Eight athletes became members of The North Face (TNF) Young Gun Rookie Team during the awards ceremony at the 2017 USA Climbing: Bouldering Youth National Championship. One of these athletes was chosen as the TNF Young Gun Winner!
The TNF Young Gun Award was created to recognize up-and-coming athletes who represent the values of the climbing community: commitment, leadership, sportsmanship and volunteerism. Individuals considered for nomination are evaluated based on their commitment to the sport of climbing, leadership roles outside of the climbing gym, exemplary sportsmanlike conduct, service to others within the community and individual competition results. We are proud to say that many of the past winners have gone on to become true ambassadors of our sport—a tradition we strive to maintain.
Athletes from every Region were nominated for the TNF Young Gun Award. From this pool of nominees, eight individuals (one from each Division) were selected to become members of the TNF Young Gun Rookie Team. Announced as TNF Young Gun Rookie Team Members were: Melina Costanza, Kara Herson, Mackenzie Bay, Maya Madere, Robyn Ragins, Victoria Perkins, Arabella Jariel and Grace Scott. Rookie Team Member, Maya Madere, took home the TNF Young Gun Award! Read about Maya and the other members of the TNF Young Gun Rookie Team in their bios below:
When one of Melina's schoolmates was diagnosed with cancer, the entire school rallied around this boy and formed a team to run up the stairs of a 76 story building in Seattle, in an event called The Big Climb. As one of the older students at the school, Melina was involved in the training of the team, the t-shirt design and the motivation of the kids as they ran up this staircase. She was one of the top fundraisers for the event for 3 years in a row, which raises over $2million annually for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Washington/Alaska.
Kara climbed the Regular Northwest of Half Dome three times at age 12, including a one-day winter ascent. She has both the youngest ascent and the youngest one day ascent. Kara also, completed a one-day ascent of the Nose on El Capitan without jumars at age 14. This jumar-less, one-day Nose ascent was listed as one of EPIC TV’s top 3 big wall ascents of 2013.
Mackenzie (Kenzie) Bay
Not only is Kenzie dedicated to climbing, she excels academically. This includes making the honor role every year she's been on our team as well as being a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Her success balancing education and athletics has set a great example for her both teammates and classmates. Additionally, she is a member of the Civil Air Patrol and has been the student ambassador for the Rocky Mountain State Games the last 2 years.
Maya Madere (Bouldering Season TNF Young Gun Winner)
Break the Beta: Maya envisioned, created and ran a free 5-week long exercise therapy program for autistic children centered around rock climbing. The idea was to promote confidence and strength, a sense of accomplishment and community through rock climbing. She used GoFundMe to raise all necessary funds and recruited volunteers from the rock climbing community to create a 1 to 1 ratio for the young participants.
Robyn has been active in several programs to help the homeless including Meals on Mondays. Along with her mother, Robyn created her own program that provides winter survival kits for the homeless. She and her mom purchase, pack and then personally distribute dozens of winter survival kits to individual homeless men and women. They distribute the kits by driving around Chicago on weekends and personally interacting with them and sharing actual conversation as fellow, caring human beings, and then leaving them with a kit full of warm clothing, food, skin care, hand warmers, etc.
Victoria (Tori) Perkins
Tori spearheaded a fundraiser at her high school earlier this year to get money to send to an organization helping the Syrian refugees at the border. She also served in Little Haiti (Miami) for her senior trip. Prior to that she served in Haiti four years in a row for a week each summer. She did everything from electrical work to putting up dry wall, painting, cleaning, binding books, teaching groups of kids to make friendship bracelets, leading games, and the like.
Arabella (Bella) Jariel
Arabella spearheaded a bike ride fundraiser to benefit the World Wildlife Fund. As a former graduate at the Montessori School of Northern Virginia, Bella has gone back to her former school in the role of a teacher’s assistant to mentor the school’s newer generations.
Grace volunteers her time with Rock Type 1, a non-profit created to get kids with Type 1 diabetes engaged in adventure sports, mainly climbing. The organization is run by Grace's family, but she takes on many roles helping to make it runs smoothly. Grace organizes climbing trips both indoor and outdoor, plans games and activities, manages their social media, and is an encouraging teacher when the youth are on the rock. She is very passionate about helping kids in this way.