Mountain Alliance explores the outdoors with students
Mountain Alliance is a nonprofit after school program for high schoolers in Watauga County. Mountain Alliance stems from college outdoor programs that provide students with a chance to reconnect with nature while building community with each other.
Rock climbing, belaying, hiking and bouldering are all activities that are offered in the program. About 95% of the trips are fully paid for by grants, so every willing student has a chance to participate free of charge. The program is headed by Rachel Witmer who believes that Mountain Alliance is a great way for high schoolers to build their communication skills, leadership skills, involvement with their community and with each other.
“I’ve seen students go from not talking at all in group circles to taking the lead and offering to write things down and making suggestions,” Witmer said.
Lucy Edy, former student leader of Mountain Alliance said the program was a great opportunity for her to learn leadership skills.
“The program allowed me to grow in many different ways including leadership; by being a good leader but also being a good friend,” Edy said.
Witmer believes that the students get more out of Mountain Alliance through interacting with their community and interacting with each other. She said the most rewarding thing about Mountain Alliance for her is working and getting to know the students. Edy “definitely recommends the program” and said Mountain Alliance has something for everyone.
“It is so cool to get them outside and see the changes that interacting with other people does for them,” Witmer said.