Meixi Wang wrote this article for Imagine Magazine (click to read it).
This last summer (summer of 2008) I went on a life-changing journey called Girls on Ice. The Girls on Ice program was an inspirational and eye-opening experience that my 16 year old self was lucky to be a part of! From mountaineering and glaciology to self endurance and team work, the lessons I learned and the memories I have made are unforgettable. I not only learned how to walk on glaciers, rescue myself from crevaces, climb on ice with crampons, and summit a mountain but I also learned how far I could push myself in different and extreme situations. The leaders of the program were perfectly fit for their roles and inspired me to push myself and follow my dreams. I not only ended the program with a head full of knowledge and experience but with 8 new friendships!!! Whenever I am asked about this program I have nothing but remarkable comments and memories to share with them!
Girls On Ice is by far the single most amazing experience i have had in my life. After all, how many people can say that they summitted a mountain at the age of sixteen? I took so many things away from the program, from an insider’s look into field research to a communion with our environment to great and everlasting friendships. My instructors were wonderful mentors and all around awesome women who I look up to and admire–they taught us girls so much and gave us confidence in ourselves as strong and adventurous young women. Truly, this program is a once in a lifetime opportunity, one which Dr. Pettit has worked very hard to see continued so that other girls in the future will have the same unique experience as I had. I will never forget the time I spent as a girl on ice!
Girls on Ice was an amazing experience. It really changed a lot of our lives. We learned so much and had so much fun. To this day I still tell stories from that trip. If it’s something you are even thinking about trying, you should do it. You won’t regret it.
If there ever is an experience that I shall remember, it will be Girls On Ice. Growing up with two mountaineers for parents, I had become familiar with the North Cascades through camping and hiking trips with my family, but never had I gotten a chance to get quite as intimate with the rugged and often misunderstood landscape of those mountains as with Girls On Ice.
At some point or another, nearly everyone has heard talk of the fabled “once-in-a-lifetime opportunities” and the ever-elusive “life-changing experience.” At the age of 16, I was naive enough to believe mine was a long way off…but that was before I was accepted into Girls on Ice 2006.
Girls on Ice was the experience that I always reference as my first exposure to real science and the spark for my interest in field work. Being able to work among a supportive and inspirational group of women was the most wonderful experience and still motivates me to this day! GOI gave me the confidence and inspired me to seek out so many field research opportunities and allowed me to live a life that my collegues could only dream about…and it was probably one of the most fun weeks of my life!
I gained an extraordinary amount from Girls on Ice. Not many people my age can say that they climbed on a glacier (or experimented on it!), but I can. I learned so much about Mt. Baker and I gained a lot of confidence along the way. Those eight day also began a journey to better health for me. They were pretty physically challenging at times, which helped me quickly develop some physical perseverance. Participating in GOI was the first time that I ever really voluntarily stepped out of my comfort level. The entire experience just helped me gain more confidence. It’s difficult to pinpoint certain things that it changed in me. I can just say that I grew tremendously.