Elevation Outdoors is aiming for new heights next summer with a wide range of outdoor recreation programs for youth.

The Kelowna-based charity is focused on breaking down barriers to ensure all youth, regardless of personal circumstances, have an opportunity to engage in outdoor activity.

“Through a combination of sport, mentorship and lifeskill development, we strive to create a lasting passion for playing outside in all of our participants while helping them develop valuable life-long skills,” said executive director Mike Greer.

The organization is just wrapping up its Learn to Shred program at Big White Ski Resort. It had the highest level of participation ever with 40-plus youth learning to snowboard.

The program runs in four-week blocks with twice-a-week sessions, providing participants with eight days of snowboarding, all while receiving instruction from the skilled Big White instructors and building relationships with a dedicated team of volunteer mentors.

Youth from all backgrounds can participate in programs with a variety of options ranging from full scholarships for eligible youth, partially-funded seats for families that need some support but do not meet scholarship eligibility and fee-for-service seats for families that have the capacity to pay but may face other barriers to participation in these types of activities.

“The partial-funded spots and fee-for-service seats are new for 2020 as we strive to reach more youth in our community as well as become a more sustainable organization to ensure our programs are available to the community for years to come. For each program, we provide all the transportation, equipment and instruction allowing participants to just show up and have fun,” said Greer.

This week, Greer unveiled the summer program which gets underway in May. Here are the details:

• Get a Grip rock climbing program: May 21 - June 14, six evenings of indoor climbing and two full days of outdoor climbing at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. “Participants learn how to boulder, top rope and belay giving them the foundations needed to become a life-long climber. We have four spots available at $300 with the rest of the spots on partial scholarship or full scholarship to ensure all youth can come out and climb,” said Greer. More info at: elevationoutdoors.ca/programs/rock-climbing/

• Live to Ride mountain bike program: July 6 - Aug. 20, rides on Monday and Wednesday evenings each week. “Mixed into the program are two full days exploring @BikeBigWhite and their network of lift-assisted trails. The program helps riders build their skills and passion for mountain biking visiting a wide array of trails throughout the Kelowna region while receiving instruction from our PMBIA-certified instructors. We have three spots available at $450 and the rest of the seats are partial or full scholarships to ensure all youth can access the sport of mountain biking,” said Greer.

More info at: elevationoutdoors.ca/programs/mountain-biking/

• Summer Camps: Intro to Adventure program will return; three weeks of day camps filled with a variety of activities from mountain biking and indoor rock climbing to a full day of exploring the hiking trails at Big White Ski Resort. Registration will open on March 23.

“Mix in trips to the AirHouse and local adventure parks, and these camps have something for everyone. This year's camps will run the weeks of July 6-10, July 20-24 and Aug. 10-14, and will cost $350 per camper,” said Greer.

“Funds from these camps are used to help us create full and partial scholarships for youth in need in our core programs throughout the year. So providing your child with a great week of fun in the summer also helps provide another youth an opportunity to get outside as well.” More info at:

elevationoutdoors.ca/summer-camps/

• Mountain Bike summer camp: “This year, due to popular demand, we will be running one week of a mountain bike-focused day camp during the week of July 13-17 for youth who want to improve their riding. Good for both beginner and intermediate riders, the week will include two full days of riding at @BikeBikeWhite, two days of riding on Knox Mountain and a rest day of fun at a local adventure park. We are still finalizing pricing but more information can be found online at: elevationoutdoors.ca/mountain-bike-camps,” said Greer.

• Mountain Bike Camp for Adults: “In partnership with @BikeBigWhite, we will bring back our All Mountain MTB Camp for Adults with three evenings on Knox Mountain and a full day of riding at Big White. We have six spots for beginners looking to learn how to mountain bike or improve their skills and six spots for intermediate riders who are looking to improve their existing skills. The camp will run on June 16, 18 and 23 at Knox Mountain and June 27 at Big White,” said Greer.

More info at: elevationoutdoors.ca/mountain-bike-camps.