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Mark Steelquist combined his Boy Scouts of America experience with his passion for helping youth of all backgrounds and genders become leaders and created a new organization in 2008 - Cascade Leadership Challenge.

Starting with a small cohort of children, including his own two, Mark dedicated the next 12 years of his life as president and de-facto executive director volunteering his wisdom, time, and leadership to the group.


 
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Since its inception, CLC has worked to balance safety, leadership and high-adventure to create new cohorts of young leaders of all types. We have seen young children come up through the program, grow up and return to volunteer their time and efforts to helping the next group of youth along.

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The goal is to start with fun - with making the trips the right size for each cohort of children and increasing the demands as they grow more skilled, knowledgeable and confident. We recognize the importance of goofing off. That movie and spa nights at the warehouse, along with the annual Portland hipster hunt and the annual rock, paper, scissors tournament builds camaraderie.

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Weekly advisor meetings throughout the year allow the youth to gain the skills that they need to succeed - learning everything from how to dress in the wilderness to gear repair to glacier travel, all in the safety of the warehouse.

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This has culminated with youth who have planned, organized and executed adventure in not only rafting the rivers and climbing the peaks of the Northwest but also spanning the globe Everest to Yosemite; from the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories of Canada to Aconcagua in Argentina, the tallest peak in the Southern and Western Hemispheres.

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CLC has evolved into a parent-led organization that relies upon the legacy of the youth that have matured through the program to lead the new youth coming up through it.