to aid in maintaining a large-picture paradigm while studying the more minute details of a subject.
Riders will be responsible for reading or listening to 2-3 books per month, or the equivalent of that in journal articles and excerpts. Riders will work to keep a journal of their responses to the texts they read that they will trade with other riders, present to small groups of people, or turn in to mentors, all with the intention of receiving critical and encouraging feedback.
The goal in providing a structure for the curriculum is to create a community in which intellectual growth is valued, pursued, and achieved (however subjectively). Ideally the curriculum will stimulate consistent thought and conversation among the riders in a way that is challenging yet understanding—in the way that iron sharpens iron.
An YP mentor will be assigned to a small group of riders in order to assure ease in group discussions, written responses, and basic physical tasks (i.e. eating, carrying supplies, preparing camp, etc).
A GED-centered curriculum will also be available for those who could benefit from passing the test. YP Mentors will tutor the curriculum from standard GED Test Books. Eligible GED students will take the GED (for a fee subsidized by the YP) during the course of the ride. The YP will help riders who pass the test in applying and paying for college. We think this is perhaps the most exciting aspect of our curriculum.
Please see information about the specific subjects below.
Each Rider will be expected to work and improve upon their public speaking skills. Certain YP mentors will take part in speaking sessions in order to promote raising public awareness and funds for the project that the YP will be working to accomplish. (The project and its partner are not yet official; it will probably be a project aiding an area near Tegucigalpa, Honduras with local NGO partner Casa De Luz; more details to come). Riders will be expected to give certain parts of YP public speeches as they feel comfortable. And, if necessary, the YP will set up extra speaking opportunities for those experienced students who would like practice presenting talks in public. Everyone will be expected to work on their public speaking through less formal group sessions.
Riders will be expected to take part in fundraising for the YP’s project, if only to learn about how the non-profit sector works. They will be expected to learn about, come up with creative solutions for, and in some cases lead fundraising projects throughout their time on the expedition. That is, the YP will be partnering with various local organizations throughout the ride in order to conduct fundraisers for specific projects. The YP will work with business students who wish to direct these fundraisers. Part of the curriculum will focus on the non-profit sector within the business world. Part of the curriculum will focus on the history of business and economic theory. Riders will be expected to utilize their knowledge in hands-on, proactive ways that reap financial rewards for those peoples the YP is aiming to assist. Business teams will be created in which each person will be expected to operate according to his talents and abilities.
Riders will read a curriculum on leadership. They will have daily opportunities to put those practices and techniques they learn about into practice. Riders will be encouraged to work with the YP staff to initiate community development experiences in which they can lead. In addition to their readings, riders will have access to a very hands-on leadership training experience. They will have the opportunity to participate in: leadership team building activities within the Young and Wild Community; multiple opportunities to work with local youth and young people during fundraisers, seminars, public gathering or events; and they will gain unprecedented access to the difficulty of leadership that is experienced when a situation is difficult (i.e. they are fatigued and hungry and dirty and still need to accomplish a task).
Community Development (in relation to Business and Leadership)
Throughout the ride, mentors of the YP will be facilitating community involvement seminars for different groups of middle and high school youth. Seminars will take participants through an out-door activity (Hiking, Camping, etc) interspersed with up to six sessions inspiring and teaching them to get involved in their communities. They will take 1-2 days to complete. The YP will also, at times, partner with a group of local youth to raise money and awareness for a cause that they support. Riders are expected to, at the very least, participate in many of these community development activities. Riders will gain opportunities to plan, lead, and mentor youth during these times if they are interested and capable of doing so. These will be key times for riders to grow in leadership, rhetoric, and business knowledge and skills.
Each rider will be expected to develop and grow in their faith. The YP does not publicly endorse any specific faith or religion, though its leaders are followers of Christ. Each rider does not need to convert to any kind of religion or ideological school of thought, but each rider must attempt to cement some set of beliefs—and be able to defend their beliefs in a manner rational and respectable. In other words, riders must be respectful to those who believe differently than them, be open to learning about said beliefs, and be ardently seeking to learn more about the validity of their own ideas and beliefs: Riders must be searching for Truth.
Tentatively: Riders will study Romantic, Victorian and Modern poetry, and the philosophical schools of thought behind them. They will also study the existentialist movement.
As briefly mentioned above, the ride is a fundraiser for the GED-curriculum riders who could benefit from scholarships and an impoverished community in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (see the Casa De Luz Report for more details). Thus, the YP will ask that all its participants do participate in the fundraiser. The YP will work with each candidate to establish a minimum amount they need to fundraise in order to join the ride. That being said, the YP will often suggest that a rider raise $4,000 USD.
On the Emotional
Pedaling a bicycle for 8 or more hours a day is difficult. Dealing with people is difficult. Getting caught in the rain, putting up with a cold front that moves in, or dealing with a detour can all be very stressful situations–especially after you’ve already had 3 flat tires that day. And that’s not to mention the person that keeps making annoying comments. Everyone will become upset, feel like quitting, get angry at another rider, or feel like this was the worst decision of their lives. It will be OK. Riders should expect to experience amazing, even life-altering highs, and crushing, extremely frustrating lows–such is the nature of a World-Record-breaking expedition.
Everyone is built with different emotional capabilities. We each have a different capacity to handle certain types of situations. Each rider will be expected to learn to endure the emotional difficulty that comes with pedaling around the United States with a group of people. Situations of conflict will be required to be dealt with via mediation. Each rider must be willing to submit to mediation. The Statement of Rider Policies that every rider signs must be upheld at all times, under any circumstances.
Riders will be expected to learn to communicate with those around them about what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way. This will be encouraged rather than facilitated. That is, instead of forming groups to talk about our emotions, we’ll promote a social atmosphere of openness and emotional tolerance in which an individual who is dis-eased can voice his or her feelings in a safe, calm and reasonable environment. Everyone will be expected to grow emotionally.
The YP is putting this particular expedition on for the mentors leading it, for the riders pedaling it, for the communities the ride goes through, and, tentatively, for the community of Zambrano, Honduras–near Tegucigalpa, the country’s capital. The ride is relatively unique: an expedition of this magnitude that focuses on the complete growth of the participants. It will change the lives of all involved. It will work as a model for the communities it travels through. In fact, the YP hopes it will be a model for all sub-cultures in the western world.
This is what it can look like when you are really living.
The YP will then seek positive community placements for its riders, either as YP employees, assuming that is appropriate, or by default as individuals with incredible experience and potential for doing significant things to aid those most impoverished and least fortunate around them. This ride is, in fact, the next step the YP is taking to change the world.