Colorado Mountain Club

The Colorado Mountain Club helps protect Colorado's majestic backcountry for wildlife and sustainable human-powered recreation and connects children to nature through active outdoor learning.

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Organizational Overview

Colorado Mountain Club
710 10th Street, Suite 200
Golden, CO 80401
To unite the energy, interest and knowledge of the students, explorers and lovers of the mountains of Colorado; collect and disseminate information regarding the Rocky Mountains on behalf of science, literature, art and recreation; stimulate public interest in our mountain areas; encourage the preservation of forests, flowers, fauna and natural scenery; and, render readily accessible the alpine attractions of the region.

We have acquired one of the most unique vehicles in the country…a former school bus converted into a mobile classroom with climbing holds throughout the interior instead of seats! Our "Bouldering Bus" takes our Youth Education Program to low-resource schools and community events all over the Front Range. When we combine our Science of Climbing curriculum with the bus, we engage students with innovative, active learning that blends academic topics with physical fitness right at their school. Generous donors and grants make it possible for us to "bring the mountains" to more underserved youth than ever before with this one-of-a-kind addition to our youth program.

Impact Statement

CMC Conservation campaigns included advocating for the protection of Browns Canyon, which was named a National Monument this year, as well as numerous other wild lands worthy of permanent preservation. We also launched the Backcountry Snowsports Mapping Initiative to assist in establishing or maintaining protection Winter access for human-powered recreation. CMC thanks the 266 volunteers who logged more than 2,400 service hours doing trail work, habitat restoration and structure construction on our public lands, including Badger Flats, the Collegiate Peaks, Mt. Evans Wilderness, Castle Peak ,Maroon Bells, Tenderfoot Mountain, Brainard Lake, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Jim Creek and Oilwell Flats.

Over the course of the 2014-15 program year, CMC's Youth Education Program served more than 6,000 youth participants and welcomed several hundred adult chaperones. Over one-third of youth participants comprised non-white ethnicities, and just under half were girls. With outside financial support, CMC provided need-based scholarships to half our participants, who were from low-resource schools and would not have been able to participate otherwise. We additionally served more than 400 students with physical or learning disabilities, including teaching them how to rock climb. Over 100 volunteers contributed 500+ hours assisting YEP staff. Since 1999, our Youth Education Program has engaged more than 88,000 young people in activities that inspire learning and exploration in mountain environments.

Needs Statement

1. Our Youth Education Program partners with Title I schools to provide out-of-the-box learning experiences for underserved youth with the aim of boosting student engagement and academic achievement. We are raising funds to maintain our Bouldering Bus, which lets us "bring the mountains" and the experience of climbing to low-resource schools throughout Metro Denver.

2. Our Youth Education Program provides unforgettable learning opportunities and camping experiences for youth, including leadership development for teens. We are raising funds to purchase a new van or mini-bus to transport staff, volunteers, kids and gear.

3. We seek generous donors to provide financial assistance for schools and families who cannot otherwise afford CMC's Youth Education program fees.

4. CMC Conservation works to preserve wilderness areas across Colorado through collaboration with partner agencies and actively engaging citizens. We seek funds to support outreach campaigns and work with our conservation partners to craft policies and management plans that will allow responsible human-powered recreation while ensuring protection of critical mountain habitats.

Background Statement

Founded in 1912, the Colorado Mountain Club is one of the state's leading organizations dedicated to education, conservation and mountain recreation. CMC has played an instrumental role in many landmark achievements over the past century, including the designation of Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915, Dinosaur National Monument and passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Today, CMC offers a diverse range of programs and activities for adults, school-age children and families, centered on responsible outdoor recreation, active learning and the spirit of adventure.

Established in 1999, CMC's award-winning Youth Education Program "brings the mountains" to thousands of K-12 students every year, helping to develop character and confidence and improve academic achievement through active learning focused on the outdoors. CMC takes preventing "nature deficit disorder" to heart by getting kids outside and exploring with team-building activities and the personal and physical challenge of rock climbing. YEP's school-based activities meet Colorado's Academic Standards and provide unique avenues for improving math, science and literacy skills.

To ensure the continued enjoyment of Colorado's pristine places, CMC also leads efforts to protect wilderness and public lands with its conservation and stewardship programs. CMC continues to maintain a strong voice in Colorado's conservation community, working throughout the state with partner agencies to protect the backcountry, roadless areas and critical wildlife corridors and encourage the public to play an active role in protecting our state's wild and remote places. CMC also offers numerous opportunities for volunteers to help construct and repair trails, rehabilitate wildlife habitat and maintain campsites on public lands each Summer.

