| Gallatin County, MT |


To provide opportunities to extraordinary teenagers in order to foster self-reliance, critical thinking skills, and community participation.

Big Sky Youth Empowerment came about because founder and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Pete MacFadyen, was frustrated by the traditional counseling models offered to (or rather forced upon) teenagers. The difference with BYEP is that kids voluntarily participate. They are then grouped with peers, mentors, and program managers who go on weekend adventures and attend weekday workshops. Why? Because adventures build confidence as participants are challenged in various settings around Gallatin County while workshops focus on things like building healthy relationships, independent decision making, and interpersonal skills. BYEP's goal is to equip at-risk youth with the skills to make educated decisions towards an empowered and independent future.

In the summer of 2017 alone, BYEP and their 34 mentors committed 9,024 hours of programming alongside 98 kids. They went on rafting trips in Montana's legendary whitewater, taught belay sessions to prospective climbers, went on several outdoor climbing adventures, paddle boarded, hiked, volunteered at food banks, and learned the importance of environmental stewardship. Fueled by grants and donors, these trips and experiences that BYEP is able to conduct matter immensely in the development of not just individual character, but also in the collective cultivation of communities.

"I work at BYEP because I am confident that the space we provide here changes the lives of teens. Often times life can be incredibly chaotic, and at BYEP we offer support, create a non-judgemental space, find ourselves, build confidence, and learn how to be in a community. BYEP cultivates all the things I believe in: change, growth, and love." - Kayla Bradley [Approach Program Manager]