10 Essential Questions: Amae Kurre

Meet Amae Kurre, a backpack leader who prefers her morning coffee with a backcountry view and wants to provide outdoor opportunities for members at any level.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 14, 2022

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to...

Name: Amae Kurre
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Member Since: February 2019
Occupation: Immigration Specialist
Favorite Activities: Backpacking and hiking

10 ESSENTIALS QUESTIONS: 

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I started my outdoors journey in Washington with day hikes. I kept wanting to get farther and farther out and it was getting to be too much to do in one day. There are so many places in Washington that you can only get to on foot. I knew it was time to try backpacking. But I also knew that the wilderness is "for real" out here and much more wild than back east, so I needed to be prepared. I took the Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course. It was a game changer for making me confident and skilled to get out.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

I am motivated to provide opportunities and examples that there is not just one way to be a Mountaineer. Many people have this impression that all Mountaineers activities are hardcore and very challenging. I want to provide opportunities for members at any level. I want those who are early on in their outdoor and fitness journey to know that there is space and opportunities for them in The Mountaineers. Anyone can get outside right now, right where they are. You don't need tons of fancy equipment and you don't have to be able to run a 5k in 20 minutes. There are places and spaces you can start your journey and gradually work your way up to new challenges. Often when I backpack with my peers, I am the last one up the hill, way behind everyone else. I'm a hot sweaty mess and look like I'm working really hard (because I am). But I still make it up that hill and that's what matters.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

Anytime I see my students learn, grow, and succeed, it's the best. If I had to pick one particular memory, camping with our B3 mentor group at Chilean Memorial. Someone had brought a really powerful pair of binoculars. We got to watch a live version of the Discovery Channel out on the bay. Eagles fishing, mama seals nursing, otters playing. I had never seen so much wildlife on a trip.

Who/what inspires you?

My dad. He instilled a love of nature in me by sharing his own connection to and love of the natural world during my childhood. I honor the values he instilled and the sacrifices he made for me by making the most of the opportunities I have to get outside and do many things that he never had the opportunity to do while he was able. I am also inspired by all the people who are speaking up with their diverse perspectives and helping to lift our collective consciousness, inspiring me to recognize the privileges I have and do my best to give back.

As a donor and volunteer-supported organization, The Mountaineers is based on community support. How have you paid it forward, or how have you benefited from someone else paying it forward?

I have benefited from the wonderful instructors in the B3 Course sharing their time and expertise helping me on my outdoor journey and I give back by being an instructor in the B3 Course. I think I get more back than I put in! I get so much joy out of teaching the class and seeing the students learn, grow and awaken their connection to the outdoors, it doesn't feel like "work" at all. I also make sure to log all my volunteer hours with my company's matching program - wow that adds up fast, don't forget to log it if a company match is available to you!

What does adventure mean to you?

It's doing that next thing that scares me and challenges me. Right now that's learning scrambling. I am terrified of snow travel, I don't want to go anywhere near it. But I'm going to do it anyway.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset. So not a morning person
Smile or game face? Smile
What's your 11th Essential? COFFEE. I will bring a pour over setup and fresh grounds into the backcountry even on multiday trips. Morning coffee with a view is my favorite part of backpacking.
What’s your happy place? Anywhere outside near the mountains
Post-adventure meal of choice? Burger and a beer
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Skiing. Goodness I've never gotten the hang of that! I don't understand why you'd hurtle yourself down a mountain at a very rapid pace. That just sounds dangerous. 


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