Big City Mountaineers

Outdoor Foundation

Big City Mountaineers (BCM) is a national nonprofit organization that provides transformative experiences through connections to nature that strengthen life skills and build community for youth from historically disinvested communities.

BCM offers programs in six major metropolitan areas across the United States, including Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota. In partnership with local youth agencies and schools in our program areas, we shape the nature and content of our programs uniquely to the youth we work with depending on their contexts and needs. Through a scaffolded approach to our programming, we ensure young people are introduced to the outdoors in a way that is accessible for them - starting off with a day hike, then an overnight frontcountry experience, and ending with our flagship week-long backcountry expedition. BCM’s trips are professionally-led, fully-outfitted, and free of cost to youth.

At BCM, we strongly believe that the outdoors isn’t just a place to go - it's a place to grow. We harness the transformative power of nature to support our youth participants to build self-esteem, connection with community, and find joy in time spent with nature. We know that time outside results in higher well-being, a sense of belonging in the world and society around us, and a strengthening of life skills. While opportunities for outdoor recreation abound in the United States, systemic inequities in our society have created barriers to outdoor access for historically disinvested communities. We work to break down such barriers for these youth, with the aim to cultivate a generation that takes care of their well-being, of the nature around them, and of their communities.

After a backpacking trip in Montana in 1989, Jim Kern was inspired to share the power of nature with youth who face barriers to accessing the outdoors. For more than 30 years, BCM has supported young people to harness their own power and connection to nature nation-wide.

There are many ways to get involved with BCM, like in our Adventure for Someone program. Serving as our flagship peer-to-peer fundraising program, individuals and groups can go on an adventure of their choice (hiking, camping, swimming, yoga, etc.), register their adventure on our website, and rally their friends to donate to their campaign! Depending on the amount of money raised in a campaign, AFS’ers can qualify to win some cool swag like a Yeti cooler or camping tent! If you’re ready to learn more and register an AFS campaign for BCM, click here.

To learn more about BCM, head over their website here: