Do you love BCM?

If you love our work then tell the world! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community. GreatNonprofits-a review site like TripAdvisor-is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2014 Top-Rated Awards. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes!

Go to to get started!

Training and fundraising combined: Jordan Duncan and Kyle Gerecke, Mexico Volcanoes

From Kyle and Jordan’s friend, Aaron Picar:

A couple good friends of mine, Kyle Gerecke and Jordan Duncan will be climbing the 18,410-foot Pico de Orizaba and 17,158 “Ixta” in Mexico to raise money for Big City Mountaineers.

They’ve got $7500 to raise and the money will fund backpacking and canoeing
trips for at-risk inner-city teens in Colorado, California, the Pacific Northwest and the Boundary Waters. All the participants come from youth agencies like College Track and The Boys & Girls Club. and help a bunch of teens spend a week in the mountains next summer, and hopefully alter the course of their lives. An $18 donation will pay for part of the costs of a teen to spend a week in the backcountry with some positive role models.

So to raise part of their money, Kyle and Jordan started climbing the courthouse steps at 3am. It’s about 54 steps and 32 feet.

I joined in at 1pm, really to provide moral support and get a good workout. What
resulted is quite possibly the most epic thing I’ve done.

By the time we finished at 7pm, I ended up going 6 hours, climbed the stairs 200
times, for about ten miles.

Kyle and Jordan climbed for 16 hours, 500 climbs, for 26 miles each. That’s a
marathon worth of steps. I’m in good shape, but these boys are in extreme

Most of the downtown businesses donated, telling us, “We’ve been watching you
all day,” as they put money in the donation box.


Interested in climbing the volcanoes in Mexico? There’s still time to sign up!

Journal Time

lulu in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in MN

Lulu (BCM Peer Leader) in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota

Here’s a poem written during journal time by Lulu, a peer leader on one of our Boundary Waters Expeditions this summer:

Life is a battlefield filled with all of the ups and downs I have faced over my lifetime.  It feels like a canoe portage.  Never knowing how steep, how long, and what every obstacle that is put ahead of me will be like.  My life goal is to think of every challenge of my life as if I am doing a portage with a canoe.  I have no choice but to finish what I started, but I do have someone behind me to help me when I am about to fall.   My teammates are there to bridge my canoe.  A Bridger in the Boundary Waters is a supporter back home.  They are there to stand up and support me when I need it.

Lulu is currently an intern with the National Park Service, and came back as a peer leader in 2014 after going on her first expedition last year. Want to help? There are many ways you can help teens like Lulu:

  1. Volunteer to be a mentor in 2015
  2. Climb with us!
  3. Make a donation today

Thanks for all of your support this year!


Michigan State University employee to embark on 3,100-mile long hike


MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities project representative Ken Dawson is set to tackle a 3100-mile long trail beginning on April 12, 2015.

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which Dawson plans to hike solo, is a vast, moderately dangerous and strenuous hiking trail running through the U.S. from Mexico to Canada.

Dawson, who is slated to retire in March, has served MSU as a faculty member for more than five years. As he nears his retirement date, Dawson decided to make plans for philanthropy when his time at MSU is finished. Dawson will be 64 when he starts his journey.

He chose to raise money for a non-profit organization called Big City Mountaineers. The organization aims to change “the lives of under-served urban youth through wilderness mentoring expeditions that instill critical life skills,” according to their website.

“I wanted to do something very compelling,” Dawson said. “I wanted to raise money through this organization and show how passionate I am about what I’m doing.”

Dawson said he chose the group because of his wilderness-oriented background. He attributes his strong affinity for the outdoors to the days when his parents took him camping and hiking — a tradition which he has carried on with his own children.

After one particularly moving family expedition in 1998, he decided to make hiking a large and frequent part of his life. Dawson and his family have not missed a trip for 18 years.

“We discovered a whole new fondness for exploring wild places and every year since we have made time to spend at least one week a year exploring new wilderness areas as a family,” Dawson said in a testimonial on Big City Mountaineers’ website.

Dawson said Big City Mountaineers “build confidence” and teach kids to realize they’re worth something.

“It was kind (of) a life changing event for all of us,” Dawson said. “I (began) looking for a group that took kids before they got bad.”

He will hike through five states during a period of 150 days; a trip which usually takes most of the people who attempt the trail each year a total of six months.

He’ll encounter various hazards within each segment of the trail. Dawson will hike through the parched miles of New Mexico, along with roughly 180 miles of snow and ice further into the Rocky Mountains.

Grizzly bears, river crossings, hypothermia, scarce water sources and lightning storms all lay in the trail ahead of Dawson. Aside from the vast physical obstacles, he’ll also be almost constantly isolated from human contact for five months.

“My wife is scared to death,” Dawson said. “I’ve got friends that said, ‘Ken, just think about (it), you’re doing 20 miles a day for 150 days straight.'”

Dawson has received support alongside apprehension from his friends, family and colleagues.

“People see the passion I have in what I’m doing,” Dawson said. “I wanted to have something that I could use all these skill sets (for) and find something with a humanitarian aspect.”

Dawson said the Big City Mountaineers have expressed full support of his expedition, offering to provide him with adequate hiking gear.

He hopes to record his travels through a blog his daughter will update; chronicling what he sees, if he runs into any people on the trail and his thoughts and feelings throughout the trip.

In the months leading up to the start of his trek along the Continental Divide, Dawson is collecting donations, which are tax-deductible, toward his goal of raising $25,000 to help urban youth. Though the hike will cost him personally approximately $10,000, all the money he raises through the support of donors will go to Big City Mountaineers.

As of press time, Dawson had raised $900 toward his goal.

“The money I raise I want to delegate to Michigan cities,” Dawson said. “(Cities such as) Grand Rapids, Detroit (and) Lansing.”

Post-trail, he hopes to join Big City Mountaineers as a mentor to the children who participate in the program, most of whom come from youth homes.

“No matter how bad things get, I can look back on this and build off it,” Dawson said.


Interested in doing a similar trip?  BCM can turn any mountain in to a Summit for Someone climb with one of the world’s finest guide services. Give us a call, tell us what you want to climb and we will make it happen!

Give us a call today at 303-271-9200 ext. 303, or email Darin.