Stay Stoked Award

Why did we create the Stay Stoked Award?

Whatever path you take after high school, your journey as a member of the Wayfinder Society is valued and we want this award to help you STAY STOKED!!

What’s the Stay Stoked Award?

Algalita created this award to support Wayfinders who are dedicated to continuing their education and action within the movement to end plastic pollution.

We want this award to help you fund your higher education (formal or informal), community projects, internships and networking opportunities in the fields of plastic pollution, environmental or social justice, policy, science, the list goes on!

What’s the prize?

In 2021, $15,000 will be awarded to Wayfinders! The funds awarded must be applied to your higher education, projects, or other opportunities you state in your application. 

Apply for the Stay Stoked Award if you’re in the graduating class of ’20 or ‘21. If you’re in middle school or high school and are not a graduating senior, apply for the MiniStoke Award to keep your Wayfinder journey powered up!

See Award and Application Details below.

Application Timeline

  • Application instructions released in February 2021.
  • Application period begins Monday, March 1, 2021. 
  • Application deadline is 5:00 pm PT Monday, June 14th, 2021. 
  • Winners announced mid-September 2021. Potential recipients may be contacted for a one-on-one phone or video call interview with judges.

Award and Application Details

What do I win if I receive the Stay Stoked Award?

We will be awarding a total of $14,000 to Stay Stoked Award recipients. Prize minimum is $500, no maximum!

Each winner will also receive:

  • A limited edition Stay Stoked Award winner pin. 
  • Social media coverage on Algalita’s social media channels.
  • The opportunity to contribute to a blog post on the Wayfinder Society website.
Am I eligible for the Stay Stoked Award?

To be eligible for the Stay Stoked Award, applying Wayfinders must be:

  • In the graduating high school class of ‘20 or ‘21, or receiving GED credentials (or equivalent).
  • No older than 20 years old on the application deadline.
  • A participating member of Wayfinder Society who has accumulated at least 100 Cairns.
  • Currently working to end plastic pollution in your local community, region, state, or on a national/international scale.

The Stay Stoked Award is open to Wayfinder applicants from any country in the world! You do not need to continue on to university or college to be eligible to receive the Stay Stoked Award!  You can be working on a project after high school, doing an internship, entering the working world, or pursuing another opportunity. We encourage you to find your own path! 

The Wayfinder Society and Stay Stoked Award do not discriminate against its applicants based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

*If you are in middle school or high school and are not a graduating senior, you are eligible to apply for the MiniStoke Award – see special instructions below.*

What are the selection criteria for the Stay Stoked Award?

Every Wayfinder’s journey is unique, we encourage you to be true to yourself during this application process!  Our judges look at the following criteria when choosing award recipients:

Recipients must have participated in Wayfinder Society’s online program, accumulating a minimum of 100 Cairns.  You must have completed Waymarks in all four categories (i.e. Stargazer, Adventurer, Visionary, Legend).  The 100 Cairns must have been earned on an individual basis, not through group participation (i.e. taking credit for other participant’s Cairns in the program.)

Recipients are committed to continuing their work to prevent plastic pollution after high school, through furthering their education or conducting projects on a local, regional, national, or international scale.  Example areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Zero Waste
  • Social Justice
  • Environmental Justice
  • Philosophy
  • Social Science
  • Marketing/
  • Business Communications
  • Policy
  • Chemistry
  • Science
  • We encourage Wayfinders to apply no matter what your area of focus is, as long as you can relate it to ending plastic pollution!

Recipients must have:

  • Shown their desire for systemic change.
  • Demonstrated their thirst for deeper knowledge.
  • Proven to us that you want to stay stoked

Applicants must submit a typed essay explaining why they should be a recipient of the award (1,500 words max).  This essay should include, but is not limited to:

  • A summary of your community service projects (600 word max). If you haven’t completed any community service projects please highlight actions you have taken from participating in Wayfinder Society’s Waymarks.
  • Why are you involved in the plastic pollution movement, what is your backstory?
  • What have you learned and gained from participating in Wayfinder Society?
  • How will you use the funds you receive from the award? (If you have a specific dollar amount request for award funds for a project or education needs, please provide the dollar amount and an explanation of how it will be used. Documentation of how the Award funds are spent will be required.)
Are there any additional application requirements for the Stay Stoked Award?

In addition to your essay and other information you include in your application, you will need to provide the following. Please read these additional requirements carefully before starting your application.  

  • Your application must include a letter from your primary reference.  Your primary reference is an adult who has an understanding of your work to solve plastic pollution and can vouch for you.  Basically you want this person to give you a glowing review! This letter should not exceed 600 words.  Examples of primary references include teachers, mentors, school counselors, youth program representatives, coaches, politicians, business leaders, religious leaders, etc.
  • You must also include two additional adult letters of recommendation.  These letters should not exceed 500 words per letter.
  • Your family members cannot act as your primary reference or participate in writing the other two letters of recommendation.
  • Everything included in your application is considered public information once submitted and you should not include private or privileged information.
  • You must submit proof that you graduated high school, or GED credentials (or equivalent), and provide contact information for an administrator at your school for verification.

We will be providing an application template for you to use to make sure your application is complete.

What are the details for the MiniStoke Award? (What if I'm not graduating high school this year?)

If you are in middle school or high school and are not a graduating senior, you are eligible to apply for the MiniStoke Award! For the ‘20-’21 school year, $1,000 will be awarded to Wayfinders through the MiniStoke Award.  

  • You must have accumulated at least 50 Cairns by the application deadline.
  • The funds awarded must be applied to your projects or other opportunities you state in your application.  
  • Prize maximum is $250 per award recipient. 
  • Each MiniStoke Award winner will get a limited edition Stay Stoked Award pin.

In February, we will be posting the application form. Email questions to


If you have any questions about the Stay Stoked Award, email us at

“Remember to always make it fun, and to always stay stoked!!”


– Doshi, The Gnarly Beach Cleaner

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