A group of kids standing in front of a lake and trees and mountains | Big City Mountaineers

Big City Mountaineers

Providing transformative experiences through nature that strengthen life skills and build community for youth from disinvested communities

For more than 30 years, Big City Mountaineers has acted on a core belief: that every person benefits from a personal connection to nature. Research confirms that meaningful experiences in nature reduce stress, improve our physical health, and lead to better education outcomes. These experiences enhance perseverance, problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, and teamwork. BCM focuses on bringing those benefits to youth in low-income communities and communities of color that face specific systemic challenges to greater access and opportunities in the outdoors.

“By providing free, fully-outfitted, and professionally led outdoor and backcountry trips, we’re able to give students ages 8 to 18 the opportunity to connect with nature and reconnect with their strengths, skills, and resilience,” says Executive Director David Taus.

Big City Mountaineers’ Work

BCM’s program season has four stages that all build to a successful experience. 

  • Introducing the program to students and their families through an orientation at our partner youth agency
  • Building skills and trust among the group in preparation for the expedition through single-day hiking opportunities, paddling lessons, or “camp life” trainings designed to facilitate self-reliance around fundamental needs on course. 
  • Multi-day expedition or an overnight camp. The experienced guidance of our course instructors ensures that students are engaged, supported, and given the most positive learning experience possible. 
  • Transferring the breakthroughs and learning the students achieved while on expedition to their life back home.  

Read more about Big City Mountaineers on Backpacker.

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