By Dave Granger | photos courtesy of BYEP

On June 13, Big Sky Youth Empowerment launched
its summer adventure program. For the next three
months 54 local youth from Big Sky, Belgrade and
Bozeman will experience world-class outdoor adventures
on weekends while gaining and refining life
skills through BYEP’s character education curriculum
during the week. BYEP’s adventure-based mentoring
program for local at-risk youth is celebrating 10 years
of support to the community. BYEP is committed to
providing exceptional opportunities to its families at
no cost.

Big Sky Youth Empowerment is serving more kids and
communities than ever before. This summer, there are
nine groups of six youth participants supported by two
adult mentors. Additionally, this is the first time that
BYEP has expanded its summer adventure program to
include Big Sky. But it’s no easy feat to be admitted to
BYEP, as there are three times as many applicants for
both youth and adult mentor positions.

[dcs_img width=”300″ height=”270″ thumb=”true” framed=”black”
author=”photo courtesy of BYEP” desc=”Aspen rock climbing with Touch the Sky”]

BYEP’s summer program has three segments of
adventures. The first is rock climbing. Groups
begin indoors at Spire Climbing
Center and learn basic skills,
terminology and techniques. After
two weekend sessions there,
students challenge themselves
with Touch The Sky climbing
outside on real rock in various

The next month groups hit the
rivers with Montana Whitewater.
Two weekend sessions
on the Yellowstone River are
followed by two on the Gallatin.
These renowned rivers are running at historic runoff
levels and have made positive impressions on
BYEP groups.

Groups round out the summer with weekend itineraries
including a day trip to Yellowstone National
Park, a community outreach weekend, and access
to the Yellowstone Club’s Adventure Course.
These last three weekends are an opportunity for
students to cherish the world’s oldest national park
while participating in stewardship programs.
While BYEP’s adventures are seasonal – the
winter adventure program centers on skiing and
snowboarding at Big Sky Resort – its commitment
to kids is now year-round. In spring and fall, all
groups hold ongoing educational workshops.

The backbone of Big Sky Youth Empowerment
is its character education
curriculum, which encourages healthy
risk-taking and a reduction of problem
behaviors. This age-appropriate curriculum
is delivered to all groups in
weekly workshops by the program director
and volunteer mentors. Discussions
cover a range of topics, including
effective communication, conflict
resolution and sexual reproductive
heath. These workshops empower
BYEPers with knowledge, personal
accountability and positive options for
the future.

Dave Granger is Big Sky Youth Empowerment’s
Program Director