BAWT’s 10 Year Anniversary!
Ten years, ten years, T-E-N years! Is that possible? When a few boxes of backpacks and sleeping bags arrived at the Earth Island Institute offices in early April of 1999 – just over a month before our very first Wilderness Leadership Training – I thought to myself, “Wow, this is happening!” I imagined the day when we might reach 1,000 youth. It felt a long way away. We served 317 youth that first year. Amazingly, not only are we now serving over 2,000 youth in a single year, if the stars align we may get young person number 10,000 outdoors in this, our tenth, year!
To celebrate this anniversary of our first decade, as well as our new headquarters in Oakland, we’re throwing a BAWT Birthday BASH! But more than just a party, we’ll be launching a number of new, youth-worker focused, online and offline programs to mark this exciting milestone. Our Richard Louv Mini-Grants Program will get off the ground. A YouTube channel, with two new short films, will premier at the party. We’ll launch a new Climbing for Kids spin-off,Outdoor Adventures for Kids (OAK). We’ll kick off an exciting new Facebook-based fundraising initiative for the “broke folks,” aka – most of us. And, of course, we’ll have lots of thank-you gear, schwag, and prizes like we did at the last party.
There’s way too much going on here at BAWT (that’s nothing new!) as we begin 2009. But after 10 years we can all pause and celebrate the important work we do to get youth outside. If you’re in the Bay Area, please come to our Birthday Bash on Friday, Feb 27th. And if you’re unable, for whatever reason, stay tuned for the online announcements that will follow the party and take you to BAWT’s newest programs online.
Growing grey with BAWT, and loving every minute of it!
Founder and CEO
“This trip was the best birthday present I could ask for. I got to see snow for the first time and I got to spend it with my friends. I love Seven Tepees!”
Raquel Vargas, 8th grader, ISA Middle School, on a BAWT-Supported Snow Trip
Although this cause will be officially launched at the birthday bash, you can still get started with these 3 simple steps:
- Join the cause
- Invite 10 friends to join the cause
- Feature this cause on your profile
- Give your $10 and BE THE CHANGE…
Stay tuned to hear more about it!
Summer climbing season is almost here! Sign up now.
In 2008 our climbers summited seven peaks and raised over $200,000 to get youth outdoors. Click here to see climbers on our most recent Mexican summits: Pico de Orizaba and Ixtacuatl. Thanks to Team Skywalker for raising nearly $12,000.
Only 2 More Spots Left to Climb Mt. Whitney – the Highest Peak in the Lower 49 States – and Do it for a Great Cause
Training hikes are now underway as we prepare for the first climb of the season – Mt. Whitney, towering over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Mountaineer’s Route, first pioneered by John Muir himself, has its high-camp at 11,000 feet, climbs a snow gully, and finally scrambles over bare rock to reach the historic summit. Want to stand there with us? There are only two spaces left on the Whitney team, socontact Cliff to register. Read more about the climb. If Whitney’s not right for you, join us on Mt. Shasta, Mt. Rainier (2 spots left), The Grand Teton (1 spot left), or Pico de Orizaba. See our full list of climbs.
January 17th was a beautiful sunny day… perfect timing for moving BAWT from one side of the Bay to the other. Hereare some pictures of the move. Thanks again to BAWT’s volunteers and staff for your tremendous help!
Pictures: Thank you to Michael Mitrani, BAWT Outreach Coordinator and Aaron Swab, BAWT Marketing Committee Member.
Interview with Bobbie Foster, Founder of Foster Calm – Wilderness & Urban First Aid Classes
Bobbie has been involved in outdoor recreation education since 1988. She founded Foster Calm in 2001 and teaches first aid with her husband. She is dedicated to providing quality, low-cost first aid and leadership classes to individuals and groups, especially nonprofits. By all accounts Bobbie is an incredibly gifted teacher. BAWT feels extremely lucky to have her in our community.
- BAWT will celebrate its 10th birthday this year. You have known founder Kyle Macdonald since the beginning. What can you tell us about how you’ve seen BAWT grow?
I met Kyle when he had a dream about founding BAWT, when he came to California to get a sense of how his dreams were going to work and who could help.
Now, it’s amazing. It’s a huge organization with all the staff and volunteers and kids who are going in the backcountry. BAWT gets the word out and gets everybody on board…it’s been a tremendous growth. It was an innovative concept for the area. The fact is that BAWT is not only finding a way to get kids in the backcountry, but also finding a way for their teachers or the youth workers to bring their kids outdoors.
- What do you most appreciate about BAWT?
I think it is the leadership training, because it means that people – individuals, groups, kids, and also adults – are now going into the backcountry with much more awareness and much more safely creating a leadership program. It’s huge, and that’s unique in the Bay Area.
- How and when did you get involved with BAWT?
Kyle approached me in 2001 about offering the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) programs. The idea was that if youth workers got the First Aid training in addition to the leadership training they would be much safer and BAWT would be willing to let people use the gear for a different type of trip (i.e. – backpacking instead of car camping).
- Tell us about your experience teaching the WFR for BAWT.
The 2008 course was one of our biggest (we had 16 students). We were doing our long-term-care scenario, and we were outside. One of the leaders for that scenario was talking to some people and trying to calm them down, and all of a sudden he jumps and yells “snake!” There was a rattlesnake right in the middle of our outdoors scenario!!
- Tell us about Foster Calm. When was it created? How did you come up with it?
I have always been very clear, I didn’t want to go into business for myself. I was also very clear that I was never going to teach. And there was no way I was ever going to do medicine because I was scared. But, I always seem to take jobs that gravitate me toward the things that make me nervous and scared, but always challenge me!
- How would you describe BAWT and the BAWT community? Climbing For Kids?
It has been a program that raises awareness of the import of getting kids in the backcountry and this is attracting a lot of dedicated youth workers and staff.
- What is the most challenging moment you have experienced while teaching?
I think some of the challenges as a teacher are finding ways of making the class work for students for whom the normal education system doesn’t work. One of the classes I teach often has 4-5 students who are hard of hearing. So the organization brings in an interpreter that signs while I am teaching, but then, what’s fascinating, is trying to create scenarios where the patient is the person that can’t hear, and the rescuers have to ask themselves, “how we do help this person when we’re having hard time communicating?”
A Climbing For Kids PSA (Public Service Announcement) is currently running on some Bay Area radio stations. If you’ve heard it, please email us with the date and the name of the radio station!
Radio stations airing CFK’s Public Service Announcement: KGO, KSFO, KRTY.
Alison Gooding, Secretary, Credo Mobile
Jill Greenblatt, College Access Fund
Matt Hitchcock, YMCA Richmond
Laura Lifland, Union Bank of Switzerland
Junaid Mohiuddin, McKinsey & Co
David Scott, Frog Design
Ron Soto, California Youth Outreach
Eri Suzuki, Chair, East Bay Asian Youth Center
Joe White, Secorix
Dan Zucker, Sun Microsystems
Cliff Agocs, Development Associate and Climbing For Kids Coordinator
Karen Campbell, Program Associate and CAP Program Coordinator
Chelsea Griffie, Program Director
Kyle Macdonald, Founder and CEO
Roger Miller, Executive Director
Michael Mitrani, Outreach Coordinator
Terry Nail, South Bay Programs Manager
Theresa Adamo, Program
Elyzabeth Dehapiot, Marketing
Brooke Johnson, CFK
Tony Johnson, South Bay
Lilli Keinaenen, Program
Carey Myslewski, Development
Richard Sayers, Development