Photos courtesy BSCO.

Many small steps and one giant leap

Community center within reach

Rays of sunshine filtered through clouds to warm the earth on July 27 just as a community event set into motion. Shovels began tearing into the ground with glad cheers from participants as children, community members and organization leaders celebrated a tremendous fundraising push and monumental accomplishment for the Big Sky community. Soon, a community center will be constructed on these 3.3 acres of land in the heart of Big Sky. 

Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO) has been able to raise $18.8 million “with extensive support from area residents, part-time residents, private club members, and partner organizations,” a BSCO press release stated. 

“This campaign shows that we have all come here for the same reasons—recreation, environment, family, and community. These values are the top priorities for every Big Sky donor I spoke with, no matter their size of gift or their residency status,” Ciara Wolfe, BSCO chief executive officer said. 

Representing one of the largest single contributions, the Woodman family ¬– fulltime Big Sky residents and founders of GoPro – gifted $4 million from the Jill and Nicholas Woodman Foundation. 

“[They] value family, embrace community, and have a true sense of adventure. With gratitude for the opportunities life has given them, their giving focuses on causes and communities to which they are truly connected. Another priority for the Woodmans is having their three young sons experience the positive impact we can all have on our community,” Wolfe said. 

Nick Woodman said they feel luck to call Big Sky home and help make the community center possible. 

“Our mountain is awesome, but it’s the people of Big Sky that make this such a magical place. Having a gathering place will only make our community stronger and we’re beyond grateful to be a part of this amazing effort the Big Sky Community Organization has organized,” he said. 

Wolfe explained that the Woodman family contribution allowed for the planned size of the center’s climbing wall to be double for a total of 1,300 square feet, including 20 different top rope routes plus a dedicated bouldering area. 

“In addition to the Woodman’s gift, BSCO received four other charitable gifts of at least $1 million each and a $1.5 million grant of public funds from the Big Sky Resort Area Tax District,” the press release stated. 

The community center building will be named BASE: Big Adventures, Safe Environment. The name is also to help symbolize opportunities for “every individual in Big Sky to lead a healthy, happy, engaged lifestyle, building the base of the community and also describes the experiences that people will have at the BASE,” the press release stated. 

“Projects like these would not be possible without our growing, diverse population and thriving local economy,” notes Wolfe. “This project will provide Big Sky with a permanent community space that serves everyone, year-round,” Wolfe said. 

Escalating construction costs and necessary improvements to the parkland meant the shortcoming of the $17.5 million initial goal. Community contributions meant parts of the project did not have to be cut. 

“Thanks to the generosity of so many in our community, we only have $1.2 million to go to reach our stretch goal of $20 million. These funds will allow us to not only get started on the full project this summer, but also purchase an additional 2.6 acres for future recreation facilities in the community for potential indoor aquatics, courts or field space,” Wolfe said. 

For more information or to get involved, visit www.bscomt.org/all-in-big-sky 

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