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11-Year-Old Summits Mt. Massive and Raises $28,000 for BGMC

Bryson Reine ascended the second tallest mountain in Colorado to raise funds for a Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) project.
Earlier this year, 11-year-old Bryson Reine told his father he wanted to do something massive in 2023 to raise money for Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC). Bryson not only lived up to his word, he exceeded it as he made it to the top of Colorado’s second tallest peak, the class 2 Mt. Massive at 14,421 feet, and also raised a “massive” $28,000 for BGMC.

Last year, Bryson, who attends Highpoint Church in Aurora, Colorado, with his family, did four 14ers (14,000-foot mountains) in a single day and raised $7,000 for BGMC. This year, he wanted to raise even more money for BGMC.

“Mt. Massive was a much harder climb than the four last year,” Bryson says. “It was really long — an uphill the whole time . . . just hard and grueling.”

Shawn, Bryson’s dad and Church Ministries director for the Rocky Mountain Ministry Network, explains that the total distance of the 11-hour hike was 14.9 miles with an elevation gain of 5,187 feet (just 93 feet short of a mile)! Also, there was a roughly 30-degree temperature change (start to summit) and the oxygen is significantly “thinner” at that altitude.

“We started at 3:30 a.m. — to avoid the afternoon storms that often arise up top — and did the mountain together,” Shawn says. “Now, Mt. Massive doesn’t require ropes to scale, but it is a hike that requires rock scrambling (using hands and feet to reach the summit). My legs were really hurting by the time we were done, and so were his.”

For anyone who has run, walked, or hiked up a fairly steep incline for hours, they know it places a significant strain on their hamstrings and requires a significant physical effort. Although making the summit would seem to indicate easy going the rest of the way, many people discover downhill is far more difficult and painful than they ever imagined. Going down a fairly steep incline for hours places a heavy load on the quadriceps (front of the thigh) as every step requires “braking” to keep from going too fast and losing control. Bryson and Shawn admit, both with a laugh, the next morning their legs had a few “unkind words” for them.

But Bryson says that what kept him going was the thought of the project he was raising BGMC money for – drip irrigation systems for families in Africa.

Following the Assemblies of God General Council in Columbus, Ohio, in August, district youth directors and kids ministries leaders were invited to a summit. There, a new WorldServe/BGMC project for drip irrigation for families in African villages was presented. The idea being that the local church would provide the systems to help connect families with the church.

When Bryson sampled the tasteless, low-nutrition gruel that was referred to as “porridge” that many African families have to survive on day after day, and then compared it to what families with a water-efficient drip irrigation system were eating, he knew what his BGMC project was going to be.

“There was a time, when I was going up the mountain and my legs were hurting pretty bad, that I thought, Why am I doing this?,” Bryson says. “And then I just thought of those kids in Africa and the difference this would make in their lives -- that just encouraged me for the whole rest of the hike.”

According to Shawn, each irrigation system costs about $1,000 to purchase and install on 1/8-acre of land, which is more than enough land to feed a family well.

“Bryson's testimony is the epitome of ‘Kids Helping Kids,’” states David Alexieff, national BGMC director. “Bryson and his desire to help kids in Africa by raising monies to purchase drip irrigation will not only impact today's generation of kids in Africa, but also for generations to come. As a leader, I am constantly inspired by the current generation of kids in America. Their heart and compassion for others is truly infectious!”

Although Bryson was able to a raise significant amount through the help of a matching-fund program run by WorldServe as well as other very generous individuals who also caught his vision to help families in need, one pair of donors surprised him — two strangers.

“We were about a mile and a half from the truck, and we ran into these guys that we had also seen at the summit,” Bryson says. “We started talking and they saw our (BGMC) hats and asked what it stood for. We told them and then told them what we were doing and why. They thought that was really neat and asked if they could give us some money — my dad gave them our QR code and they donated $100. That was awesome!”

Shawn says that after completing the challenge, the money seemed to pour in. “We kept being blown away as people gave and gave,” he says.

“It was intense,” Bryson says. “It made me feel amazing (to see people donate so much) — like I would like to do it 100 more times to help many more families!”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.