Through our Guide Education Fund, 1% of yearly profit goes to supporting aspirant female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ guides as they enter the industry, and helps current guides take advanced courses to grow their career. Another 1% protects our planet through environmental nonprofits.
1% Guide Education Fund
One of the big challenges we’ve seen in guiding is that it’s a long and costly process.
Guides have to pay for their own education, take time away from work for courses and exams (which means they aren’t making money), and once they are certified it can take years to earn a sustainable wage. To enter the industry, let alone complete the process, can be cost-prohibitive. Frankly, we’re not really sure how they do it, but we understand their passion.
That’s why we’re introducing the Guide Education Fund. 1% of our yearly profit helps pay for guide courses, exams, and certifications. Half of this pool is specifically allocated for aspirant female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ guides starting their journey. The other half is for current guides looking to advance their career.
Speeding up change
When we first met with the AMGA four year ago, the number of female guides was small, and there were almost no guides of color. Since then, the percentage of female guides has jumped from 3-4% to around 9% who are fully-certified today (with the AMGA leading the way to help introduce more diversity to the industry). That’s huge.
“We want to support more equal representation in the industry.” – Viktor
We think if you can reduce some of the barriers to entry, the industry will look much different in another 3 to 5 years.
The multiplier effect
Guides average about 100 days out per year, taking 2.5 people (again, average) per day. That means guides are interacting with somewhere around 250 people every year.
Our mission is to connect more folks to the outdoors, and by helping prospective guides get into the industry and supporting others to become fully certified, that’s how we can make a difference that scales.
Why? When I moved to New York from Europe, I never felt like an outsider
The city is special, a melting pot of cultures bringing the world into one place. It’s not just that New Yorkers are open-minded, but they are excited about meeting people from other places, religions, and races. Our neighbors were excited about us not being American, they wanted to learn about us and where we came from. Seems like everyone I talk to has that experience.
“I moved to New York City because I loved the multi-cultural melting pot and I would love to see that in the outdoors.” – Viktor
I want to bring the New York experience outdoors. Our hope is that by supporting diversity in the guiding industry it will help make human-powered adventures more accessible for all.
Want more details?
Fast facts about diversity in the industry:
- 1 woman of color is an American Mountain Guide
- 9% of AMGA certified Mountain Guides are female (as of November, 15 out of 170 fully certified AMGA/IFMGA guides are women. Figures for BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ guides are not readily available)
- To become an IFMGA guide takes over 86 days of in-the-field training and tens of thousands of dollars, typically requiring 5 to 10 years (to become a pinned Mountain Guide requires completing the Rock, Ski, and Alpine programs)
- 1.5% of USA Climbing members identify as African American, while mixed race climbers make up 4.7% (according to research from Clemson University)
- In 2020, 75 percent of outdoor participants were White (compared to 62 percent of the U.S. population) while only nine percent were Black (according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report)
About the program:
- Up to $2,000 offered per scholarship to go towards an AMGA Mountain Guide Program (please note, at this time we are not awarding money towards the AMGA Climbing Instructor Program, which includes the Single Pitch Instructor or Climbing Wall Instructor. Our aim is to help aspiring guides complete their Rock, Ski, or Alpine certifications)
- The stipend can be applied toward program fees or travel expenses
- 4 awards available in 2022, distributed in two cycles
- Our goal is to work with awardees as they develop their career. Once they are certified to start guiding, we aim to help them grow their business through the 57hours platform
Application details to come. Interested? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for future updates.
1% for the Planet
According to our recent survey, 98% of Mountain Guides are experiencing the effects of climate change—and they are drastic.
That’s why we’re putting another 1% of profit towards conservation and stewardship nonprofits in order to help protect the environment.
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
We believe in the responsibility of private companies towards social responsibility, and we see our role in society as much bigger than being a successful business. We owe it to the guides and to the outdoors.