Yesterday marked day one of our Alpine adventure for the 2019 Strive Challenge. The annual challenge has become my favourite time of the year. Each September a group of us come together to take on a challenge and push ourselves to raise funds for Big Change, the charity founded by Holly, Sam, my nephew Noah and now hundreds of others. Together we back the pioneers reimagining education so that all young people are set up to thrive in life, not just in exams.
Yesterday, we headed out bright and early to hike 10km down from Le Tournieux to Lake Passy, swim across the lake and then cycle 46km onward to Vallorcine - the border between France and Switzerland.
It was three degrees as we hiked our way down to the lake, and everyone was nervous about the icy swim ahead. However, the sun came out the moment we reached the water and, despite wearing my wetsuit inside out, it turned out to be almost everyone’s highlight of the day.
One of our team members was particularly nervous about the swim after experiencing several traumatic experiences with water throughout her life. It was so inspiring to see her overcome her fear and push through a huge mental barrier while we all cheered and swam by her side. It really shows what we can achieve when we come together.
This year, our team is made up of an incredible group of people from all walks of life - from medical students to serial entrepreneurs, recent high school graduates to brilliant scientists and old friends such as the CEO of Spanx, Sara Blakely.
It’s wonderful to hear everyone’s different experiences of education and life, yet they share the same passion that transforming education (even in seemingly small ways) is one of the most important things we can do to build a brighter future.
My son, Sam, recently said to me: “Friends are like colours, they bring a different colour for every mood.” The same could be said for the Strive team. We each bring our own unique insights and experiences to the table, and that is how you make change happen. It also sums up the very different ways it is possible to learn. If we all acknowledge these differences and find ways to work together to give young people the opportunity and tools to reach their full potential, I believe we really can make the world a better place.
I’m excited for what the next four days of the Strive Challenge will bring. It’s bright and early here at our camp site and we’re about to head off for a full-day hike to Trient, on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Stay tuned!