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GIVING BACK Ding At-Risk th Find iheir Way by Stephanie Lesser To say Jim Kern loves the outdoors is an understatement. trip in 1989, BCM continues to host teens on a one-to-one This wildlife photographer, lecturer and writer is an avid hiker ratio with caring adult mentors. Most trips host 5 teens and and backpacker who founded the Florida Trail Association 5 adult volunteers of a single gender. (1966) and co-founded the American Hiking Society (1978). In 1989, he sought to combine this passion for the outdoors with his other passion—giving back to the community. This "BCM has become the nation's leading marked the beginning of Big City Mountaineers (BCM). wilderness mentoring organization and makes a profound difference in the lives It all started with a single backpacking trip in Montana. Jim invited one underprivileged Miami teen to join him, his of nearly 1,000 under-served urban youngest son, Drew, and another adult on a wilderness youth each year." adventure. Needless to say, the trip was a huge success. Since then, BCM has become the nation's leading wilder- ness mentoring organization and makes a profound differ- While the BCM office moved to Colorado years ago, there ence in the lives of nearly 1,000 under-served urban youth are thriving programs around the country including the Cali¬ each year. fornia bay area, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Florida and more. Locally, BCM has a group of volunteers in Miami Most teens who participate in BCM are from families that that help with local youth agencies and fundraising efforts. live below the poverty line. BCM's mission is to help these One such fundraiser is a charity golf tournament held each teens realize their potential by helping them build self-es¬ year in Miami. All proceeds go directly toward taking Miami teem, responsibility, decision-making abilities and commu¬ youth on the BCM wilderness trip. The 11th annual tourna¬ nication skills. And BCM's efforts have had a huge payoff: ment will be held in 2013. BCM teens show a reduction in violence and drug use, and an increased likelihood of staying in school. To learn more about BCM or how to get involved, contact your local BCM Advisory Board member, Drew Kern, at BCM's core program is a week-long wilderness expedition kern.d@ewm.com or visit www.bigcitymountaineers.org. that exposes urban youth to the beauty and challenges of the outdoors. During the trip, teens build a relationship with their mentor and learn critical life skills. And just like that first 106 J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2013 S O U T H F L O R I D A L U X U R Y G U I D E . C O M


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