#10 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
As a teenager, Sophie Guerin had incredible energy and passion but lacked an outlet to direct and channel that enthusiasm. Despite participating in a number of after school activities, she found herself frustrated by a lack of a serious challenge. She considered joining the Army, but the more Sophie learned about a career in the armed services, the more she realized that this challenge was not the type of holistic environment she was looking for.
During this exploration Sophie came across Outward Bound. Her mom was supportive and at 14 she went on her first Pacific Crest Outward Bound School Mountaineering Course. “It was an incredible 22-days that provided me with both the physical and mental challenge I was desperately seeking. I was surprised and inspired by the support and teamwork which was an unexpected component of this course. This helped me to better understand the experience and flourish in this challenging environment.” As a result of this life altering experience, Sophie signed up for a subsequent two 22-day courses and at 18 became a Logistic Coordinator. She worked for two summers as a Logi, eventually transitioning from a young student to a young woman, providing mentorship and support to new, first-time course participants.
Sophie is still in contact with many of her instructors who continue to remain my role models. “Even at 30, I frequently ask myself, ‘What would Doug Mahon, Simon Middlemas, Karel Sykora, Michael Vladeck, Rich, Justine, Dustin, etc. have to say about this?’ “
It was an incredibly formative period in her life and as a result she continues to push her boundaries, tackle her fears, embrace challenges and see adventure in everything that she encounters. Today, Sophie lives in Beijing, China, working for WEConnect International to help women gain access to greater economic opportunities. As a result they and the communities they live in have better lives, education, and opportunities.
“Outward Bound continues to inspire me to serve and improve the environment I live in. I hope to continue to carry this with me as I grow, move, and change, wherever life may take me.”
You can make an expedition possible for a student like Sophie by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge!