Trip Report: Franklin Pierce Youth Connect with Tahoma (Mount Rainier)

The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch partnered with 22 members of the Franklin Pierce High School Adventure Club and headed to Mount Rainier National Park to tackle the Rampart Ridge Loop as part of our Mountain Workshop program. For 17 of the 22 teens, this was their first visit to the park!
Sarah Holt Sarah Holt
Tacoma Program Manager
January 23, 2020

On Saturday, Nov 9, 2019, The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch partnered with 22 members of the Franklin Pierce High School Adventure Club and headed to Mount Rainier National Park to tackle the Rampart Ridge Loop. 

Through Mountain Workshops, The Mountaineers partners with local youth serving agencies to deliver single or multi-day experiences designed in the outdoors. This program was created to elevate the work already being done by other youth-serving organizations by offering support through our expertise in outdoor education, access, and gear. And, because we believe all people should have access to the outdoors, more than half of the cost of the program is covered by donor-funded Mountaineers scholarships.

We've been partnering through Mountain Workshops for nine years, and each workshop is design in collaboration with group leaders to meet the educational needs of the group. Through one-time or ongoing partnerships, participants learn skills applicable to almost anything youth will do for the rest of their lives: communication, planning, building trust, overcoming obstacles, and team-work. This trip was our SECOND with Franklin Pierce High School 's Adventure Club, and their goal for the day was to find a hike of “medium difficulty with a great view and payoff."

While we had hoped for memorable views, the clouds and rain had other plans for us. Even through the fog and rain, the tenacity and resilience of the Adventure Club members shone bright and we all agreed that a great payoff was still achieved!

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Our group arrived at Longmire in the morning to set out on our hike. For 17 of the 22 teens attending, this was their first time visiting the park, and for for some, it was their first time hiking at all.

To the new hiker, 5 miles can sound daunting, but thanks to good communication and teamwork, everyone completed the hike. And that's the magic of outdoor experiences, we all learn so much about what we're capable of achieving!

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“I was so proud of myself for not giving up,” said one student. “Finishing the hike really gave me more confidence.”

The students also learned to lean on one another for support and encouragement. Their club advisor, Mr. Horak, was excited to see the way the teens came together. “It was a tremendous bonding experience for all of us,” he said.

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As Tacoma residents, these students live in the shadow of Tahoma (Mount Rainier), yet few have had the opportunity to see her up close. Stoked on their hiking experience on Rampart Ridge, the club signed on for a recurring monthly series of outdoor adventures with The Mountaineers. Later this year, we’ll be tackling Snow Lake, High Rock Lookout, Mailbox Peak, Ape Caves, and more. We can’t wait to see what we are capable of!

Special Thanks

This experience was made possible by generous individual donors and foundation partners: the No Child Left Inside grant program, the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundations, the REI Foundation, the Bradley Family Foundation, Treeline Foundation, and Moccasin Lake Foundation.

Our Mountain Workshops youth outreach program aims to reach youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience wilderness and outdoor recreation. Since its creation in 2011, we've seen tremendous success with Mountain Workshops, now operating in King, Pierce, Thurston, and Kitsap counties. For 2020, we hope to serve 1,500+ youth through 220 program days, resulting in an additional 10,000 hours our collective participants will spend outside. Learn more about our MAP Scholarship Fund.

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