Each summer, Denver Kids and Big City Mountaineers (BCM) link arms and take our students on the expedition of a lifetime. Students, along with their Educational Counselor and a BCM “Summit for Someone” volunteer guide, climb one of North America’s most challenging peaks while learning critical life and wilderness skills, and gaining invaluable leadership lessons. The journey to the summit is both physically and mentally demanding—and the experience is nothing short of transformative.
Prior to the BCM trip, Mychael, a Freshman at Colorado Charter High School, was quiet and reserved. He often refrained from raising his hand in class and participating in group discussions. Even when something was wrong, he rarely spoke up. When Mychael agreed to join his Denver Kids Educational Counselor, Jordan Evans, on BCM’s week-long mountaineering excursion, it marked a major turning point. “I knew this trip would be really good for him,” explained Jordan.
He was right.
Every night, when campers sat around the fire to discuss the day and how challenges were conquered, Mychael was the first to share. When team leaders needed assistance, Mychael was the first to volunteer. When it was time to set up or strike camp, Mychael enthusiastically helped. “It was like watching a flower bloom,” said Jordan. “The trip just completely changed him,” he continued.
When asked about his BCM experience, Mychael shared that it was the first time he felt like himself. “I’m so free outside. This is the happiest I’ve ever been,” he said. Michael also discovered the joy of daily journaling and for the first time expressed, “After given the chance to write, I want to be a writer.”
Today, just a few weeks in to the start of the new school year, Mychael has carried the lessons of the great outdoors with him into the classroom and at home. He’s raising his hand a little bit more and even volunteering to do things around the house.