Last summer, a friend and I decided to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. What I thought was going to be only a 4 mile hike turned into a 14 mile hike in the rain. Although I was resistant at first, this hike taught me more about the true depths of my mental and physical strength than any other moment in my life. Growing up in Colorado, I’ve always taken advantage of the endless opportunities to explore the outdoors, but never considered how not everyone has the same opportunity.
Now imagine how transformative a similar experience could be for a youth in an under-served community who may be exploring nature for the very first time. Big City Mountaineers (http://www.bigcitymountaineers.org) is a non-profit that takes under-resourced urban youth on wilderness mentoring expeditions that instill critical life skills. 63% of students who participate in BCM programs have never been out of their county line and 83% live below the poverty line. Through such programs, BCM has a proven track record of:
- Increasing likeliness to stay in school
- Reduction in violence,
- Reduction in drug use.
This summer I’ll be joining the Alumni Leadership Program on June 28th-July 4th where we will take students who have previously participated in a program on a backpacking trip and focus on developing leadership skills. In addition, in August, a group of 5 of my friends and I will be hiking a 14,000 foot mountain to help raise more awareness and donations for BCM.
So as you hike or bike this summer, why not support an urban youth so they can have the same opportunities?