Adventure Fundraising: Add Meaning to Your Thru-Hike and Get a Free FarOut Guide

 Disclaimer: Linnea Delucchi works for Big City Mountaineers

A thru-hike is a wonderful way to escape from the 9-5 grind, slow down, and really, really immerse yourself in nature. Most thru-hikers probably agree that everyone should do a thru-hike at some time in their life — if they are able.

It is hard to deny that being able to do a thru-hike takes a certain amount of privilege. Not everyone can afford the gear and time it takes to plan and multi-week or multi-month trek. In fact, accessing the outdoors at all is its own privilege. People from various communities face barriers to entry. Think: gear, money, transportation, time, knowledge… the list goes on.

However, there are ways to increase access to the outdoors so that more people can enjoy everything it has to offer. In fact, there are ways to increase access while spending time outdoors yourself! That’s where Big City Mountaineers (BCM) and Adventure Fundraising comes in.

The TL:DR is – if you fundraise for Big City Mountaineers on your thru-hike this year, you can receive a free FarOut guide! 

About Big City Mountaineers

BCM is headquartered in Colorado’s Front Range. The organization also has regional hubs on both coasts and several locations in between.  They serve communities on the ancestral territories the Ute and Arapahoe, (Denver, CO), the Sioux and Anishinibawaki (Minneapolis, MN), the Ohlone, Ramaytush, Chochenyo, and Muwekma (San Francisco Bay Area), the Duwamish (Seattle, WA), the Massachusett and Pawtucket (Boston, MA), and the Muscogee Creek and Shawnee (Birmingham, AL).

BCM Programming

BCM has been providing outdoor experiences for youth from disinvested communities for 35 years. The youth served have faced increased barriers to outdoor access and are demographically underrepresented in outdoor spaces. BCM is here to change that.  Since 1990, the nonprofit has provided over 45,000 nights under the stars to over 11,000 youth who might not have otherwise had such an opportunity.

During BCM’s programming, youth participants go on a day hike, a front country overnight, and a week-long expedition. This approach helps them feel comfortable in the outdoors as they spend more time outside on each trip.

BCM partners with local youth agencies so youth participants can experience the outdoors with their friends and adults who are familiar to them. Each familiar face is one less unknown in what can be a very new and different experience. It also means kids can share experiences with people they already have relationships with. It allows them to focus on their relationship with the outdoors as well. 

Adventure for Someone

As with any nonprofit, BCM has to fundraise a lot to support its staff and programming. One of the ways they do this is their Adventure for Someone (AFS) program. AFS is a fully customizable opportunity to combine any outdoor activity with a fundraising goal of any amount.

In the thru-hiking world, this looks like, well, HIKING. Whether it is a thru-hike or a variety of day hikes, anything can be turned into an Adventure for Someone. One guy hiked across the United States eating only Subway as an AFS! You really can do anything.

Perks of doing an AFS

This year, anyone who fundraises for BCM on their thru-hike gets a free FarOut guide of their choice. All you have to do is register for an Adventure for Someone on BCM’s website, set up your fundraising page, and reach out to [email protected]. They will set up with your free guide.

In addition to that, BCM offers incentives once you reach certain fundraising amounts. Once you hit the $500 mark, you get to pick from gear that includes wool socks, ski goggles, mosquito repellants and more! At the $1000 mark, you are looking trekking poles, backpacks, and other rad gear, all the way to the $5000 tier. Plus, anyone who donates at least $100 gets entered into a drawing to win a gear package. So much gear!

Finally, this year Every Man Jack is pledging to match every AFS donation up to $25,000! So you donation goes twice as far.

Why you should do it

Fundraising can be daunting, but when it is for a cause that you believe in, it actually becomes quite easy. You can post on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok and share with your community. Let them know you are fundraising for a good cause. People can follow you on your journey as you train and as you hike as well. It’s a fun way to set goals (for example, $500 by 500 miles) and get people engaged in your thru-hike. BCM even supplies you with a fundraising tool kit to help you reach out to your community. They get it, fundraising can be awkward, but it can also be really, really worth it. 

Holding your own or donating to an existing Adventure for Someone (AFS) campaign is an opportunity to harness your passions for the outdoors to extend the benefits of nature to today’s generation of young people, particularly those who face increased and systemic barriers to equitable access.

100 percent of proceeds support Big City Mountaineers’ youth programs. Running these programs are expensive – see the cost chart in the photo – so every dollar counts. Your fundraiser will make a difference! Email [email protected] with any questions. 

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