Bryan Martin & Elizabeth Williams - Life Skills Through Wilderness Adventure - Mountain & Prairie Podcast

Bryan Martin and Elizabeth Williams work at Big City Mountaineers, a Colorado-based nonprofit that transforms the lives of underserved youth through wilderness mentoring expeditions. Through partnerships with community youth programs around the United States, Big City Mountaineers exposes close to 1,000 youth per year to outdoor adventures in some of our country’s most spectacular public lands. Not only do these young people learn outdoor skills, but more importantly, they learn critical life skills while also improving their self-confidence, communication skills, and leadership abilities. • Prior to assuming his role as executive director at BCM, Bryan enjoyed great success with a wide variety of conservation and outdoor-related organizations including the Nature Conservancy, Continental Divide Trail Alliance, Colorado Mountain Club, and the Land Trust Alliance. Elizabeth was a teacher in India and Nepal before joining BCM as a marketing intern—10 years and a lot of hard work later, she has risen through the ranks and is now the Director of Programs. Bryan and Elizabeth share a deep enthusiasm for the outdoors and a belief that outdoor experiences can be transformative. Their passion for the work and BCM’s mission is palpable, so I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them. • I met Bryan and Elizabeth at the BCM offices in the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado, where we discussed BCM’s mission, the details of their wilderness expeditions, and why outdoor adventures can be such life-changing experiences. We chat about Bryan and Elizabeth's professional backgrounds and learn what drew them to careers centered around the outdoors and service. They also tell a heart-warming success story in which a student overcomes her initial fears to thrive on a weeklong wilderness trip. • Thanks to Bryan and Elizabeth for taking the time to chat. Hope you enjoy! ••• ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 3:30 - Details of Elizabeth and Bryan’s roles at BCM 5:00 - Building teamwork through outdoor experiences 7:45 - Details of the wilderness expeditions 9:10 - Areas in which BCM operates 10:00 - Teaching students with no outdoor experience about wilderness travel 14:00 - BCM’s focus on personal development and critical life skills 15:50 - Ensuring the lessons stick when the students return home 17:00 - How BCM measures success 20:00 - Evolution of BCM’s measurements of success 22:45 - How BCM selects its mentors 25:00 - Areas where the expeditions take place 26:45 - Thoughts on public lands 29:00 - Elizabeth and Bryan's personal backgrounds 34:30 - Bryan’s biggest surprise since becoming BCM’s E.D. 36:30 - Overarching lessons learned from their careers 40:40 - "Summit for Someone" program 44:45 - A recent BCM success story 49:00 - Favorite books 52:50 - Favorite documentaries 53:50 - Craziest/most powerful outdoor experiences 59:10 - Request of the listeners 1:00:40 - Connect with BCM online
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