What is BOLD & GOLD?

This past week, our Y was very fortunate to be included in a brand new national YMCA program called BOLD & GOLD. BOLD (Boys Outdoor Leadership Development) and GOLD (Girls Outdoor Leadership Development) will aim to breathe some new life and intentionality into our existing Ranger program. With the BOLD & GOLD grant, we are going to be able to offer scholarships for our Ranger programs, which would not otherwise have been available. Our goal is to make sure that anyone who has the want and the drive to improve themselves through a tripping program, has the ability to come to camp.

So what exactly is BOLD & GOLD, and what sort of changes should we expect? That’s a great question, and I’d love to tell you more about it!

Let’s start with the mission of BOLD & GOLD. The BOLD/GOLD mission is to create a world where all young people have the emotional intelligence, courage, and compassion to be positive multicultural leaders in their communities. More than ever, these qualities are becoming key character attributes for our youth to take into their adulthood.

On top of this mission statement, we will also be focusing on five core competencies that we want to instill in all of the BOLD & GOLD Rangers:

Confidence. BOLD/GOLD students build confidence and self-worth by mastering skills, achieving goals, and creating positive relationships. Confidence helps people resist peer pressure and persist in the face of setbacks. Confident people are healthier, more likely to follow their dreams, and have better relationships than those who lack confidence.

Courage. BOLD/GOLD students learn to develop and act with courage, which is empowering and creates a sense of resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to overcome challenges and bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful. In the BOLD/GOLD program, resiliency means a tolerance for adversity. Resilient people are better at solving problems, better at managing strong feelings and impulses, and happier than those without a sense of resiliency.

Emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence helps BOLD/GOLD students develop empathy, be self-aware, and create stronger relationships with others. Emotional intelligence is an important part of creating positive relationships and an essential aspect of leadership.

Community awareness. Building a strong, diverse, and supportive community is an important part of the BOLD/GOLD program, with its emphasis on respect and creating an environment in which all individuals feel valued for their unique perspective and contribution.

Wonder. Having fun, learning to marvel at nature, and feeling a sense of curiosity benefits BOLD/GOLD students and those around them. Respect for the natural environment and for individual creative expression comes out of this sense of wonder.

All of these core competencies, when intentionally developed in youth, contribute to their sense of well-being by fostering achievement, relationships, and belonging. YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) research has shown that achievement, relationships, and belonging are the high-priority outcomes the Y can positively impact in youth as we seek to nurture the potential of every child and teen.

By using tools such as emotional & physical safety, emotional & physical challenge, framing, reflection, and power sharing we can ensure that every camper that joins us on a BOLD & GOLD ranger trip is leaving as a well-rounded community leader.

A big part of making sure this program has a lasting impact in our communities is through partnering with other organizations and people that care about our mission. Our goal is to ensure that BOLD & GOLD becomes a staple program here at YMCA Camp Ockanickon, and we need your help! Whether it is a specific donation to the BOLD & GOLD program, or just dropping off that head lamp that you no longer use, it all adds up! If you would like to learn more about the program, know a teen that you think would do well in the program, or are interested in donating gear you no longer use please contact me at


Here’s to hoping we have a GOLDen summer that emBOLDens our Rangers!


Matthew Geurtsen

Trips and Family Programs Coordinator