Hiking group of young men Hiking group of young men

Youth Programs

Transformative experiences through nature

Week-long Expeditions

Our core program, a week-long wilderness expedition,  gives students an opportunity to experience both the beauty and challenges that the wild has to offer.

Alongside our supportive adult volunteers, students are taken out of their comfort zones and taught important life skills proven to positively impact their futures.

Our week-long expeditions:

  • Provide opportunities to students aged 13 to 18 to build a deep connection to the outdoors.
  • Offer a 1-to-1, student-to-adult ratio that provides opportunity for students to connect to caring adults.
  • Improve student self-awareness and responsibility skills.
  • Promote effective communication skills and group development.
  • Led by professional field instructors, skilled in risk management in a wilderness setting.

California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, & Washington

Overnight Camps

Our 24-hour camping experiences provide students ages 8 to 12 with a supportive environment where they can spend their first night under the stars. The program’s curriculum focuses on understanding:

  • Community values
  • Teamwork
  • Responsibility
  • Connection to the great outdoors


Program Progression


To compliment our week-long expeditions we offer 3-4 additional touch-points for students and youth agencies. Family Meeting: BCM staff go to youth agencies to meet with prospective students and families to discuss the expedition, learning objectives, answer questions, and calm fears. Students get to see the gear they’ll use, set up tents, and see pictures from past trips. Single-Day Programs: Through a variety of activities a targeted group of students begin to come together as a team. They are introduced to BCM curriculum elements on day-hikes, at canoe training, through team-building days, or other outdoor activities. When possible, students get to meet their mentors to start building a relationship that will be carried into the backcountry. End-of-Season Celebration: In early fall youth agencies, students, and mentors come back together to celebrate the accomplishments of the season. We tell stories, look at pictures, and help students solidify the lessons learned on-trail to carry to their lives back home.
Many of our youth agency partners participate on both Overnight Camps and Week-long Expeditions. This allows student multiple opportunities to participate with Big City Mountaineers, first as campers, then on backpacking trips, and eventually as peer-leaders and staff. Our hope is to replicate this Colorado model in our other regions, we’ll be piloting this model in Minnesota next.
Big City Mountaineers youth who have participated on an expedition may choose to come back as Peer Leaders. This vital role allows these students to step up in leadership and function as a member of the adult team. Additional opportunities exist in scholarship partnership with NOLS and Outward Bound for more intensive wilderness experiences.

Get Involved With Our Programs

Head To Our Frequently Asked Questions Page for More Information

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