Pancakes in the Park

Customers fill their plates at a Mountain Alliance Pancakes in the Park fundraiser in 2018.

BOONE — On Saturday, June 1, from 7-11 a.m., the Watauga County Farmers’ Market will have a delicious addition in the form of Pancakes in the Park. For just $8, you can get pancakes, eggs, sausage and coffee while supporting Watauga High School students who will be embarking on a two-week summer leadership expedition.

Pancakes in the Park is a fundraiser for Rolling Academy, a program of Mountain Alliance. Rolling Academy is a two-week leadership expedition with focuses on service, adventure, craftsmanship, community and environmental/ cultural awareness. The program is free for students, but they are asked to help raise funds through events like Pancakes in the Park and by finding sponsors for the program.

Mountain Alliance, a youth leadership organization based at Watauga High School, hosts this program each summer. The Rolling Academy itinerary is top secret and unfolds to students each day throughout the journey, and each year is different. Past trips have gone everywhere from Boston to Wyoming, and done everything from having coffee with a senator to camping and doing service in downtown Detroit. Last year’s program had students visiting the Grand Canyon, doing service in Arches National Park, paddle boarding down the Colorado River, engaging with a group of Navajo and backpacking in Colorado.

Students chosen for this program had to answer short essay questions, collect letters of reference and go through an interview before being selected. Prior to the trip, participants engage in fundraising efforts and group activities that help them connect as a team. Students will also share their experiences with the community at a trip end symposium.

Rolling Academy strives to provide unique opportunities that encourage students to push themselves and to expand their worldview.

“Each member from the 2018 Rolling Academy expedition gained something different from their experiences,” said WHS senior Mary Louise Sprague and member of the 2018 Rolling Academy. “Some members gained confidence while others gained a newfound knowledge of their strengths, all while growing more open to others. Through Rolling Academy, students are given the chance to improve their leadership skills, participate in service activities, and grow as both an individual and a group.”

To support these students in their journey, stop by Pancakes in the Park or reach out to Mountain Alliance at staff@mountainalliance.org if you are interested in being a sponsor. All sponsors will be recognized at Pancakes in the Park, at the Rolling Academy Symposium on July 7, and any other public Watauga County Rolling Academy-related events.

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