BC Parks manager Jeff Volp (rt) and ACMG guide Bob Sawyer with teens last year. © Pat Morrow

Bugaboos Teens Mountaineering Camp 2012

Following on the heels of last year's successful Bugaboos Teens Mountaineering Program hosted by The Conrad Kain Centennial Society & Canadian Mountain Holidays, with support from BC Parks (in conjunction with their 100th anniversary celebration), the CKCS has announced that we will partner with some of last year's co-sponsors to make this an annual event.

One of the ideas behind the camp, which is based out of the spectacularly located Alpine Club of Canada's Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos July 20-22, is to increase the appreciation for protected areas in parks. Last year's sponsors, which included Canadian Mountain Holidays, Friends of Bugaboo Park, the Alpine Club of Canada, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Conrad Kain Centennial Society, and BC Parks, figured the best way to do that would be to get the youth out there.

"They are the ones who will assume stewardship of the land, so we want to inspire them to be out in the parks and appreciate the wilderness," said parks manager Jeff Volp. "And hopefully they will set an example for younger kids to disconnect from their iPhones and head out into the mountains."

The purposes of the camp are several: under the guidance of three certified mountain guides, 10 East Kootenay students will learn hiking, mountaineering and leadership skills, develop teamwork, and discover career opportunities within the parks system such as adventure guiding, park ranger, eco-friendly tourism, natural history interpretation and conservation, photography, etc.

The first youth camp in this series was held as part of the 2009 Conrad Kain Centennial Society celebration. Pat Morrow, chairman of the CKCS, said that community and corporate support has been tremendous over the past three years. "And this year, in addition to BC Park's pledge of support, we are pleased to announce that BC Hydro's East Kootenay Donations & Sponsorship Committee has awarded $1,500 for these youths to attend the mountaineering program in summer 2012."

One of the best things about the program is that, like its predecessors, it is being offered for free to successful applicants. "We aim to keep the costs down through donations of volunteer services and cash from individuals and organizations, so the students need only provide their outdoor clothing and boots." said Morrow. "And another bonus for the kids is that the two local members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides who guided the teens in 2009, Kirk Mauthner and Tim McAllister, are available to lead the camp again this year, along with veteran ACMG guide and Everest summiteer, Sharon Wood of Canmore."

East Kootenay Grade 10 or 11 students from Golden through Invermere, Kimberley, Cranbrook to Fernie and Creston are asked to contact the CKCS at bugabooscamp@gmail.com, or call Pat at 250 341 3554 for more details. In order to qualify, compose an essay that explains “Why are parks important to you and your community, and why do you want to be a part of this program?” along with a sentence that gives your outdoor experience and age and email it to that address before June 7. Successful applicants will be contacted by June 10. In order to get to the Bugaboos trail head we'll organize a car pool amongst the students and parents.

To watch a video about the 2011 camp, visit BC Parks at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/bugaboo/. Also, check out a news item on the CKCS site at http://conradkain.com/news/133, and online story http://invermere.com/432/bugaboo-mountain-camp/