• Posted on: April 29, 2011

BCM Trip Info

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Big City Mountaineers

(BCM) provides an outdoor team mentoring experience for under-resourced teens that positively impacts their beliefs with regard to age/ethnic diversity, self-esteem, environmental awareness, and interpersonal relationships.

Each BCM trip places four volunteer adult leaders with five teens and an adult from the teens’ youth organization. We do not expect every teen to become a backpacker or every leader a social worker, but for these few days, everything else in the world is on pause. This is a time for the teens and their adult mentors to teach and learn with each other far away from the normal constraints of life.

Each mountaineering trip has roughly the same itinerary. The trips are unique in their details, but there is a system and timeline that is followed by each BCM team.

The first day brings the team together as teens and adults converge in one of BCM’s program cities. Once everyone is together, the team picks up necessary gear and food. After the gear and food are allotted, the team drives to a condo, hotel or campground (depending on location) where they will stay for this first night. After settling in, dinner is arranged and the evening is spent getting to know each other.

The second day is a preparation and travel day. Teens learn how to set up their tents and pack their backpacks. The leaders check everyone’s supplies before loading the van and departing civilization. At the end of today’s drive is a campground near the trailhead which serves as the departure point for this BCM backcountry trip.

The third day is a day of dedicated hiking. For the next five days, this group of teens and adults is a self-contained unit, carrying everything they need on their backs. The morning is usually a long one as the teens get used to their packs and the thin mountain air. Lunch is a welcome break and the afternoon’s hike is usually a bit shorter. After the camp is organized and everyone has eaten, there is usually time for stories or fun before everyone falls into a well-deserved sleep.

Day four is another day of backcountry travel. Today is much like day 3, except that the team has a better idea of what to expect from each other, and most get into a groove and enjoy the hiking and scenery around them. The destination for today is a good campsite to settle in to for the next two nights.

Day five is an activity day with time to explore without the weight of full packs. Camp is usually set close to a lake that offers fishing and swimming, and/or a peak to climb. This down time also offers the team a chance to share in group activities and practice skills like journal writing, orienteering, or fly-fishing.

The sixth day sees the team begin the hike back towards civilization. Depending on the trail, this means either retracing day 4’s steps or following the trail further to complete a loop back to the van.

The morning of day seven, the teens are almost always up and packed before their leaders for the hike back to the van. Once back at the hotel/condo, the gear is cleaned and everybody is able to take a much-anticipated shower. In the evening there is an awards dinner where the teens are commended for their accomplishments on the trip. Everyone talks about the incredible feats and the majestic scenery of the past five days. Afterwards, some time is taken to write thank you cards to individuals and companies who helped sponsor the trip.

On the last day everyone heads for home. On the way back to the airport/youth center the gear is returned to the gear storage area for the next trip. Good-byes and congratulations are passed around and final pictures are taken.

Click here to learn more about or volunteer for the Big City Mountaineers Program

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