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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Milwaukee's Extreme Moms

Bold actions raise money for good causes

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In less than a year, the Milwaukee-based group Extreme Moms has made a name for itself by doing incredibly intense things to raise money for charity: They've rappelled down the side of the Downtown Hilton for the Special Olympics and jumped from an airplane for Adaptive Action Sports, to name just two. Founding members Sarah Anne Minella, Christal Meredith-Korfhage, Rachel Neal and Anita Filips Reed talk about adventure, motherhood and living life to the extreme.

What led you to start Extreme Moms?


Minella
: It started on a trip to Washington, D.C. I was looking at an in-flight magazine that had a sort of "bucket list" and I realized I wanted to do everything on the list. I started to wonder how I could do all of those things, and why I wasn't doing those things—both by myself and with my kids. Then I realized that I wished my kids had known the "me" before I had them: the one that was adventurous. I started talking to Christal about forming a group that would do all of these cool things.

Meredith-Korfhage
: I've always been the type of person who's had a fire inside when it came to adventure. I lost a sister several years ago and I realized that life is fleeting and there's a lot of stuff I still want to do. I don't want to have regrets that I didn't show these things to my son.

What is the relationship between the activities you do as a group and motherhood?


Minella
: I think when you have a child, hormonally and instinctually, your body changes. You have this fear, and it's supposed to be there to protect your child. But I think it translates into something that's not so healthy if you hold on to it for too long.

Neal
: We remember that feeling that they need us so much we can't take any kind of risk. It's a safe place for us to be.

Filips-Reed
: Just because a woman becomes a mother, she does not lose sight of her dreams and passions. I believe her children need to see and feel that. I want my children to know their mother as fearless at loving them and living life. I want them to see their mother find the balance in her life between life, family, faith and adventure.

What would you say you're ultimately teaching your children?

Minella
: I would say to face your fears.

Meredith-Korfhage
: And that you can't be stagnant. Let's show them how to set some dreams up. People say all the time, "Well, one day I would love to do this." Do it now.

Neal
: Otherwise the examples we're setting are, "Mom's really good at folding laundry," or, "She sure puts a nice dinner on the table." Are we setting an example of humanitarian work and care for our communities and other women? Are we supporting those in similar situations? Are we having empathy for those around us?