When I’m giving visitors tours of the BCM office in Denver, I make it a point to head downstairs, and into our garage, where we keep all of our gear for our summer trips: sleeping bags, rain gear, tents, socks, sleeping pads, stoves, backpacks and boots. I think that’s the place that people really connect the dots and understand what it is we do here at Big City Mountaineers.
I know my parents were supportive when I ditched a higher-paying cubicle job for a position at BCM, but I could definitely tell they were suspicious if I’d made the right choice. When they saw our office and our collection of several dozen used backpacks and our giant pile of sleeping bags, it finally made sense to them. I tell people, “We take inner-city kids backpacking,” but maybe they don’t understand that our kids show up at the office wearing basketball shorts, T-shirts and sneakers, and we completely outfit them for a week in the wilderness — thanks to our donors.
We recently received a delivery of 300 pairs of boots from the good folks at Merrell, which means all the feet we send tromping up trails in Colorado, California and the Pacific Northwest this summer are covered. Like I said, we completely outfit our kids — most of these boots, if not all of them, are someone’s first-ever pair of hiking boots.