Our Mission Statement

To implement a Christian-based wilderness program through which teenaged boys advance on their journey in becoming capable, Christ-centered men. Through the experiences of wilderness canoeing, big game hunting and winter adventures along with biblical discussions about masculinity, teens will obtain outdoor skills, confidence, and an understanding of what a Christian man is.

Our Strategy

Curious about what OMM will look like in 20 years? Want to know how we’re funded or what new trips are coming down the road? Check out our Strategic Plan to find out.

Read our strategic plan

canoe in a lake near sunset

What We Do

We introduce teenage boys to wilderness adventure, teaching them outdoor skills and discussing Christian masculinity through the following trips:

  • Wilderness canoeing in Boundary Waters, Minnesota
  • Big Game Hunting in Colorado
  • Winter adventure/survival skills in New Mexico

On these trips, biblically-based discussions are held to help these young men begin to answer the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be a man?
  • How do I become one?
  • What are the right things that a woman needs from a godly man?
  • How do I become truly alive?

Who We Serve

We’re seeking boys ages 12-17 who are one of the following:

  • Boys without an active father figure in their life
  • Boys who do have a father figure but the man needs help teaching the boy outdoor skills or discussing Christian masculinity

men gather round a harvested doe

man ice fishes

Our Principles and Core Beliefs

  • Outdoor skills result in increased confidence and capability
  • Mentorship – Boys need a guide in the journey to manhood
  • Masculinity is bestowed by a man or a group of men (from the book, “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge)
  • Men have God-ordained roles (from the book, “4 Pillars of A Man’s Heart” by Stu Weber)


The journey to manhood is fraught with mistaken information, values, and actions. On any wilderness experience that’s new, having a guide to show the way is critical. Our trips pair each teen with a mentor. Mentors preferably are the teen’s father figure, be they biological or family friend. Teens needing a mentor will be provided one (please contact us for information on the detailed background check/vetting process used in selecting mentors).

How Your Financial Support is Used

Of Mountains & Men is dedicated to making your donations directly impact the young men in need. Your tax-deductible contribution is gratefully used in several ways:

  • Equipment purchases (canoes, tents, portage packs, muzzleloaders, heaters, snowshoes, etc.)
  • Permits/campgrounds
  • Food

Of Mountains & Men is an IRS-certified 501c3. Our Board of Directors adheres to the organization’s By Laws.

Our Leadership

Joel Tuning
Youth Group Outreach

Joel’s the father of 6 children, including three foster kids whom he and his wife Amy felt the Lord calling them to adopt. He’s a career firefighter with many years of hunting and fishing experience, including several adventurous years in Alaska. Joel’s guided youth to success on previous ministry hunts and is passionate about serving youth.

Paul Woodard

Paul and his wife Megan have three young children. Paul served his country as an Infantryman in the US Army, including a combat tour in Afghanistan. An avid hunter and Boundary Waters veteran, Paul graduated with a degree in Forestry from Michigan State University.

Joel Ruse
Strategic Outreach

Joel, a husband to Molly, father to two boys and follower of Jesus, thrives on spending time in God’s great outdoors where he finds refreshment while hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and gardening. Joel has spent a great deal of his life serving children and youth through various ministries and church groups. Joel believes that God created humans with a deep need for adventure but we must fight to make the time for it.

Jesse Simmons
Prayer Lead/Special Projects

Jesse and his wife Hannah have dedicated their lives to helping others. Hannah’s a midwife and Jesse focuses his huge heart on raising their 4 children and Of Mountains & Men. Jesse’s the veteran of several wilderness canoeing trips and is a successful deer hunter.

Ben Hass
Board Member

Ben is an avid outdoorsman, father (2 kids), and husband. His wife Janae and family run a small resort in northern Minnesota and also does carpentry and property management. Ben grew up in a foster family for 20 years and enjoys helping troubled youth. He did 10 years of Bible study at the county jails, and is involved with hosting a men’s Bible study with area churches.

BJ Rice
Board Member

William (BJ) Rice was born and raised in a small town (pop. < 1,000) in Montana. Hunting and the outdoors has always been a part of his life. He graduated college from the US Military Academy at West Point. He then went to graduate school before completing another 14 years on Active Duty in the US Army with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. God then led his family to New Mexico where they have a chance to explore the outdoors on a regular basis.

Chad Vermeer
Board Member

Chad and his wife Holly have two sons and one daughter. Chad enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors, camping, boating, fishing and hunting. He has a passion to help young men understand the fulfilling call from God to be in the outdoors, not only with his sons but also with several of their friends. He has served on may local boards within and for the church. He spends his work days running a development company and building homes.

Of Mountains & Men board of directors