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In December of 2018, I had the pleasure of participating in BAWT’s Snowshoeing Basics Course. Little did I know how incredibly impactful this course would be. My participation in the course resulted in life-changing experiences for several Bay Area youth and completely changed my perspective on the accessibility of outdoor snow experiences for youth-serving programs. 

Over a quarter of my youth group had never seen snow before. I set out to ensure that every single youth participant in our program would be provided the opportunity to have a first-time snow experience. Thanks to BAWT, it happened. 

Prior to participating, I myself had never been snowshoeing before. I came into the course thinking it would be a daunting experience and therefore not something I could do with the youth anytime soon. That was far from the truth! 

The course included lots of great considerations for taking youth out into the snow, including; how to communicate layering, good meals for snow days, hydration / weather considerations, and more! Overall, it really didn’t feel very different than planning and leading a day hike. 

Snowshoeing can be a very affordable way to provide youth with a new experience. If you go up for just a day, the only trip costs you have are transportation and food for the day. It’s also very feasible to turn your snowshoeing trip into an overnight experience by having the group camp out in lower elevation on the way to Tahoe and heading the remaining way up to the snow the following morning. There’s a variety of campsite opportunities that are great for this, especially if you are coming from the Bay Area. 

As for gear, BAWT has you covered. From head to toe, youth are equipped with top quality gear to ensure their experience is pleasant and enjoyable. Did you know BAWT has sleds too?! They have everything you need to provide an amazing first-time snow experience for your youth. 

One of the best parts about snowshoeing is that you don’t have to go far. Hike a mile or less into a forest, find a hill, and the rest will fall into place. Your youth will be quick to make snow angels, start snowball fights, sledding down mountains, or just sit there in admiration. I ASSURE YOU.  

If you are interested in providing your youth with a snow experience I highly recommend registering for the Snowshoeing Basic Course on February 8th, 2020. The course is $50 for youth workers that serve 80% or more youth of color and/or 40% or more free or reduced lunch. BAWT has additional scholarships available for youth workers in need. In addition, BAWT offers mini-grants that you can apply for that can support your future snow trip. 

If you are interested in learning more about this snowshoeing trip supported by BAWT, check out Sharing a First Time Experience – All Students See the Snow  blog. 

For the youth, 

Bay Area Outdoor Adventure Leader 
If you have any questions about the courses, gear, or anything BAWT reach out to programs@bawt.org