GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — Since 1989, the Golden-based nonprofit Big City Mountaineers has been introducing inner city kids to camping and the outdoors.
It’s a long way from Denver to Medicine Bow, Wyoming. It is like two different planets.
“It’s the same planet, and I think that’s the point,“ David Taus, Big City Mountaineers executive director said.
This is where Big City Mountaineers come in. The nonprofit takes kids living in an urban jungle and introduces them to a mountain forest.
”To have them realize that they are part of the natural order. That this is a place that they can go. That there is a connection to it, expand their horizons and I think that’s really powerful,” Taus said.
Fifteen percent of kids participating in 2017 have been exposed to gang violence, 44% are from a single-parent household and 82% live below the poverty line.
”We provide fully outfitted backpacking trips for kids who normally don’t have the opportunity to go,” Taus said.
All the logistics, all the gear, expert instructors and a curriculum. Some trips last up to a whole week. There is no cost to the child.
“I think this experience is a really powerful way to help kids increase their belief in themselves, find their voice, build some resilience,“ Taus said.
Taus said the effect and sometimes life changing experience really does, change a life.
“We have evidence that this increases their ability to perform well in school and to relate to one another back home,” Taus said.
Speaking of back home, every camper is given a brand new pair of hiking shoes and socks, for the road traveled, and the trail ahead.