Wilderness Expeditions for Ages 11-16

BOLD & GOLD – Boys and Girls Outdoor Leadership Development

Outdoor Leadership Development Trips for Ages 11-16

YMCA of the Pines is proud to be a part of a thriving community of YMCA BOLD & GOLD programs across the country!  Together, we are working to create a world where young men and women have the emotional intelligence, courage, and compassion to be leaders in their communities.

BOLD & GOLD participants overcome obstacles and bond with each other while exploring beautiful and natural off-site backcountry wilderness areas.  These immersive experiences give each participant the opportunity to build leadership skills in a diverse group of peers.  Along the journey together, participants develop courage, confidence, emotional intelligence, community awareness, and a sense of wonder.  They go home more skilled and equipped to lead others.

Our 2021 participant survey results show that 94% of our own BOLD & GOLD participants grew in at least one social and emotional learning (SEL) area during their trip.  This type of growth helps them build and maintain relationships and grow their own resiliency in the face of challenges and set-backs.  As they develop, young people with strong SEL skills are more ready for college and careers, experience better mental health and social functioning, and report a greater sense of overall well-being.

All nights are spent in tents, as the group hikes or paddles together on trails or rivers each day.  The itineraries are challenging but suitable for those new to adventuring in the outdoors. The trip descriptions below will help you decide which trip is best suited for you.

Please note, participants in our BOLD & GOLD program are not campers at Camp Ockanickon or Camp Matollionequay.

Our BOLD & GOLD participants have shared the following successes about their experience:

“I developed life skills and confidence in the outdoors.” 
“I’ve created lots of friends.” 
“It is making me able to be more comfortable outside of my normal environment.” 
“I learned about leadership, maturity, and responsibility.” 
“It showed me how far I could push myself, which is an important skill throughout life.” 

2022 BOLD & GOLD Trips

We offer both Single Gender and All Gender Trips – Please see below for details.

***SPRING 2022***

All Gender Trip:

Spring in Shenandoah National Park
Ages 14 to 17 (extending age limit to 17 for Spring trip): Tuesday, April 19 – Saturday, April 23

Head south for Spring Break- Backpack in Shenandoah National Park!  Participants in this 5 day, 4 night outdoor leadership trip hike together through some of the best wilderness areas that Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.  Enjoy spectacular vistas, wildflowers, and rushing waterfalls along the journey while strengthening your leadership skills. The itinerary is challenging but doable for those new to adventuring in the outdoors- we do recommend that participants are in good physical condition for this trip and mentally ready for a challenge.

***SUMMER 2022***

Single Gender Boys and Girls Trips:

Adventure Sampler
Ages 13 to 15: Sunday, July 10 – Friday, July 15

Ages 11 to 13: Sunday August 21 – Friday, August 26

Experience a thrilling week full of adventure on our newly re-imagined introductory trip! The first day, you’ll get to experience some of the most challenging and fun activities camp has to offer, like climbing, canoeing, and survival skills. The adventure will continue off camp when your team travels to a beautiful State Forest to set up camp and explore more remote hiking trails together. This is a fantastic introduction to wilderness trips and perfect for those aspiring to conquer longer trips in the future!

Ages 12 to 14: Sunday, June 26 – Saturday, July 2

Embark on a canoeing and fishing odyssey! You’ll spend the first day at camp practicing your paddling skills, learning proper fishing techniques and packing your dry bags. The next morning, your team will head out to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania where your journey will begin! Spend six days paddling on the river, taking breaks to cast your reel, relax, and take in the gorgeous mountain and farmland scenery. Keep your eyes open for beavers, otters, hawks and eagles! After catching (and releasing) smallmouth bass, catfish, carp, and other fish, you’ll spend your nights camping on river islands where you’ll practice outdoor living skills and bond with your trip mates. If you’re just in for the paddling and not that into fishing, this trip is for you, too!  This is a great opportunity for beginner paddlers!

Ages 13 to 15: Sunday, July 24 – Saturday, July 30

Explore the legendary Old Loggers Path in the hills of Pennsylvania! You’ll spend the first full day and night packing and preparing at base camp before heading out to put your newfound knowledge to the test on the trail. Start your journey in an old ghost town and head out on an amazing 27 mile journey through an incredibly scenic forest. Your team will hike between 2 and 9 miles a day for six days and will spend 5 nights camping on the trail.  Have a blast with your new friends as you learn and lead together in a beautiful environment.

All Gender Trips:

Ages 14 to 16: Sunday, August 7 – Saturday, August 13

This could be the highlight of your summer!  Embrace the physical and mental challenges along with all of the beauty and wonder that the Delaware Water Gap has to offer.  Build courage, confidence, and genuine friendships as you take on opportunities to lead and support your team.  At the end of each day, your hard work will be rewarded with stunning sunsets and incredible views!  Choose to travel either by land or river:

Appalachian Adventure

Backpack through a beautiful section of the Appalachian Trail. You’ll carry everything you need to thrive in expedition backpacks for the week as you hike along this historic route.

Delaware River Canoeing

Paddle through the scenic Delaware River National Recreation area. You’ll carry your gear in the boats and haul it up to your new campsite each night.

2022 Pricing*:

  • 7 Day/6 night – Tier A: $960 – Tier B: $890 – Tier C: $820
  • 6 Day/5 night (Adventure Sampler) or 5 Day/4 night (Spring in Shenandoah) – Tier A: $910 – Tier B: $850 – Tier C: $780

* The tiered pricing system is an “honor system” designed to make the program more affordable and accessible. Tiers B and C are below the true cost of the program, so we ask that all families who can afford to pay Tier A please do so. All chosen tiers are confidential and all participants receive the same great experience regardless of tiers.  Everyone is welcome in the BOLD & GOLD community and inclusivity is at the heart of the program.  Please ask about financial aid options if you need further assistance.

Here is the detailed packing list– if you need something, please make that known on your registration form so we can be prepared.

Frequently Asked Questions 

To learn more about the national BOLD & GOLD program, please visit the national BOLD & GOLD website.