Apply Now: 57hours Guide Education Fund

Calling all guides! Ready to push your career or coursework forward? Apply for a scholarship to help pay for AMGA course fees and travel expenses.

57hours Guide Education Fund: Developing The Next Generation of Mountain Guides

We work with over 400 guides across the world, and one common denominator resonates among them all: professional courses are expensive. 

That’s why we started the Guide Education Fund, which is designed to alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with both entering the guiding industry and career advancement. 1% of our yearly profit goes towards scholarships to help pay for guide courses, exams, and travel expenses.

We Are Proud to Offer Up to $8,000 in Scholarship Funding in 2022

The funds are to be used toward American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) and International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) certifications. Half of the scholarships are specifically allocated for aspirant female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ guides starting their journey. The other half is for current guides looking to advance their career.

We started 57hours because we believe in the importance and impact of guides. When it comes to educating outdoor enthusiasts on how to safely enjoy the mountains and preserve our amazing planet, there is no comparison to the knowledge and skill of a fully certified and compassionate AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide.

Viktor, 57hours Co-Founder

Through our platform, guides can find clients faster, and through our education fund, they can pursue additional training and certifications to support their growing business. Our aim is to help guides build a sustainable career doing what they love.

Ready to apply for a scholarship? Head to our Guide Education Fund Application

Guide Education Fund: FAQ

  • How many scholarships will 57hours be giving out? To be determined. We will offer up to $8,000 in scholarships in 2022 (individual scholarship amount may vary depending on need). These funds can be used towards programs taking place in 2023.
  • When do applications close? Friday, December 30th at 11:59pm MST 
  • What can the scholarship be used for? AMGA Mountain Guide Program program fees and associated travel expenses. We aim to help aspiring guides complete their Rock, Ski, or Alpine certifications. At this time, we are not awarding money towards the AMGA Climbing Instructor Program, which includes the Single Pitch Instructor or Climbing Wall Instructor. 
  • Do you have scholarships specifically for women, BIPOC, or LGBTQA+ guides? Yes! We have reserved half of our Guide Education Funds for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ guides. Read more about our diversity commitment below.   
  • What if I miss this application deadline? We accept applications on a rolling basis. In 2023 we will offer two scholarship rounds, closing on Friday, June 30th at 11:59pm MST and again on Friday, December 29th at 11:59pm MST.
  • Do I need to be a guide on the 57hours platform? No! Once you start guiding, we would love to help you grow your business through our 57hours online platform. If you are already a guide but have yet to be listed on our platform, you can work with our team to get your guided trips listed.    
  • Who can I email with additional questions? You can email Stephanie Kichler, 57hours Community Initiatives Manager, at educationfund@57hours.com with any questions! 

Diversity in the Outdoors

Half of our Guide Education Funds are specifically for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ guides to support historically underrepresented communities and increase diversity representation in the outdoors. 

Norie Kizaki guiding all women’s trip in Iceland in March of 2022
Norie Kizaki, who is the only woman of color IFMGA Mountain Guide, during an all-women’s trip to Iceland in March 2022. Photo courtesy of Norie Kizaki

The guiding and outdoor industries have long struggled to represent the racial and ethnic diversity of the United States. According to the AMGA and IFMGA, of the 170 certified Mountain Guides in the country, only 16 are women, including just one woman of color, Norie Kizaki. In an AMGA First: Norie Kizaki on Breaking Trail for BIPOC Women, Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala highlights the importance of representation in the outdoors: 

The moment I heard that Norie was officially an American Mountain Guide/IFMGA Guide, I teared up and was overwhelmed with pride. I texted some of the Brown Girls Climb crew and later shared her speech from the pinning ceremony. Norie’s achievement was our achievement because she represents the beautiful intersections of her identities.

 – Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala, AMGA certified SPI and Indigenous Climber

The picture doesn’t look much better for participation in outdoor recreation. According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2022 Outdoor Participation Trends Report, 72% of participants are white, while only 9% are black, 5% are Asian, and 11% are Hispanic. 

We believe it’s hard to be what you can’t see. When women see other women guiding, they can see themselves as guides. Seeing people of color recreating outdoors makes it easier for other people of color to take the first step toward exploring outdoor spaces.

Our first 57hours Guide Education Fund scholarship recipient, Anthony Leong, captures this sentiment perfectly in his recent article, Let the Teaching Be the Guide.

 Ice climber reviewing anchors and belaying from above at the top of an icy route.
2022 Guide Education Fund Scholarship Recipient Anthony Leong, honing his ice-climbing skills in the Catskill Mountains. Photo courtesy of Anthony Leong
By becoming a certified Rock Guide, I want to show other Asians that there is a place for them in the climbing community.

– Anthony Leong, Aspiring AMGA Rock Guide

More Than Just 1% For Guides, 1% For Conservation Too

We recognize that people and the planet need to be supported to create a sustainable and diverse world. This is why we are a 1% for the Planet Business Member and put another 1% of our annual profits towards conservation and stewardship nonprofits to help protect the environment.

Here at 57hours, we aim to protect the things we love for generations to come.

According to our recent survey, 98% of Mountain Guides are experiencing the effects of climate change. The real-world impact is shorter guiding seasons, an increase in hazards from rock fall and avalanches, and classic routes becoming unrecognizable, requiring guides to find alternatives. This summer’s forced closure of Mont Blanc showcased the staggering effects of climate change on the outdoor and guiding communities. 

This year, we are donating to the Access Fund, which is creating a sustainable future for rock climbing—our first love—and Protect Our Winters, which puts passion into purpose towards real climate change.

You get a taste of this beautiful world, and then you have to decide how to keep doing it sustainably.

 – Perica, 57hours Co-Founder

In the U.S., there are more than 164.2 million outdoor recreation users, the highest number of participants on record. Here at 57hours, we are honored to support the guides and our planet, who make all of this possible. 

Advance your guiding career and apply to the Guide Education Fund!

About the author
57hours Community Initiatives Manager

Teacher, hiker, and lover of the Colorado Plateau
Stephanie is passionate about stewarding the land and water around her. She honors the interconnectedness of our environment and people and seeks ways to give more than she takes when recreating outdoors. She centers her work around shepherding the next generation of outdoor advocates and enthusiasts equally committed to caring for our natural world. You can follow along on her journeys @steph_anie.k.

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