One UNC freshman might be about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
On Friday, Trevor Dougherty will leave for a 10-day training camp in Switzerland, from which he could be selected for an expedition to Southern Africa.
Dougherty was one of 16 selected from about 400 applicants to the Young Explorers Program. Run by Mike Horn, a well-known explorer, the program will test both physical and mental abilities.
Horn said in a video that the program is meant to motivate the younger generation to admire the beauty of the planet and preserve its natural resources.
If selected, Dougherty will join seven other students from around the world on a boat built by Horn, called Pangaea. The students will sail around the coast of Eastern and Southern Africa during July, Dougherty said.
The participants will do environmental and community service projects during the expedition, with a focus on helping communities gain access to clean drinking water, he said.
Dougherty said he is excited he might get to join the expedition because it combines his three passions: media, the outdoors and activism.
“I’ve done a lot of stuff with CNN’s citizen journalism program since 2008 and hosted YouTube political and activism videos since 2007. And a big part of the expedition is spreading the word about environmental awareness,” he said.
Dougherty is also no stranger to conquering the great outdoors.
He participated in a 30-day National Outdoor Leadership School backpacking trip to Alaska, an opportunity he gained through his Morehead-Cain scholarship. He said the experience made him want to apply for the Young Explorers expedition.
“I’ve fallen more in love with nature and the environment over the past couple of years, and this is an opportunity to go on an amazing expedition with a famous explorer,” he said.
Dougherty said his family and friends support his decision to attend the training camp in the hopes of earning a spot in the program.
“Given an opportunity to make a difference, he’ll take it, no matter what scale, and he strives to bring experiences back to people who didn’t have that opportunity,” said sophomore Jake Lewis, a friend.
Dougherty will find out at the end of the training camp in mid-May whether or not he was selected to join Horn on the expedition.
Dougherty’s mother, Katharine Dougherty, said she knows her son will take full advantage of this opportunity if given to him.
“I hope he gets it because he’s shown that when given opportunities, he puts them to good use and goes above and beyond expectations.”
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