The Mountaineers Programs
The Mountaineers cultivates a corps of 1,300 active, trained volunteers who lead or instruct more than 3,200 courses and activities annually. We get people outside by providing programs that are designed to engage people in a lifetime of outdoor pursuits. Our course instruction is integrated with training in low-impact recreation techniques, education in conservation issues, and opportunities to provide stewardship of recreation areas.
The vast majority of today’s youth use technology on a daily basis, but only 10% say they are spending time outdoors every day. And youth from diverse communities are even less likely to be engaged in the outdoors. To combat this trend, The Mountaineers launched programs in 2011 to provide youth with outdoor experiences. Youth programs encompass a suite of opportunities, the centerpiece being Mountain Workshops. These are delivered in partnership with local elementary schools, and community youth-serving organizations, such as foster care, sheltering agencies, and YMCAs. The program reaches underserved youth ages 6-19 and includes a flexible curriculum that integrates active participation in an outdoor recreation skill with instruction focused on outdoor safety and appreciation for the natural world.
The Mountaineers established Mountaineers Books to share its love of the outdoors with the publication of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Today, with more than 500 titles in print, Mountaineers Books -- along with its Skipstone and Braided River imprints -- publishes a variety of award-winning outdoor recreation, sustainable lifestyle, and conservation advocacy books.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
With a focus on outdoor education and life-skills building, The Mountaineers youth programs have produced impressive results in introducing young people to the benefits of outdoor recreation, including improved health, confidence, self-reliance and perseverance. Fueled by donor support and over 3,400 volunteer hours, our programs exceeded five-year goals in three years by growing 80% in 2013 to provide 4,207 youth outdoor experiences! But, we have so much more to do. Connecting youth with the outdoors is critical to their health and to the health of the natural landscape.
With the release of the "Legends & Lore" series, Mountaineers Books commits to keeping alive mountaineering literature's most seminal works. While some libraries and personal collections retain significant mountaineering books, Legends & Lore ensures that mountaineering literature will be widely available for everyone to access. Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest, explained the importance of retaining these written stories when he said, "As a mountaineer, you climb on the shoulders of your predecessors."
Donations to The Mountaineers Annual Fund will support youth education, conservation, volunteer development, and Legends & Lore books and programs.