Today, CMC continues to act as a gateway to the mountains for novices and experts alike through, offering an array of year-round activities, events, courses and guide books centered on outdoor recreation. In partnership with the American Alpine Club, CMC operates the American Mountaineering Museum, the country's first and only museum dedicated to the heroism, technology and spirit of mountaineering. No other organization in Colorado employs such a strong and broad approach to connecting people with the Rocky Mountain landscape.

Executive Director Statement

The Colorado Mountain Club is the only organization of its kind here in Colorado. We implement the key elements of our mission - education, adventure, recreation and conservation - in ways that everyone of all ages can enjoy! We do this by: offering thousands of trips and activities each year; using the mountains to teach our young people science, math, geography and art; by managing the country's only museum dedicated to America's mountaineering history; publishing dozens of trail guides; and, and preserving the special nature of Colorado's wild and remote places. CMC has a magnificent 104-year history, tying together adventure, conservation, collaboration and education, and we have so much more to achieve with our members, our students, our teachers, our volunteers and our supporters. No matter how you choose to get involved with the Colorado Mountain Club, I invite you to help us reach new heights this coming year!

Board Chair/President Statement

What a momentous year 2012 was for CMC - our centennial! The year was filled with many celebrations. The highlight for me was the celebration at Rocky Mountain National Park in April - listening to the wonderful talk by Jerry Caplan about CMC's role in the formation of the Park, being privileged to accept an award on behalf of the CMC from the Park, having our picture taken by John Fielder against the backdrop of the Park's magnificent peaks and singing happy birthday to CMC before blowing out the candles - with lots of help from the children present - on our birthday cake!

Now we are looking forward to another 100 years. I'm sure CMC will continue to offer high-quality schools and learning opportunities as well as many chances to experience unparalleled recreation in our mountains. And, who knows what other exciting opportunities the future will bring? We will have many challenges ahead of us, but with help from all of our members, volunteers leaders, teachers, staff and supporters I know we'll be able to meet these challenges and keep CMC going strong.

"I want to thank you for helping me try to face my fears and understand how to climb. I learned that when things are hard you just keep trying." -- Rock Climbing Student

"We could write a book trying to explain what CMC's program means to Drew. The biggest challenge (among many) Drew has is interacting with people. Drew's deafness isolates him from the hearing world and Drew's autism isolates him from his signing peers. He delights in climbing because other kids try to help him and hereby become involved in his activity-- in his world. Drew desperately wants to interact with his peers but doesn't know how...I just can't express to you how important that is." -- Drew's Father

"I helped at a top rope session in Eldorado Canyon for a group of city kids, ages eight through about fourteen. They were enrolled in a weeklong YEP camp -- climbing indoors, climbing outside at Eldo and Maxwell Falls, and wrapping up with a day on St. Mary's glacier. These kids live with their families in motel rooms on Colfax Avenue. Being a part time teacher, I sometimes wonder what percentage of kids in my class are living away from a real home. They dressed and acted like regular city kids in that they were fairly new to the outdoor scene. They loved Eldo. This was a very culturally diverse group of kids who live in tough circumstances every day. But they embraced the challenge. A few words of encouragement and praise really brought out the pride and smiles in them. Being a part of getting these kids out climbing for a day really brightened up my week." -- Larry De Saules, CMC Volunteer
Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.

Fundraising For This Nonprofit

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Miles for Smiles: Help Me Raise Money for CMC Youth Programs

by Emily Beehler

As a newcomer to the Mile High State, a fresh member of the staff at the Colorado Mountain Club, and a rookie of the Rockies, I have been inspired to climb as many peaks as possible in one summer while raising money to expand experiential education opportunities for Colorado youth. So, 100 miles in two months, can I do it? Please support me as I hike miles for smiles. My goal is to raise one dollar to each mile I hike while reaching my goal at the peak of each mountain I summit. Your dollars will go directly to the Youth Program at the Colorado Mountain Club. It will help us provide scholarships, add new programs and grow the number of kids we can impact. We teach the youth of Colorado about the mountains, ecology and environment around them, while also providing them with hands-on and/or adventure experiences to both enhance their understanding of the world around them and to gain confidence in themselves. I have personally worked with students from kindergarten to high school seniors, from all backgrounds, and all different areas of the state. All of the kids who go through a YEP Program come out with a greater understanding of their environment and of themselves. Help me enhance this impact and donate $1 per mile for smiles. To learn more about the Colorado Mountain Club's Youth Education Program, check out our website at

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