Impact Giving | How Katie Strausz-Clark Adventures with Purpose

Katie was just 11 when she became a Mountaineer. Her time at The Mountaineers has empowered her as an advocate and a leader. She has learned that our voices are stronger and our impact is greater when we work together toward our shared values.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 01, 2023
Impact Giving | How Katie Strausz-Clark Adventures with Purpose
Photo courtesy of Katie Strausz-Clark.

Katie Strausz-Clark was just 11 when she became a Mountaineer. As a kid in summer camp, her playtime was infused with values that might sound familiar. She learned how to be safe while trying new things and how to include everyone in the fun. She learned how her actions can impact the natural world and how she can use her voice to protect it. 

“I have found my most meaningful experiences have taken place outside,” says Katie. “It is where I’ve developed my closest friendships and formed my happiest memories. I even sent a 650-word essay about my outdoor poops to 15 colleges. If that doesn’t demonstrate my love for the outdoors, I don’t know what does.”

Katie’s leadership continued to flourish with The Mountaineers: she helped teach younger kids as a counselor-in-training at summer camp, and joined the Board of Directors as a youth representative. Now, as she graduates from high school and prepares to begin college, Katie continues to use her voice to advocate for her broader community and speaks up about policies that affect her and her peers.

“Advocacy and activism have become central to who I am, but I recently learned that true advocacy is really, really difficult. Just six months ago, my high school experienced the tragedy of gun violence. Using the tools that I learned through The Mountaineers, I joined fellow students to demand real change to make our schools safer.

“I realized that it would take persistence to get people to listen. It took months of testifying at hearings, meeting with officials, and speaking at press conferences. And it still felt like no one was listening. It was then I could turn to The Mountaineers for support – to the community and the outdoors – to rest and recharge. You gave me the energy to get up another day to fight again.

“This experience and my time at The Mountaineers empowered me to use my voice to promote safety for people and for places – whether that’s safety in our schools, emotional safety in the outdoors, or safekeeping our natural resources. Young people like me are learning what it means to speak up for what matters to us. And we have supporters like you to thank for that.” 

At a young age, Katie learned the value of cooperation; that everyone has a role to play in building a resilient and inclusive outdoor community and protecting our natural world for generations to come. 

“To many, adventure is about the personal benefit, but it can so much more than that. To me, it’s about believing in the unwavering power of outdoor spaces,” Katie shared with an audience of 500 at our recent Gala. “It is the ability to change minds and inspire action to conserve the outdoor experience. Adventure with Purpose is about carrying forward the tradition of community-based education, so that all people can feel belonging outside like I have.

“And when all of that protecting and creating and bettering becomes difficult, it is about being able to turn to the outdoors as a restorative place for mental well-being. It is about turning to our community to cheer us on and begin again.”

1W2A7280_2048px_Web.jpgKatie Shares her story with a crowd of 500 at the 2023 Gala: Adventure with Purpose. Photo by Jason Cohoon.

As Katie shared, we can do more together when we combine our voices and resources under shared values. When you give to The Mountaineers, you are elevating the values we hold as a community and joining in our shared vision to adventure with purpose. Donations support what we care about like adventure programming for youth, scholarships for Mountaineers of all ages, leadership development for volunteers, and the important advocacy work that conserves and protects our natural world for future generations. 

Thank you for the many ways you elevate our outdoor community to LEAD innovation in outdoor education, ENGAGE a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts, and ADVOCATE on behalf of the natural world. To learn more about The Mountaineers vision Adventure with Purpose, we hope you read more about our 2023-2028 Strategic plan

The Mountaineers® is a 501(c)(3) organization supported through earned revenue and elevated through charitable contributions. Tax ID:27-3009280. 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

Donations strengthen our outdoors community through volunteer recognition, leadership development, need-based scholarships, conservation & advocacy work, and more. If you are inspired to make a gift, please visit

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