Read how the outdoors transformed BCM youth, Yana
Yana learned about Big City Mountaineers through the Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue, Washington. When we first met Yana, she was a junior in high school with low self-confidence. Yana faced some struggles and inconsistencies at home and she was seeking a positive social outlet. Her agency leader, Masao, selected her as a good fit for the Big City Mountaineers backpacking expedition to introduce her to something new and to build her confidence. The week of the trip Yana tried backing out, worried she was not capable of completing the trip. Luckily, Masao was there to reassure her and convince her to give backpacking a try.
The first two days Yana wasn’t very excited and didn’t show a desire to be there. However, the third day she started turning a corner and on summit day she was full of excitement! Reaching the top of the mountain gave Yana a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that she could achieve whatever she set her mind to.
Yana on a day hike she planned for her friends after her BCM expedition.
Today, Yana is a different person. Masao says that he’s seen her exude a lot of pride and confidence since backpacking with BCM. The mentors on the trip played a significant role in that transformation. Yana thrives off of being able to do something as a family unit, and on the trip the group began to resemble a family. The bond has remained strong; in fact, a snowshoeing reunion has been planned by the 10 students and mentors who participated on the expedition!
Yana has not only grown in her confidence but also her appreciation of the outdoors. When we last spoke with Masao, Yana was in the midst of planning a hike for her friends – something she never would have done before the trip! She has even asked to return to BCM as a peer mentor in 2017 to help other students who may be struggling adjusting to their trip. The transformation in Yana is undeniable — she is doing better in school, planning outdoor activities in her free time, and now works part-time for the Boys and Girls Club!