Leaders Program

increasing equitable youth access & Diversity in outdoor leadership

A common question BCM youth participants ask at the end of their experience is: “what’s next?” Our Leaders Program offers BCM alumni an opportunity to advance their outdoor leadership skills, enhance their technical skills and access career pathways in the outdoor industry.

As a part of their year long engagement as Leaders, youth participate in career exploration discussions with outdoor industry leaders, attend skill-building workshops, participate in an advanced cohort-specific backcountry expedition, support other BCM programs as peer leaders and represent BCM at events.

All Leaders will receive scholarship and a full gear package to support their advancement of exploring the outdoors. Operated in-house, this selective program is only open to BCM alumni ages 16+. The Leaders Program is being piloted in BCM’s California and Colorado regions in 2023, with plans to expand nationwide in 2024.

program pillars

community building

The BCM program model harnesses the power of the outdoors to build community among youth. Leaders will take the next step in making connections and building their networks while advancing their skills as individuals and as a leadership cohort.  Leaders will transition from consuming the BCM experience to creating it for their younger peers, and in so doing become empowered to do similar elsewhere.

SUpport for Equity

A core focus of the Leaders Program will be to provide selected participants with the material and social resources to thrive as emerging leaders in the outdoor recreation economy. Leaders receive both gear and financial scholarships to support their journey and growth,  are invited to engage in organization wide conversations and events, and have an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the projects and initiatives in which BCM is engaged.

advanced training

This program will offer participants a chance to expand their technical skills and knowledge of the outdoors. 

  • Advanced backcountry expeditions
  • Wilderness First Aid Certification
  • Facilitation & Public Speaking
  • Risk Management
  • Leadership Skills

career exploration

Participants in the Leaders Program will be introduced to professionals in the outdoor industry and explore multiple potential career pathways in the outdoor recreation economy. Through career exploration, career-specific workshops and networking, the program serves as a “grow your own” model by which we might achieve increased representation and equity in this space.

get involved

Applications for the Leaders Program are only open to BCM expedition alumni, and currently is only being offered in selected regions. 

The 2024 Leadership Program applications have closed. We expect to open applications for the 2025 Leaders cohort in late fall 2024.  Contact Interim Program Director David Lee with any questions at david.lee@bigcitymountaineers.org. 

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