Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Few Good Men & Women

Several friends & family members have dedicated hours of their time to help us get our boat ready for our Yukon River Trip.  We are so thankful for everyone's help & support in trip preparations.

Josh & Erin (Jake's brother & our sister-in-law) spent an early April day painting the boat with us.

 Josh chose the colors and taped out an awesome camo design for our boat.

Camo Designer Josh Nieten
Erin Painting the Pontoons

Susan Painting the Pontoons

A Side and Rear View

Jake Nailing Down a Front Board to Our Cabin

Erin and Susan's Inside Paint Job

The next day Jake & I did a bit more work and painting.

At the end of April and after the rains, our neighbors pitched in on a Saturday and helped us.  Carl and JR helped Jake with attaching the oar locks and mounting the pontoon motor.  Karis helped me finish out the interior paint job.

Adding More Wood to Anchor the Oar Locks

We found this giant oar lock

Jake Mounting the Motor with JR and Carl

Adjusting the Trolling Motor

The Mounted Motor

Thanks to all who have helped build our dream!

Click here to continue by reading "Hanging the Doors."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Call to the Wild: My Yukon River Trip Grant Proposal

Grant Info: “The Lilly Endowment believes that engaged teachers…help produce engaged students.” The Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program awarded 120 grants of $8000 each in 2011 to support creative projects of individual Indiana teachers…. Personal renewal & individual intellectual growth are the primary goals of this program. The expected direct or indirect benefits to the educator & to his or her students must be described in the project proposal. Substance, clarity, originality, creativity, imagination, & feasibility of the project are considered when choosing recipient.

Here's most of my 3-page grant proposal....

My Call to the Wild:
A Journey of Self-Discovery through Writing in the Land of the Midnight Sun

The $8000 Teacher Creativity Award will help me fulfill my aspiration of floating the Yukon River 460 miles from Whitehorse to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory, Canada. By experiencing and writing about the river and surrounding areas, I will be able to rejuvenate myself as an individual and as a teacher.

Mrs. Nieten’s Teaching Experiences:
I graduated from Anderson University (’98), where I majored in Speech Communications & Theatre Education and minored in English Education. I began teaching English and theatre at Noblesville High School in 1999. In my twelve years of teaching, I have dedicated myself to the NHS community by taking tickets at sporting events, teaching the after-school SAT prep course, participating in fundraisers, mentoring new teachers, completing my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and teaching summer school for nine of those years to students who are repeating an English course in hopes of earning their required credits. I have also directed three plays and twelve musicals at NHS.

Rationale & Personal Renewal:
Since marrying my husband Jake in 1999, the majority of our breaks from my hectic teaching schedule have been used to pursue outdoor adventures, whether it be backpacking in the Rockies, whitewater rafting in Colorado, canoeing in the Ozarks, or kayaking with alligators in the Everglades. We recharge our passion for life and each other through outdoor activities. I return to school refreshed for what my life as a teacher demands.

Several inspirations motivated the conception of this unequivocal trip: author Jack London, the Gold Rush of 1898, my respect for the wilderness, and a quest of self-discovery. I’m drawn to the characters, plots, themes, and Yukon settings in so many of London’s tales. The Gold Rush intrigues me because it is one of the times in history where men were brave enough to gamble everything just for the possibility of creating a better life. In addition, my draw to and respect of the water and my desire for a chance at deeper self-discovery also allure me to the Yukon River.

Because this was envisioned prior to applying for this grant, I have much of what is needed for this trip, yet I still lack imperative items and necessary finances to see this invigorating voyage to fruition. We have already constructed a cabin that sleeps two with storage and a small living area on a pontoon boat. Through our extensive outdoor experiences, I have acquired much of the necessary gear and crucial skills to make a trip of this magnitude successful.

For more than ten months out of the year, NHS and its students claim my focus. During the school year I am busy with productions, meetings, planning, and grading student writing. I do not have the time, energy, or inspiration to take part in one of my joys in life. If I am afforded this opportunity, my focus will rest on the water that will take me into unfamiliar territory, provoking new inspiration so that I may once again enjoy one of my passions in life: writing.