Community Building with Tacoma Mountaineers Youth Programs

Did you know we have seven branches? And our fast-growing Tacoma Branch has its own beautiful program center. The education and community-building programs we have there will inspire you learn, explore, and conserve no matter where you live.
Brigit Anderson Brigit Anderson
October 18, 2016
by Brigit Anderson

As Mountaineers, we see the outdoors as the ultimate community center. It's a venue for young and old, new and seasoned, professional and novice to convene around a common interest. The renovated program center in Tacoma is an indoor space that proves the outdoors is not the only place Mountaineers come together. 

Inspired by a sense of community for all ages, The Mountaineers has introduced youth programs to Tacoma. Students are coming from as far south as Olympia and as far north as White Center to participate in Explorers, Mountain Workshops, Family Climb Nights and Junior Mountaineers Summer Camp through The Tacoma Mountaineers. 

Spring of 2015, we partnered with Cascade Middle School in White Center to run an after school club. We taught students outdoor cooking, first aid and rock climbing skills. This was through the growing Mountain Workshops program which joins forces with other youth-serving organizations all year long.

Our summer camps have been expanding as well. In 2013, we ran one week of Junior Mountaineers Summer Camp through the Tacoma Program Center. This year, by popular demand, we are offering four weeks of camps with trips that take us all over northwest Washington — Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula, and North Bend — as well as to favorite spots in Tacoma. With the help of our Tacoma Program Center climbing wall, our students have not only learned to climb, but to belay one another safely.

More recently, we introduced the Explorers program to Tacoma. Explorers is a club for middle school students and their families. The Explorers club has taken us hiking in the Cascades, “spelunking” in Ape Caves and preparing for the summer outdoor climbing season with indoor climbing at the Program Center. Plans for the summer include climbing on outdoor crags in North Bend, hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park and kayaking on Commencement Bay. 

Once a month, the Tacoma climbing wall is open to all members for our Family Climb Night. With the assistance of qualified belayers, families are invited to test out new routes on the indoor climbing wall. Skilled route setters at Tacoma’s Edgeworks Climbing Gym have set up routes and worked with Mountaineers volunteers who are practicing the intricacies of route setting. Whether your family is stacked with skilled senders or beginner climbers, Family Climbing Night is an opportunity to bond. 

The vibrancy and engagement of the Tacoma Mountaineers community continues to inspire and support local youth programs. Our new indoor wall has served as a wonderful resource for students of all ages. With help from skilled and knowledgeable volunteers, our students practice belaying, rappelling and prusiking. We’re looking forward to the installation of the outdoor climbing wall and the opportunities it will give us to engage youth and work with more partners throughout the South Sound.


This article originally appeared in our July/August 2014 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, click here.


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