Monday, 9 December 2013

Craig Mathieson appointed as first Ambassador for Exploration

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the RSGS’s first Ambassador for Exploration (or more commonly, despite the contradiction - Explorer in Residence).      Scottish explorer Craig Mathieson has been awarded the title, and will work with the Society for the next four years, promoting our work and his, and inspiring school children all over the country.

For a Society with its roots in exploration and education, it is fantastic for us to have a representative whose work combines both.  Craig’s work is an inspirational example of how to use exploration as a route to enthusing young people about the outdoors and teaching them vital life skills.

Craig has been involved in polar expeditions, to both the Antarctic and the Arctic and in Greenland. His childhood dream was to ski to the South Pole, a dream that he realised in 2004. He decided then that he wanted to share this experience with the younger generation. In 2006 he trained a 16-year-old, who joined him on a journey to the Geographic North Pole. This trip of a lifetime proved life changing, and motivated Craig to replicate its success elsewhere.

Since then, Craig has established the Polar Academy charity, to take young adults from difficult backgrounds and motivate them through expeditions.  Participants will learn to work together in the outdoors as a team, learning the importance of planning and leadership. The Academy will emphasise that any goal is achievable, as long as you have the right attitude.

He’ll spread this message wide, first by talking to and inspiring school classes around the country, before taking a selection of young adults for training sessions in Scotland. A small number of these will then join him on an expedition to East Greenland.

Craig has given talks to thousands of school kids around the country, and will now be doing so as a representative of the Society. Despite the ‘in-Residence’ part of his title, he will not be confined to the Explorers’ Room, but will be out and about around Scotland and on expedition, encouraging understanding of exploration and the natural world.

Craig said, “To be awarded the title of the first RSGS Explorer-in-Residence is truly an honour and a privilege. As a young boy I would read of the achievements of Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton, hoping and dreaming that perhaps one day I could also experience the harsh beauty of the polar regions. Having now stood at both the North and South Poles, I feel it my duty to share the knowledge and experience gained over the years. Therefore, working with the RSGS, who have similar aspirations, allows for an ideal partnership. Over the coming months and years, I am looking forward to inspiring our younger generation and hopefully motivating them to achieve their own dreams one day.”

Mike Robinson said, “Craig’s enthusiasm is infectious. He is a great guy with a gentle exterior that hides a fierce determination and an iron will. His plans for the Polar Academy are visionary and ambitious, and the RSGS is delighted to back him in this venture and, I hope, to help him to achieve that vision. We wish him good luck and hope he can now ‘crack on’, as Craig would say.”

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