#11 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
Phu Ly grew up in Portland, Maine and at the age of 17 received a full scholarship to complete “the most challenging expedition of my life.” She attended a 28-day Outward Bound course consisting of backpacking, canoeing, white water canoeing, sailing, rock climbing, and soloing in the wilderness of Maine.
On long paddling days during the course she was forced to live in the present, as the thought of hours and hours of more paddling was a non-starter. This present-focus has led to an improved inner peace that she takes with her.
“The experience left indelible marks on my life, showing me that, though petite in size, I am tougher and stronger than I thought and that I am a risk taker. To this day, I still live my life with the attitude that, Ïf I can do Outward Bound, I can do this! ”says Phu. “The hard core experience deepened my love for the outdoors and it also taught me that I can’t change people unless they are ready to change.”
This lesson about personal change has served Phu well in her career in education. Currently, Phu teaches first-grade in Almaden and as a youth educator believes that Outward Bound creates a reflective space for students where they can learn to make smart choices, and to more clearly see the difference between right and wrong.
Without Outward Bound’s generous scholarship program, Phu states that she would not have been able to afford her expedition at the age of 17. She is passionate about paying this forward while teaching her students a life lesson. To this end, Phu is rappelling in this year’s City Skyline Challenge, “to share with our community and my students that when you believe in a cause, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to make things happen.”
Phu is very grateful to her friends for helping her exceed her fundraising goal this year, and we at Outward Bound are very grateful for Phu’s continued support.
You can make an expedition possible for a student like Phu by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge!