Paddle for Leaders 2014-2015

Paddle for Leaders gave supporters the chance to propel life changing experiences for motivated high school students by providing financial aid to great students.


The Backstory

Each semester, the Alzar School asks our students to challenge themselves.  In the course of their semester, they find themselves consistently stretched.  There are long days on the trail, backpacking through the Owyhee Canyonlands.  There are epic study sessions as they engage in rigorous, college preparatory courses that equip them with the critical thinking skills to be thoughtful leaders.  And there are the meaningful culminating leadership projects students plan for implementation in their communities.  In their career as leaders, joining the Alzar School for a semester is just the launch of a lifelong journey towards being community leaders who work to make the world around them a better place.

Back in 2004, when Kristin and Sean Bierle started the Alzar School by sketching out a campus on posterboard with a couple of Crayola markers, they anticipated the journey ahead would challenge them.  From running the entire school out of their living room, to the school’s newly purchased van breaking down on our first summer expedition, to starting our Semester 1 with no complete buildings… creating this one-of-a-kind school has been a feat of endurance, a demonstration of persistence in the face of many obstacles. This year, we are launching an annual effort to support the school’s ability to make the Alzar School experience accessible for as many great teenagers as possible.  “Paddle for Leaders” will enable supporters of the school to get in on the challenge and adventure of developing the next generation of leaders.

Students from around the world come to Alzar School to hone their leadership skills. Veronica (Fall 2014), from Memphis, is working on a community garden to provide fresh produce for community members.

Students from around the world come to Alzar School to hone their leadership skills. Veronica (Fall 2014), from Memphis, is working on a community garden to provide fresh produce for community members.


The Details


1 day, 60 miles, $85,000 in student scholarships.

First, alumni from around the country will completeed their own “Paddle for Leaders” challenges, raising funds to give the Alzar School experience to future teenagers.

Then, in one day, (May 7th, 2015) co-founder and Head of School Sean Bierle paddled from Payette Lake, high in the river’s watershed, down the upper North Fork of the Payette River, across Cascade Reservoir, and back onto the river, passing the Alzar School’s campus.  In tackling such a mighty endeavor, we hoped to inspire others to join us in this journey of building an innovative school.

In total, Sean was able to:

  • Travel over 60 miles
  • Take more than 24,000 strokes
  • Complete over 19 hours of continuous paddling

Sean launched at midnight, paddled a variety of crafts, and was joined for different legs of the trip by stakeholders in the school.  Throughout the marathon paddling session, we told the story of the school’s history, its students, and our vision for the future.


This effort raised over $85,000 to supply student scholarships.

Raised so far: $73,942

Who has gotten in on the Paddle for Leaders action?


  • Ken and Sharon Anderson
  • Shauna, Mike, and Kaylee Arnold
  • Kaitlin Basham and Andy Pressman
  • Dr. Mikael Bedell and Cheryl Bracht
  • Jean Bierle
  • Larry and Tricia Bierle
  • Sean and Kristin Bierle
  • Ward Bourdeaux
  • Sean and Lora Breen
  • Bryan and Tanie Bush
  • Alice Caplan
  • Mark and Linda Caplan
  • Sam and Cindy Chewning
  • Herk and Colleen Cole
  • Jeff and Samantha Cole
  • Dennis and Kendra Coleman
  • Anita Cussler
  • Yuri Davydov
  • Turin and Kyle Dickman
  • Kevin and Toni Garvey
  • Heather Getzloff
  • Michelle Gillespy-Goldstein and Alan Goldstein
  • Chris Gragtmans
  • Dawne Hall and Grace Raulet
  • Katie Hawkins
  • Alice Hill
  • Carol Hines and David Elliott
  • Heidi and Joseph Holland
  • Jolinda and Troy Huckaby
  • Lori and Jon Hunter
  • Nikcole Lowery
  • Esther Mulnick and John Watkins
  • Ed and Christy Novellas
  • Cailin O’Brien-Feeney
  • Shawn O’Brien
  • Jack Olson
  • Jacqueline Perreira-Skillman
  • April and Eric Press
  • Paul Raulet
  • Wendy and Gordon Saul
  • Mark and Tucker Schrage
  • Matt Schwarz and Molly Mannschreck
  • Katherine Sharp
  • Laura and Wayne Shoup
  • John and Marilyn Stott
  • Heidi and Jacob Strohmeyer
  • Kim Tanabe
  • Frank Tindall
  • Keller and William Torrey
  • Josh Unger and Jenaleigh Kiebert
  • Michael Vineyard
  • Anonymous
  • Rebecca & Scott Hurd


  • Shore Lodge
  • Lakeview Chevron
  • Manchester Ice / Event Center
  • Snapdragon
  • Les Schwab McCall
  • Backcountry Chiropractic
  • 44⁰ North – Art, Clothing, and Gifts
  • Wild River Java
  • ProBuild McCall
  • May’s Hardware
  • Harlows McCall
  • Gravity Sports
  • McCall Real Estate (Steve and Cindy Jones)
  • Dr. Uma’s Healing and Creative Arts Center
  • Osprey Packs
  • Lake Cascade State Parks
  • Idaho Whitewater Unlimited
  • Momentum River Expeditions
  • The Insurance Group (TIG)
  • Cascade Store
  • Amerititle Cascade
  • Wheeler’s Pharmacy
  • The Roxy Theater
  • Trinity Therapeutic
  • Nails by Carol
  • Tea Leaves -N- Coffee Beans
  • Granite Construction
  • Kelly’s Whitewater Park / Mark and Kristina Pickard
  • NRS
  • Arnold Aviation
  • Whitewater Expeditions
  • Press in the Pines
  • Sierra Sage
  • Network for Good
  • Rizen Creative
  • Jackson Kayaks

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