BY FRANCISCO NAVARRO
No phones, no cards, no cash – Red Bull is your only currency to travel across Europe for a week, to get to one of its major cities, Amsterdam.
For the Young Dreamerz, a team formed by three UT students, this is a dream come true.
The team, created and led by Narenzo Kershaw a junior film major, also comprises Jomely Breton, a sophomore international business and marketing major, and Tyler Santos, a freshman business entrepreneurship major. They became finalists for the Red Bull ‘Can You Make It’ competition Tuesday, Feb. 20, by being one of the teams with the most votes in the Southeast region.
“This opportunity is huge, one of the biggest that has crossed my path,” Kershaw said. “If we win, the opportunity itself will expand our minds with the people we are going to meet and the whole experience is going to be like no other – a complete step out of our comfort zone.”
The social voting period ended on Feb. 20 and the results for the two winning teams come out on March 6. The amount of votes each team obtained only determines the top teams per region. Once finalists the winning teams are chosen by judges, regardless of the votes.
“Now that the public has spoken to choose their favorite teams,” said Erin Mand, Red Bull corporate communications officer. “The panel of judges will be selecting the most creative, funny, up-for-anything teams to head to Europe.”
Winning teams are flown to five different major cities in Europe: Madrid, Budapest, Manchester, Stockholm and Rome. Every team is required to hand over their phones, cards and cash in return for 24 cans of Red Bull. Throughout the way, teams have to complete as many tasks from the Adventure List and visit various checkpoints in European cities, where they are given more Red Bull cans to exchange. Teams have one week to use those cans as currency to travel from their starting point to the final destination: Amsterdam.
“Red Bull ‘Can You Make It’ is something that has literally changed my life,” Kate Wenzel, 25, University of Florida member of the 2014 participant team, The Beach Bull Blondies said. “It changed my perspective and the way I live my life because it puts you through so many highs and lows in just one week.”
Consisting of teams of three, more than 200 student teams are selected from around 60 different countries that participate in the competition. Each country is divided in regions that narrow down the competition for each team.
For each region two winning teams are selected. The UT Young Dreamerz are part the Southeast region of the U.S. and are waiting to hear if they are one of the two.
The Southeast region covers the states from North Carolina all the way down to Florida. Competing against more than 30 schools from the region, UT was the smallest one in student population and one of the finalists.
“It was hard because UT doesn’t have a big student population like other schools in the Southeast, but we did good,” said Tyler Santos, video editor for the team. “We spent days in UT trying to get votes from students, most of the votes were based on friends and family that re-shared the video and link.”
The most important application requirement is the video; it determines if a team will become a finalist and potentially a winner.
In no more than 60 seconds, the video needs to show the team’s personality, who they really are, and what it is that makes them interesting enough to be a part of this competition.
“Honestly, I think we really have a good chance,” Santos said. “I’ve seen other videos and they all are the stereotypical Red Bull video, adventure shots and no storyline, our video is different, our video sets us apart, it’s not just adventure clips put together, it has a storyline.”
The purpose of the competition is not about the first team to reach the final destination, but how they reach it. It is the adventures the teams have along the way that matter. Teams create their own path and score based on the Checkpoint Challenges, Adventure List tasks and Social Media following.
Wenzel and her team faced many diverse experiences on their journey. On the first day, with their marketing and bartering skills, they exchanged three Red Bulls for three airplane tickets to fly from Vienna to the Austrian Alps, one of the checkpoints of the 2014 competition.
“The hardest part for me was trying to remain mentally positive when all the odds are against you,” Wenzel said. “This experience really builds your character and shows you that anything you want to achieve in life is possible, not with luck but with determination.”
You can learn more about the contest through https://soundcloud.com/ctzee/movers-and-shakers-show-young-dreamerz-february-17th-2018
You can reach Francisco Navarro at firstname.lastname@example.org.