Climbing the Grand Teton to provide under-resourced kids with outdoor adventures
Late in 2016 I was driving out to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park listening to a podcast called MtnMeister. The host was interviewing Jeff Weidman, board member for a non-profit organization called Big City Mountaineers (BCM). BCM's mission is to transform the lives of under-resourced youth through wilderness mentoring expeditions. They provide outdoor opportunities to kids who otherwise might never get out into nature. Jeff told the story of one trip he led - he'd gotten out of his tent at night to go to the bathroom, then laid back on a rock to look at the stars. One of the kids on the trip got out of his tent and came over to where Jeff was and asked "what are you doing?". Jeff simply answered by pointing upwards to the sky. The kid looked up and exclaimed in amazement "What are those?!". Stars. He had never seen a starry sky.
Click the arrow above to hear the story.
I started thinking about all the adventures I've taken in my life, all the starry skies I've seen, and I realized how lucky I was to have those experiences. I couldn't stop thinking about that kid who'd never seen a sky full of stars before.
That's when I decided to sign up for a Summit for Someone climb. Summit for Someone is a charity climb benefiting Big City Mountaineers. Each year they offer several professionally guided climbs up some of the world's most recognizable mountains. Those who sign up commit to raising money for BCM through their climb.
I raised over $4,000 for Big City Mountaineers. Their programs don't just get kids outside for a hike - their kids learn about integrity, decision making, self esteem, and communication. Kids that may want to quit on the first day sometimes end up leading the trip by the end of the week.
On July 9, 2017, I stood on the summit of The Grand Teton. After 7 months of fundraising, training, and planning, I had achieved my goal.
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