SOARING Young mountaineers will explore the snow-capped peaks of Bugaboo Provincial Park. Photo by Steph Abegg

Submitted by Pat Morrow

Conrad Kain Centennial Society

Local teens will be given the unique opportunity to lace up hiking boots and ascend one of the most spectacular areas in the world for hiking and climbing.

Following on the heels of last years successful Bugaboos Teens Mountaineering Program, the unique outdoor adventure is set to continue as an annual event. The program is hosted by the local Conrad Kain Centennial Society and Canadian Mountain Holidays, with support from BC Parks.

The July 20th-22nd camp is based out of the spectacularly located Alpine Club of Canadas Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos, and is intended to increase the appreciation for protected areas in parks and develop a wider ethic of responsible use of our beleaguered environment.

Last years 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.

During last years excursion, young climbers Stephanie Von Neudegg (left), from Banff, and Goldens Claire Deboer (right) celebrate after a climb. Photos by Pat Morrow

Under the guidance of three certified mountain guides, 10 East Kootenay high school 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, and photography.

The first youth camp in this series was held as part of the 2009 Conrad Kain Centennial Society celebration. Pat Morrow, chairman of the society, said that community and corporate support has been tremendous over the past three years. This year, in addition to BC Parks pledge of support, BC Hydros East Kootenay Donations & Sponsorship Committee has awarded $1,500 to the program.

The program is being offered for free to successful applicants, who need only to provide their outdoor clothing and boots.

Grade 10 or 11 students from Golden through Invermere, Kimberley, Cranbrook to Fernie and Creston are asked to contact the Conrad Kain Centennial Society at bugabooscamp@gmail.com, or call Pat at 250-341-3554 for more details.

In order to qualify, compose an essay that explains why parks are important to you and your community, and why you want to be a part of this program. Include your age and outdoor experience. Email your information to the above address before June 7th. Successful applicants will be contacted by June 10th.

To watch a video about the 2011 camp, visit BC Parks at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/bugaboo/.