Scholarships Empower Kids Like Izy

Giving Tuesday is on November 29th. We’ve set a goal of $30,000 for The Mountaineers Access Program, a scholarship fund to help break down financial barriers to outdoor education and recreation. Mountaineers parent Krista shares how access to youth programs through scholarships helped to shape her daughter, Izy, into a confident and curious young woman.
Krista Fritsche Krista Fritsche
Mountaineers parent
November 22, 2022
Scholarships Empower Kids Like Izy
Natural artwork from hybrid summer programs in 2020. By Izy Fritsche.

Izy loves everything about the outdoors. As a single mother working in social services, I’ve always made a modest salary, but I didn’t want my financial hardships to keep Izy from going to summer camp. I wanted my daughter to have the experiences that other kids have like climbing, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, whitewater rafting, hiking, learning to respect our natural world, and even things like outdoor cooking and first aid. 

The Mountaineers has an excellent reputation in the Seattle area for school break programming, so when I found out about the need-based scholarship fund, I was beyond thrilled! Little did I know what a lasting impact The Mountaineers would have on Izy’s life for years to come. 

Izy’s participation in Mountaineers programs has encouraged her interest in learning about native plants and their benefits. She loves sharing this knowledge with others, and even made a nature journal with sketches of plants she finds on hikes, in parks, or just walking around the neighborhood. She proudly recites the 7 principles of Leave No Trace every time we go on a hike or camping trip. And thanks to her experience at The Mountaineers, she has developed a passion for climbing.

Izy has also been able to plug into the community and build lasting friendships. If it wasn’t for the scholarship fund, Izy never would have met her dear friend Josie. Since their friendship formed years ago, Josie’s family has taken us sailing, we’ve gone on hikes with them, they’ve gone to climbing gyms, and last summer Josie’s family took Izy on her very first backpacking trip. These experiences and the friends she has made over the past six years have truly shaped the young lady she has become. I am so grateful to the generous donations from Mountaineers members who made this all possible.

Nature and outdoor education are so important in our lives! Financial barriers unfortunately limit many families, and it is so important that we as a community find ways to address these barriers. Providing outdoor experiences for children, regardless of ability to pay, will give higher returns than most any investment. Children who learn and play outdoors develop a sense of self, independence, confidence, creativity, decision-making and problem-solving skills, empathy, self-discipline, and more!

Photo by M Staff and Krista Fritsche.pngThe Experiences she's had and friends she's made over the past Six years have truly shaped the young lady Izy has become. Photos by Mountaineers Staff and Krista Fritsche.

Izy has been exposed to the outdoors in ways that will inspire and influence her as she heads into the next season of her life. Her science teacher recently shared how impressed she is with how much knowledge Izy has about nature; I wouldn’t be surprised if Izy pursues a career that keeps her close to the natural world! In the meantime, she is hoping to be a junior counselor at Mountaineers Summer Camps so that she can continue to be involved.  

About 30% of scholarship funding helps kids like Izy access programs such as summer camp, after school programs, and other activities offered through The Mountaineers. Without scholarship funding, Izy would not be the person she is today. My hope is that any child who wants to can have access to adventure programing at The Mountaineers. Not only will these children benefit but their families and our community will, too. 

Donate Now to Support Scholarships

Giving Tuesday is November 29. Your Giving Tuesday donation will go directly to The Mountaineers Access Program, the pool of funds that supports scholarships for kids and adults. I hope you will consider making a donation to support the outdoor dreams of people throughout the PNW today.

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Bri Vanderlinden
Bri Vanderlinden says:
Nov 28, 2022 11:53 AM

Thank you Krista for sharing your and Izy's story! It is so exciting to learn about the ways Mountaineers youth programs are providing education and learning opportunities for future leaders!