Salmon Arm Student joins Girls on Ice

A Salmon Arm student is one of a select few chosen to scale an Alaskan glacier as part of the Girls on Ice program

It takes a village: Samantha Fuller

It takes a village: Samantha Fuller

A Salmon Arm student is one of a select few chosen to scale an Alaskan glacier as part of the Girls on Ice program.

Samantha Fuller is one of 18 girls from the US and Canada selected from a pool of 1,200 applicants that will be participating in the trip on June 17 to 28.

“I’m outdoorsy but I’ve never been out of interior B.C. It’ll be quite an opportunity to get out of the province let alone go to Alaska,” Fuller said.

In her application to Girls on Ice, Fuller was asked questions including what she likes about the outdoors and what the most interesting science question would be for her and about her plans for the future.

“I want to be veterinarian and ever since I’ve been applying for these programs I’ve been thinking about wildlife biology. I told them I was most interested in animal adaptions, how they can adapt to melting glaciers, global warming and all that,” Fuller replied.

Girls on Ice works in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, to select a group of girls from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, California, B.C. and the Yukon to join a professional mountain guide and a team of scientists on a 12 day expedition up Alaska’s Gulkana Glacier.

“I don’t know of any girl from our region has ever been selected, I don’t even know if we’ve applied before,” said Salmon Arm Secondary counsellor Amy Witt .

Fuller said she expects to receive a recommended training program from Girls on Ice soon that will get her prepared for the physical demands of the glacier expedition. In the meantime, she is busy getting organized, booking flights and acquiring necessary equipment. Fuller was nominated for the opportunity by Aboriginal Education Support Worker Diyame Derrick and Witt. She is preparing for the exciting opportunity with the help of Jessa Clark (Aboriginal Success Coach teacher), Derrick and Witt.

“We know Sam to be a self-ascribed science nerd and outdoorsy and fit,” Witt said. Witt also said that Girls on Ice asked her about Fuller’s personality to see where she would fit in the team dynamic.

Witt emphasized that Girls on Ice is not a reward for past excellence but rather an exercise for broadening horizons. “It is for students that need help knowing just how big the world is and just how broad and how brave and bold their goals can be, I had written in my reference that the fact that Sam didn’t have a passport yet in our mind made her an ideal candidate,” Derrick said.

Fuller, Derrick, Witt and Clark are still seeking help from the community to fund the parts of the excursion the Girls on Ice does not cover.

“Girls on Ice is a charitable organization and so they ask that students collect as much of the gear as they can, but no student would be turned away,” Witt said.

Girls on Ice also provides a $500 flight credit, Derrick said. Despite this, they are still $250 US short of paying for Fuller’s flights. Witt said they are planning a bannock sale and reaching out to the Legion and the Rotary Club to cover some of the cost.

Fuller also still requires various specialized clothing and camping equipment for the glacier conditions including a pair of breathable Gore-Tex snow pants and a sleeping bag rated for at least -10C. For the full list of required items, email dderrick@sd83.bc.ca.

“We have a really great community and we’re trusting that they’ll be supporting of us Derrick said.”

“I’m so excited, I mean a glacier – I never even thought I would get to go to Alaska, it was never in my frame of reference whatsoever,” Fuller said.