When I was a kid, my family camped all the time. These excursions were normally at campsites, either in forests or at the beach, so they weren’t as hard-core as a lot of families like to do, but my childhood was also filled with swimming in the ocean, climbing trees, fishing in lakes, riding horses and bikes, and running through fields.
I never really thought the fact that most kids don’t do that any more until recommended The Last Child in the Woods to me last year. But it’s true that nature is becoming more and more abstract, less and less accessible, to each new generation. And it very well could be to the detriment of kids’ health and everyone’s environmental consciousness.
Some kids will always have access to nature, but many more — the ones who can benefit most from facing and learning from the challenges that the wilderness offers — just don’t have the resources. And that’s where Big City Mountaineers comes in.
I have been deeply inspired by the work that BCM is doing, provides mentoring and wilderness programs to at-risk youth, focused on building character, resiliency, and decision-making skills. (They have information on the effectiveness of their programs on their website, as well as videos like this one featuring graduates of their programs.) And that inspiration is even more powerful because Summit for Someone — the BCM fundraiser that I’m participating in — has helped me rediscover my own love of nature and the confidence boosts that come from tackling nature’s challenges.
For a long time, this process was about getting physically ready to climb — hopefully to summit — Mt. Hood. And in 17 days — SEVENTEEN DAYS — I may reach the summit or I may not, for reasons that may or may not be within my control. But no matter what, I win, because I’m helping so many others. And I’ve almost reached my fundraising goal of $2500.
If you’re inspired to help, please do so…
- here (tax-deductible for you), or
- here (matched 100% by my employer).
I’ll definitely be able to add all donors’ names to my t-shirt for donations received by June 7 — after that, I’ll do what I can!
Thank you so much to everyone who has already pitched in; your encouragement has meant more to me than I can express.
Cross-posted on my new mountaineering blog, where I also share skinned knees and n00b mistakes. Thanks for putting up with the occasional off-topic post here.