When Daren Wendell, co-founder of ActiveWater, took some summer months in 2006 to ride his bike from the coast of Oregon to Virginia Beach, he had an epiphany towards the end of his adventure. He realized that this sense of adventure that he was feeling could not be replaced by any other commonplace thing in his life. He realized that somehow, against all human nature, sacrifice actually felt good, even despite all the endless drops of sweat, missed reality shows, and the discomfort of having a tent replace a perfectly comfortable apartment. But something essential was still missing. He was living his dream of being free to live without a dayplanner, soaking in all of the earth's natural splendor, and more physically fit and disciplined than he'd ever been in his life... but he was doing it all without a purpose. He was fit for nothing but for himself, and that was a sobering thought. Looking back at recent missions experiences in Haiti and Mexico, Daren recalled what real "life to the fullest" was all about, living for others.
That's when Daren realized that there was more to be achieved, more to feel, and more to love. He desired to take those same experiences, and use them to give back to the world that he loved, rather than simply take from it. After some time spent in research and prayer, he decided to do the unthinkable, pay off all of his debt, sell everything he owned, leave a wonderful career, strap on a backpack, and kick off an 18,000 mile walk-around-the-world for clean water. It took nearly 18 months of planning and saving, but Daren did just that, and The Earth Expedition was born.
During his twelve month (4,400 mile) USA leg of the expedition, Daren surrounded himself with other friends and water-crisis advocates, and together they formed an awareness team, scheduling group presentations, contacting corporate sponsors, providing press releases, and simply connecting with individuals through popular online social groups. After a year, The Earth Expedition had been the subject of several major magazines and nearly two dozen newspapers. Inspiring video projects then quickly followed, as well as conference speaking engagements. But most importantly, letters flowed in. People were inspired by the measure of sacrifice that the Earth Expedition team were living out and they wanted to know how they, too, could give back and leave their footprint on the earth.
Overwhelmed by the genuine compassion that individuals and groups alike were showing, Daren and his media relations coordinator, Amie Hadaway, discussed the future plans for The Earth Expedition. They decided that there was nothing that should keep others from feeling the same way that they felt each day. That feeling when the sun would go down and you could rest easy knowing that it wasn't just another day spent in vain, but instead, another life had been transformed. It was felt that they could better serve the public by transforming one campaign into an entire movement, that included groups and individuals all over the world, using their own passions and talents to tell the story of nearly a billion people in need.
In early autumn of 2008, they drafted the beginning concept of ActiveWater, surrounded themselves with an amazing leadership team, and watched with true astonishment as the organization quickly came to life. Since that time, ActiveWater has mobilized thousands of people and equipped them to participate in athletic events and grassroots campaigns all over the world. ActiveWater has partnered with several leading youth conference organizations such as CIY, Summer In the Sun, Junior High Journey, National Missionary Convention, and Pennsylvania Christian Teen Convention. To date, nearly 500 churches have initiated campaigns to sponsor wells, filters, and community training. We look forward to furthering this mission across the globe!