MOUNTAINEERS IS BACK!
SEPT 2023 - JUNE 2024
KEEN's Mountaineers program focuses on getting kids comfortable with and excited about exploring their outdoor world in more adventurous ways.
Mountaineers will be open for two age groups: Mini Mountaineers is for kiddos ages 10-12 and Mega Mountaineers is for ages 13-15.
Each group will have ~1 overnight weekend trip per month proceeded by a Thursday evening social and prep night. Everyone will have an exciting opportunity to meet new friends and get outside to explore our amazing state.
Mountaineers is a trip-oriented program, with excursions including activities like: hiking, camping, snowshoeing, paddle boarding, swimming, rock climbing, rafting, and more! Trips are typically scheduled on weekends and pre-trip meetings are set for people to learn new skills, meet fellow adventurers, and for parents to ask questions.
A one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $100 is required to secure your spot and participate for the school year. Tiered pricing is available for each trip to offer each family options most appropriate to their circumstances. Each trip is priced based on location, distance, and difficulty.
Registration is open and the spring schedule is now available!
~scroll to learn more~
KEEN's Education Director and Mountaineer's Leader,
Carlyn Saunders, has 4,000+ miles of backpacking experience, is a certified NOLS Wilderness First Responder, Red Cross lifeguard and first aid & CPR instructor.
Trek to hidden waterfalls, paddle peaceful lakes, build a snow cave AND sleep in it! Enjoy everything our amazing state has to offer, while making lifelong friends.
There's no substitute for adventure. It provides a new way to perceive life, who you are, and how you spend your time. This program will change your life.
KEEN's mission is to increase environmental literacy. Themes, speakers, books, and other projects will help expand your critical thinking skills.
WHAT IS KEEN’S MOUNTAINEERS?
Mountaineers is an adventure “club” for kids, divided into two age groups:
MINI Mountaineers, ages 10-12
MEGA Mountaineers, ages 13-15
Mountaineers is a trip-oriented program, where day and overnight trips are scheduled monthly for each age group. Every trip has a paired evening meeting the Thursday prior where mountaineers meet with their instructors, listen to local guests specializing in a STEM or outdoor field, and engage in exciting activities to build confidence, leadership, and communication. Each age group will typically have 1 overnight weekend trip per month through the school year (September-June) and will be a mix of backpacking, camping, hiking, snowshoeing, trail maintenance, boating, and exploring our natural world.
WHO CAN BE A MOUNTAINEER?
Anyone ages 10-15 who loves being outside, challenging themselves in new ways, meeting new friends, and learning interesting things about the places they visit. Participants have the opportunity to develop an appreciation for helping the environment, develop self-esteem, share their spirit for adventure, and experience teamwork, friendship, and a sense of community through memorable wilderness experiences.
WHAT IS THE PROGRAM SCHEDULE?
Trips are scheduled on weekends and pre-trip meetings will occur on the Thursday evening prior to a trip weekend. Trip schedules will appear quarterly on our website, including a link to the registration page. Mountaineers are required to attend one trip per quarter and a minimum of four Mountaineers must register for a trip to occur. BRING SOME FRIENDS!
For example… an upcoming trip is scheduled for Saturday September 23. The pre-trip meeting will be held on Thursday prior from 7-9pm.
HOW DO I SIGN UP? HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Click on any ENROLL/REGISTRATION button on our website! This will take you to our Enrollsy page where you can select your child's Mountaineers group.
Families pay the annual registration fee of $100 to become a Mountaineer (covers the entire school year, Sept-June). Mountaineers then register for the trips they would like to attend for an additional fee which includes the pre-trip meeting. Mountaineers are required to attend one trip per quarter! Trip fees vary based on location, transportation, gear rentals, and staff time. Tiered pricing for each trip is available for every family to choose who much they are comfortable paying. Full schedule of excursions and fees will be posted on the website quarterly.
WHO ARE MY LEADERS?
KEEN’s Education Director, Carlyn Saunders, leads this group along with dedicated, energetic, and talented individuals passionate about teaching and leading youth. Our instructors have backgrounds in wilderness medicine, backcountry survival skills, and a wide variety of educational fields such as biology, anthropology, chemistry, geology, geography, art, and music. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences and are committed to providing youth with fun and educational excursions outdoors while maximizing the safety of all participants. All KEEN staff have passed criminal background checks. Guest experts are local leaders in their fields including professors, industry professionals, artisans, educators, and enthusiasts.
WHAT WILL I LEARN AT MOUNTAINEERS?
Participants will have the opportunity to learn from instructors, guest experts, and industry professionals about a wide array of topics. Each pre-trip meeting and associated trip will provide engaging experiments, discussions, and activities about the various themes. Examples of themes could include Geology of the PNW, Winter Survival, Protect Our Trails, Hiber-NATION, High Adventure, and Our Western Waters.
WHAT IF I’VE NEVER DONE ANY OF THESE ACTIVITIES BEFORE?
No prior experience is necessary to participate in Mountaineers. In fact, we have designed some of these adventures as introductory wilderness experiences. We’ll teach you all the skills you’ll need to succeed and enjoy your time in the outdoors. You do not need to be athletic to enjoy any of the activities, but maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle will help each experience be more comfortable.
WHAT WILL I EAT ON EXCURSIONS?
We provide food and you will be offered three full meals each day including plenty of snacks. Meals can include pasta, burritos, stir fry, bagels, oatmeal, hot chocolate, and S’mores, of course! We easily accommodate most dietary restrictions; let us know in advance so we can plan accordingly. All the participants help prepare and clean up after meals.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING ON EACH TRIP?
When you register for a trip, you will receive the entire information packet, which includes a packing list of personal gear to bring. This list includes backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, clothing, shoes, toiletries, flashlight, hat, sunglasses, water bottles, personal dishware, and other similar items. Cooking equipment will be provided and shared. A limited number of backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are available to borrow.
HOW SAFE WILL I BE?
Safety is a high priority in all aspects of our programming. Our Director, Carlyn, is a Wilderness First Responder, Red Cross Lifeguard, and a First Aid/CPR Instructor. She has also received training in Single Pitch/Climbing Wall instruction and Swift Water Rescue. All staff are First Aid and CPR trained and are selected for their good judgment, problem solving, and confidence under stress. Any outdoor activity has inherent risk. We do our best to minimize the potential dangers and maximize the safety precautions with everything we do. One way we do this is by providing one instructor for every 8 participants, with a minimum of two instructors, to ensure proper supervision. Staff also utilize GPS devices when out of cell service to communicate in case there is an emergency.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AT MEETINGS AND ON TRIPS?
Participants are expected to keep a positive attitude, respect the educators and other group members, take responsibility for their personal belongings and group equipment, be supportive and inclusive of fellow participants, try new activities and foods, make good decisions about personal safety, and follow KEEN programming policies. Participants are expected to engage in all meeting activities and help with trip chores like cooking, cleaning, pitching tents, getting water, and storing equipment and food at the end of the day.