Youth & Outreach

A BOLD & GOLD Start to 2021

Julia Oleksiak - February 17, 2021

In 2011, the YMCA of Greater Seattle helped to create the Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership experiences, now known nationally across the Y as BOLD and GOLD. In 2021, the Seattle program has once again led the way, working towards becoming a Leave No Trace Accredited Youth Program. Upon completing the accreditation process, Seattle will be the first BOLD & GOLD program, and only the second YMCA program in the nation to be formally recognized by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics for their high quality stewardship education.

BOLD & GOLD experiences, meant for youth ages 11 to 18, take participants on multi-day trips to some of the most beautiful natural places, providing for adventure, challenge and learning along the way. On a BOLD & GOLD trip, each participant has the opportunity to lead their group with mentoring and coaching support along the way. Every trip is different because it’s made up of a different combination of personalities and skills each time. Teens use critical thinking and problem solving to address this uniqueness and help everyone decide how to face challenges together.

The program in Seattle has specifically been designed to make these trips accessible and welcoming to all youth. From removing barriers like transportation, picking up participants in the heart of Seattle; to having partnerships with the Tulalip tribe, Congolese Integration Network, and other community parters; to using a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 model. This means that on each course they strive to have 1/3 of participants paying full price, 1/3 receiving some amount of scholarship or financial assistance, and 1/3 receiving heavy financial assistance. They are also able to fully outfit every participant with what they need to be safe and comfortable in the backcountry, often at no extra expense.

In 2020, the Seattle BOLD & GOLD program ran 35 one-week backpacking programs, getting over 260 young people outdoors during a global pandemic with zero COVID cases. We look forward to working with the Seattle BOLD & GOLD program in 2021, ensuring that all of their participants leave equipped with the Leave No Trace education they need to continue to lead as stewards in their communities!

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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