What the tales of the 'Mountain Mama' can teach us about ignoring hesitation.

Today, Amelia Mayer is known by many as the "Mountain Mama," but when it came to adventures with her own mama growing up, she wasn't into it.

When she was just 1 year old, Amelia's parents took her hiking up the glaciers and mountains surrounding her home in Alaska.

She may have been in the great outdoors often, but young Amelia had to be bribed with strawberries and pieces of chocolate.


All images via Amelia Mayer, used with permission.

Everything changed when she was around 7 years old — the same age her eldest son is now. For the first time, Amelia realized what made the outdoors so magical. She was hiking up "Lazy Pete" — a mountain you have to be anything but lazy to conquer.

"I clearly remember running to the end of it," she says, "and feeling that sense of accomplishment."

That sense of accomplishment went from being afraid and hesitant to a woman who discovered her calling.

As she got older, Amelia's love for the great outdoors only grew stronger — she even hiked and camped after her high school prom.

She'd take any excuse to be outdoors. In college, it became an even bigger part of her life. "I had a quarter where I had classes only two days a week, so I would literally go up to Mount Baker and go snow-shooting three days a week."

Once she started a family with her husband Bill, her passion for the outdoors went to a level she never thought possible.

Bill is a wildland firefighter and, believe it or not, was much more skilled than Amelia when it came to conquering the outdoors. "My husband really challenged me," she says. "To go beyond what I had known before and to get my past my mental limitations."

It's the same mentality they knew they wanted to instill in their kids — Jack (8), Peter (6), Liza (3), and Mara (1). "I want them to be able to feel comfortable enough to surpass even our knowledge," says Amelia. "Seek out something and be able to pass it on to the next generation."

Not many mothers would take on the task of looking after four kids while also keeping an eye out for elk, moose, and bears.

For Amelia, though, it's more like a typical Tuesday afternoon. The full-time mom, who lives in Yellowstone National Park, runs the popular "Tales of a Mountain Mama" blog and spends her days taking her children on epic adventures and offering practical advice for other parents on how to keep family adventures exciting and safe through her online program, "Outdoor Mom Academy."

The coolest part? Amelia's kids are learning the kind of skills that would intimidate most adults.

Whether that's rafting down a river, going cross-country skiing, or in some cases, dealing with wild animals.

In fact, those skills were put to the test when a bear unknowingly entered their campsite on one particular hike. "I turned around and I looked at the tent and literally right by the tent," Amelia explains, "the bear was standing there and my daughter was in the tent."

Immediately, Amelia grabbed her daughter while the family cleared the campsite of any food that might attract more bears and slowly made their way to safety inside their car.

It was an eye-opening moment, but one that Amelia knew her family had the strength and resolve to deal with.

Why? Whether it's a full-day river float or a 12-hour hike, these adventures serve as both confidence boosters and unparalleled family bonding experiences.

There's just something special about the bond created when you take your family off the grid and out of the comfort zone.

"Obviously, the outdoors provides a lot of unexpected challenges," says Amelia. "That's the beauty of it. We're learning those challenges as a family."

The great outdoors will always hit you with challenge after challenge. But when you push past your hesitation, more often than not, you'll surprise yourself.

Tackling tremendous feats in nature has helped her children build confidence at an early age, she says. "Pushing them just enough that they can see their strengths and the things that they can do."

The family continues to grow — it was on a backpacking trip along the Indian Creek Trail that Amelia announced she was pregnant with her fourth child.

Now, she has a fifth on the way, and it hasn't slowed her down.

"With getting outside, a lot of the limitations people put on themselves is the fear of the unknown," she says. "And I think once you get past that … we can really find great freedom in what we can do."

"There's a great strength in saying yes to adventures."

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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