Young Arctic explorers awarded Polar Academy Medals
A group of 10 young Arctic explorers from Edinburgh were awarded a prestigious Polar Academy Medal last night.
The specially commissioned Polar Academy Medal recognises the courage, determination and teamwork of the pupils from Broughton High School and Fettes College. They were presented to the youngsters by the parent or guardian of each youth and in front of almost 200 special guests in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle.
On April 5, the expedition team returned from a life-changing 10-day and 100km expedition in Eastern Greenland with the charity, The Polar Academy. The medals have a white ribbon, which signifies that the participants have undertaken an expedition on the Arctic ice.
Throughout the expedition, the youths, aged 14 to 17, coped with temperatures as low as -25C, navigated through and camped on sea ice and visited Inuit villages. Each pupil was required to haul their 45kg sled.
For each individual, previously suffering a lack of self-confidence and esteem, it was a life-changing experience that has positively transformed their outlook on life.
Craig Mathieson, the 48 year-old Bo’ness based founder of The Polar Academy and expedition leader, said: “The Polar Academy was set up in 2013 with a vision to inspire youth through exploration.
“The Polar Academy Medal represents the proof that an individual previously affected by a crushing lack of self-confidence and esteem can truly achieve anything with the right mind set.
“These ordinary pupils have achieved the extraordinary by pushing themselves physically and mentally to the limit. They have proven that with grit and determination, self-confidence can be rekindled and dreams achieved. Each is deserving of a rare and coveted Polar Academy Medal.
“The pupils will now share with pupils across Scotland their personal accounts of being part of a journey with The Polar Academy. Brimming with self-confidence, they are ready to inspire others to take that first vital step to positively change their own outlook in life.
“Annually, The Polar Academy must fundraise over £170,000 to operate. I am indebted to Tiso, the outdoor adventure retail specialist, Bergans of Norway, and the many other organisations, individual donors and supporters who contribute so generously to helping give participants a truly life changing experience.”
Pupils on The Polar Academy expedition team include: Arran Goddard, Lena Ascherman, Owen Readman, Anna Ziemons McLean, Findlay Fairley, James Mackman, Harry Letts, Max Roberts, Lara Welch and Iona Wardner.
Arran, from Broughton High School, said: “It’s an amazing feeling to receive this medal. I feel so happy and honoured. I’ll never forget this for the rest of my life. Being part of The Polar Academy has definitely made me feel more confident and now I want to get out and help inspire others.”
At the same ceremony, six members of The Polar Academy Leadership Team received a Polar Academy Medal with blue ribbon. It recognises their commitment to undertake rigorous physical training and personal sacrifices during the eigh-month period between selection and the departure to Greenland of the expedition team.
Three guides, Nigel Williams, Jess Ainslie and Dr Mike Wild, who as part of The Polar Academy team, who have accompanied Mathieson on each of the three expeditions to Arctic Greenland, were also recognised with a special Polar Academy Medal with gold ribbon.
The fourth expedition team will be selected from a Scottish school in June 2017 and depart for Arctic Greenland in March 2018.
See The Polar Academy.