My name is Madeline Cecilia Dunn and I received a scholarship in 2016. 

Core values were always something I thought about but never wrote down on paper and lived by until being inspired by this foundation.

There are many ways to live a life. If you’re like me, the way you live your life can change based on who you’re around or how your environment is influencing you. 

For example- when I live in the mountains I feel inspired to be adventurous every day. When I’m home visiting family I am inclined to chat for hours by the fire. 

Change has been the only constant in my life. That is until I accepted a new way of living where core values were at the center of what I do.

I will admit my core values have changed a bit over the years. What I valued when I was 20 is different than what I value now at 32. My life has been one for the books, let me tell you. Since receiving the Flyin’ Ryan Hawks Scholarship and taking my Avalanche certifications I have truly grown into a leader. I was a leader in the mountains and have been a leader of my life ever since. 

What does it mean to be a leader in life? For me, it’s leading myself first. Taking the first step can be scary. When you raise one foot off the ground to leap into something new you are left balancing while half of you is floating in the air: new territory. The thing about leaping is that both feet need to come off the ground at a point and you experience a free fall. This is where most people will not go. This is where every leader must move.

I’m currently using the skills I learned leading in the mountains to lead myself through a simple, intentional life in my hometown in Michigan. I got sick (neurologically – they thought MS) while living in Alaska after spending 5 years in Colorado and then 2 in Utah skiing and climbing. My illness has been miraculously healed (by God in my opinion).  I am now using the leadership tools I learned in the mountains to build the most beautiful life for myself that’s isn’t adrenaline filled rather calm and stable.

My story is different than most athletes as I no longer seek constant adventure. My life has changed but I will say it’s better than ever. I have lived a life already at age 32 that most never will even after retirement. I get to inspire small town and city people to find their adventure and become leaders even in the day to day simplicity of life. 

Thank you for the scholarship. I believe this foundation is changing the world!

All photos below are from Alaska except the speaking image. That is from a fundraiser I was chosen to be the keynote speaker at: sharing my mountain adventures in style! 

Click here to learn more about Madeline.