The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County granted the 2008 Matt’s Climb scholarship to Alexander Carpenter, a Junior at Costanoa Continuation High School.

The Matt’s Climb Scholarship provides the opportunity for a high school student, currently either a Sophomore or Junior, to attend a 14 to 30 day wilderness program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The scholarship provides up to $3,200 towards program fees, plus up to $600 for travel expenses.

This year’s winner, Alexander Carpenter, will leave on June 15 for a 30-day wilderness course in the Wind River mountain range in Wyoming. “I have always dreamed of backpacking in the wilderness,” Carpenter said. “This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. This trip is going to change my life.”

NOLS offers programs throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Rockies, and the Southwest and is one of the top organizations in the country offering leadership training for young people through outdoor adventures.

The Matt’s Climb Scholarship is dedicated to Matthew Kennedy, an avid outdoorsman who was killed in a snowmobile accident in 2001 at the age of 18. His family created the scholarship at the Community Foundation to honor his spirit and to help others. “We want this scholarship to be a turning point for some young person, someone who would ordinarily never be able to participate in a wilderness experience,” said Eliza Livingston, who was Matt’s grandmother.