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Sun Valley Tour de Force Sends Kids to Camp
Friday, September 21, 2018


One student worried that ticks might show up. And another wanted to make sure there would be marshmallows.

They were among 52 public school students who will attend a three-day, two-night campout at Idaho BaseCamp, thanks to the 2018 Sun Valley Tour de Force.

Sun Valley Tour de Force co-founders Whitney Werth Slade and Maya Blix presented 29 fifth-graders at Bellevue Elementary and 23 students at Mackay School with a $16,000 check made out to Idaho BaseCamp this week.

The check will allow the students and teacher chaperones to attend the outdoor adventure education camp atop Trail Creek Summit free of charge.

“Our goal was to fund one public school and to send two schools has exceeded our expectations,” said Slade. “Idaho BaseCamp’s programs have a direct and lasting impact on the young people of our community and we are thrilled to provide this experience to the students.”

“So exciting,” added Blix. “And to present the check to the students—this is the reward.”

Some of the children have never been camping before, said Alexis Duvall, who teaches fifth-grade at Bellevue with Andrea Gallegos.

“So we’re hoping this will introduce them to that aspect of life and that it will encourage them to continue to take advantage of what our area has to offer,” she said.

“There will be team building. And there will be a chance for them to learn independence and hear their own voice as they spend a couple days without parents,” added Gallegos.

Bellevue Elementary students will hold their campout Oct. 17 through 19. They will sleep in yurts and take part in an outdoor classroom focused on science, wildlife and the environment. They also will take part in activities building personal responsibility, leadership and mindfulness.

Mat Gershater, who founded the nonprofit Idaho BaseCamp, promised the youngsters that, yes, there will be marshmallows. And, no, it’s going to be too cold to have to worry about ticks.

“You’re going to be sleeping in tents,” he said. “And has anybody done yoga before? Anybody done any river adventures? We’ll get to do a bit like of that. And what flies around at night? You could see owls.”

To enjoy all that, he added, they would need a good sleeping bag.

“If you don’t have one, tell your teacher. And, if you have two, bring both. If you’re warm, you’re happy. And, if you’re happy, life is good,” he said. “You can practice sleeping outside in your backyard, if you like, or in your bedroom with the window open.”

Funds for the Idaho BaseCamp fifth-grade program were raised through the inaugural Sun Valley Tour de Force held July 27 and 28.

Fifty-one Bugatti, McLaren and other sports cars took part in the no-speed-limit drive, in which car owners could push their cars to speeds of 230 miles an hour on a closed part of Highway 75 fourteen miles north of Ketchum.

Fifty-seven cars took part in the Huckleberry Drive, a guided trip through the mountains to Smiley Creek where they stopped for ice cream before turning around. They also took part in a car show at Ketchum Town Square and a Wrap Party and Benefit that included a comedy show.

The 2019 Sun Valley Tour de Force will be held July 26-27. It is produced by Intrepid Events, Inc., an Idaho nonprofit founded by Blix and Slade that produces events that support local businesses and  causes.

Idaho BaseCamp will again be the beneficiary in 2019.

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