Today's Lesson: Learning There's No "I" In We
Water Bottles

Expedition Survival Tip

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but there are no showers in the Great Outdoors. Our advice: when possible stay upwind of others.

Program Types

Big City Mountaineers’ core program is a weeklong wilderness mentoring expedition for under-resourced teens that instills critical life skills. While we share industry best practices with other wilderness-based youth development programs, BCM is unique in its one-to-one ratio of adults to teens; a format that helps to transform our program into a meaningful mentoring experience. Among the benefits of BCM program design is that adult volunteers come from diverse backgrounds representing a wide range of life experiences. Our adult role models help teens become better equipped to make critical career, educational and healthy lifestyle decisions. For more about mentoring opportunities, click here.

BCM Weeklong Expeditions

  • Provide wilderness opportunities to under-resourced urban teens age 13 to 18
  • Cultivate relationships between teens and caring adult mentors
  • Offer a unique 1-to-1 ratio of adults to teens
  • Improve teen self-awareness and personal responsibility
  • Promote group development and effective communication
  • Celebrate gender differences by offering only single-gender expeditions
  • Partner with existing youth development agencies to better address the ongoing needs of under-resourced youth.
  • Deliver safe wilderness expeditions led by professional field instructors

Read through a virtual expedition for more details about a weeklong expedition.

Single-Day Programs

Single-day outings are outdoor activities in local parks, including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, snowshoeing and climbing. Single-day outings are used both before and after weeklong expeditions to begin and continue relationships between youth and adult mentors.

Overnight Programs (Colorado only)

Through 24-hour camping experiences BCM Overnight Camps provide youth, ages 8-12, with a safe and supportive environment to develop an increased sense of self, understanding of their place in the natural world, a passion for lifelong learning and, awareness of healthy lifestyles. Activities emphasize team-building and outdoor education to teach citizenship and teamwork. These activities allow campers to learn critical life skills, using the outdoors as a unique context for these lessons.

Campers learn the following while at camp:

  • Enhanced community values
  • Teamwork
  • Increased Sense of Self and Responsibility
  • Respect for the Outdoor World
  • Curiosity about nature and that being outdoors is fun

Do you have 24 hours to spend outdoors this summer mentoring eager young campers?

Volunteer at our Overnight Camps and help mentor 8-12 year old youth on their first camping experience. Volunteers participate in all camp activities, role modeling appropriate behavior, assist Overnight Camp Staff in leading games, and serve as mentors and positive examples to BCM students.

Peer Leader Program

The Peer Leadership program provides an opportunity for BCM alumni to assist adult mentors in the field on our weeklong wilderness mentoring programs. This provides our alumni with an opportunity to gain leadership and facilitation training in the field, and helps alumni to assume increasing responsibility in our programs.


Big City Mountaineers operates under special use permits from the USDA Forest Service and National Park Service, Big City Mountaineers is an equal opportunity service provider and employer.