What CAN’T Kids Do??? The 2021 LET GROW INDEPENDENCE CHALLENGE WINNERS

Ladies and gentlemen — these are the kids who MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! Check out this inspiring video:

Let Grow’s Second Annual Independence Challenge asked for photos and videos of kids doing something new, on their own, and — look! Give kids the green light and they are unstoppable.

Our First Prize Winner, Tucker Nicholson, lives in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he “took it upon himself to configure his own rappel station using equipment from the garage in a tree in our front yard,” wrote his mom, Brittany. The kid is 6! “He enjoyed teaching other kids in the neighborhood how to safely rappel down the tree after figuring it out for himself.” For his ingenuity, generosity and spidey skills, Tucker wins $300.

Tucker Nicholson, Grand Prize Winner

Isabella Oey, age 9, “followed a recipe and altered it on the fly and learned to use her instincts to correct the flavors in this cake. She used the mixer and oven all by her self to make this wonderful tasty treat,” wrote her dad, James. Isabella, in Alameda, California, is one of our two runner ups, winning $100.

Isabella Oey, runner up

Our other runner up is Sofia Yengst, age 9, in Boise, Idaho. Wrote Sofia:

“I have always dreamed to being an architect. I have spent the summer using broken tree logs, falling trees, sticks, leaves and mud. I have created large teepee village that we can escape and go play in that is close to home. This is my new ‘summer home’ to play in without my Mom and Dad. I can build, imagine and do it all on my own.”

Now she has a $100 Let Grow prize to furnish her digs!

Sofia Yengst, Runner Up

But boy was it hard to choose just three winners!

Utah mom Krista Whipple wrote: “My kids are entering as a group and plan to spit the prize if they win since they have worked together on this little business all summer. They are 9, 8 and 6. Each of them found $5 in golden Easter eggs this year. They decided together to pool the money to buy a case of sodas and started selling them on the corner of our street. They made $85 on their first day!”

Any entrepreneur would love that spread.

Adayan Terrin & Sonnet Penny

Fourteen-year-old Isaac Witters of Kansas caught a giant rainbow trout. His dad, Jeff Witters, wrote, “I’m not a fisherman, but taught him the basics years ago. Five years ago he really caught the fishing bug and now it’s all he wants to do. We were camping in Glacier National Park last month and we’ve worked on independence for a long time, so all he needed was a brief reminder about possible dangers (sudden dropoffs underwater, bear presence on the far shore, etc.). Then we let him go fish, knowing we are confident in his ability to manage himself in an unsupervised wildish place. Coming back from a Ranger talk with my youngest, I was met by my middle child who had run a long way, calling, ‘Isaac caught a big one and wants you to see!’ We finally found him waiting patiently with the fish in moving water. He netted it up and I got this photo of a proud boy.”

Isaac Witters

Kids cooked for the family, collected food for local pantries, cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, planted flowers, sang while vacuuming, taught a sister to sweep, a brother to solder, and gathered sap for maple syrup. One Montana mama just couldn’t contain her pride and wrote to us about her son, Xander Baumeister:

Xander Baumeister

“I’ve actually been a LetGrow fan since the very beginning and raised both kids with this philosophy. They are now 18 and 21 and are shocked how little their peers know how to do or can do or have done. I’m sharing this picture as I so love what happened in these 8 years as my little boy became a man. At 12, he started volunteering in the local bike shop and now at 21 is assistant manager of one of the most premier bike shops in North America. I’m mostly sharing to reinforce your message, not actually as a contest submission.”

Message reinforced!

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about Clark Nicholson, who now catches his own dinner, with a spear. Clark is FIVE.

Clark Nicholson

His sister Riley got to take the gears and fly a plane for 15 minutes. Riley is TEN.

Dante Rozanska Lokken, age 14, “made supper for the first time completely on his own using a recipe from TikTok – home made cheese ravioli with his own tomato sauce. Dante has ADHD & has been in foster care but he overcame his lack of confidence to do it. I’m not writing that to make anyone feel sorry for him. I was just so proud & he did it with his usual jokes.” His baby sister loved it and wanted more.

Dante Rozanska Lokken

So do we! If you want to share more pictures of your kids being amazing, please join our Facebook page. Raising Independent Kids and share away! Inspire us!

Meantime, CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THESE LET GROW INDEPENDENCE CHALLENGE KIDS — and the parents who stepped back so they could step up!