December 12, 1999
Austin, Texas, USA
Seven months ago, my Mexican visa expired, so I had to leave the country. After entering Texas, I spent 3 months exploring the Big Bend, learning the Way of the Warrior from a close friend, Richard, who is a pipe carrier in the Lakota Sioux tradition. During that time, I fell in love with Samantha, a friend of Richards, visiting from Austin. She also has a passion for social entrepreneurship, and together, we have formed the corner stone of The SAMAX Foundation.
SAMAXs purpose is to plant seeds of freedom. I get email regularly from university students telling me how much they hate school and cant wait to get their "education over with". These students talk as though they are serving a prison term. They say they are only going to university because they dont know what else to do. Our intent is to prove that getting an education through life experience, specifically adventure travel, is not only possible.... but fun... and inexpensive.
SAMAX is... a Spiritual Adventure and Motivational Academic eXperience. The SAMAX Scholarship", will offer four scholarships of $5000 each year to persons between the ages of 17 and 20 years old, and will be awarded to those with the best planned and prepared mission of discovery. The program will be offered in Canada and the US to start off with, but our intent is to go world wide. We want kids from the Bronx rumbling in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and kids from Toronto mountain biking across Mongolia. It's going to be interesting to hear of the adventures they dream up.
SAMAX Scholarship winners will be given a digital video camera and required to record their experiences. When they return from their journeys, the footage will be used for creating a documentary film to be shown on television and to be toured with by the adventurers themselves throughout high schools in their home state or province.
The foundation will also act as a "go between" in finding sponsorship for the equipment the scholars will need on their journey. Before I left on my journey, it was almost impossible to get donations from corporations, even though I had an extensive resume of wilderness and journalism experience.
We are seeking funding through grant awards and private donations. The allotment of funds and the selection of scholarship winners will be decided by a board of directors. Members of the board are being selected with the benefit of their expertise in mind. Applications for journeys will be forwarded to the member of the board with the most experience pertaining to the proposed journey. Scholarship applicants who are not chosen for one of the four positions will be encouraged to continue their projects development.
We are setting up SAMAX as a charitable organization, which will allow us to issue receipts for tax deductions. The foundation will be incorporated in the United States some time in the next few days. When SAMAX receives its non-profit tax status, 501(c)(3), in four to six months, it is retroactive back to the date of incorporation- which means we can issue tax deductible receipts from the first date of incorporation. SAMAX will be incorporated in Canada with non-profit tax status in the near future.
I need seed money. The cost of the incorporating in U.S. is $25, the cost of filing the non-profit status is approximately $500, and the IRS charges an additional fee of $500. I have an abundance of energy, passion and positive intention. . . . but no money. Let me know if you can help.
Likely to be the inspiration for SAMAX Scholarship applicants, the MAX @ School web site is now a project of The SAMAX Foundation, and therefore the web site will be funded through the foundation.
Also to promote the scholarship, I will begin creating a documentary film as soon as I find enough investors to purchase a digital video camera and an Apple G4 laptop. The G4 will allow me to edit, then publish video clips on the MAX @ School web site and send video to television networks . . . while still traveling.
On December 16th, I am flying home to spend Christmas with my family. On January 12th, I intend to return to Austin for a couple more weeks to tie up lose ends, then Ill hitch-hike back to Mazatlan, where I have eight note books of journal and hundreds of images waiting for me to edit and upload, before heading south by kayak.
I apologize to those who have been patiently waiting for new journals. I have been writing almost daily, however, I thought it unwise to tell the world what I think... before Ive had time to think it through.
I have learned a lot over the past year. Ive read more books in the past six months then I did during thirteen years of public school. I think it has been my most productive school year. Im curious to know what you learn from it. Or, maybe there was a lesson that you think I missed. Please dont be too shy to drop me a note. All my journals from Baja and Mazatlan are in Mazatlan. I am now adding journals from the past six months, between leaving Mazatlan and now, that can be found through my Texas map.
Live your dreams... or die trying!
~You can teach only by creating the urge to know~
~A teacher seeks to teach... a baker seeks to bake~