Big Sky Youth Empowerment creates opportunities for at risk youth to experience success and become contributing members of our community through life skills workshops and outdoor adventure.
Who They Are
Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP) was established in early 2001 for at-risk youth. Ruby, our BACF intern, interviewed Emma Burick, Development Manager for BYEP to learn more about their work. The creative programming solutions came out of the Executive Director’s frustration with traditional models of mental health counseling.
Youth voluntarily apply through a scholarship program that focuses on their strengths. The youth work with mentors through programs offering a safe, creative space for the youth in their times of adversity. The youth connect with the community and the outdoors as a way to give them a sense of belonging and success, wherever and however that might look for them. The ultimate goal of BYEP is to contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of youth, giving them tools to contribute and engage with the community and world around them.
What They Do
Over the past 16 years, the lives they impact has steadily been on the rise. This year 120 youth participated in their programming with a total of 43,200 hours of direct service. Programs aim to foster positive personal development through intentional life skills workshops, work placement, local stewardship, independent living strategies, and outdoor adventures. Greatly contributing to BYEP are the volunteers participating in programming. The general demographics of volunteers is 20-30 year olds living in Bozeman and attending school or working, and their engagement is essential to BYEP’s mission.
BYEP offers two distinct programs for youth, the Approach and Crux, up to a total of four years of mentorship.
The Approach starts for youth in the third quarter of 8th grade to the second quarter of 10th grade and focuses on the internal relationship the youth has with themselves. Some of the focus areas are identity development, communication styles, conflict resolution, personal choice and healthy decision making. Once students have completed this program, they can choose to continue their journey for two more years through Crux.
Crux shifts focus away from the individual’s relationship with themselves and turns to their relationship with the world around them. This enables youth to look at life beyond high school and begin to shift toward work, community involvement/stewardship, and independent living.
BYEP also offers the youth additional mentorship through tutoring for an additional six hours per week.
Connecting donors to the causes that they care about, BYEP received donor funds through Bozeman Area Community Foundation. This generous funding allowed BYEP to serve 119 teens in 2017, the largest population size to date. BACF funds also provide direct program support to weekend adventures and weekly life skills workshops. Additional funding allows BYEP to provide youth with the best community resources and outdoor experiences available.