Wilderness Expeditions for Ages 11-17

BOLD & GOLD Outdoor Leadership Development

Through wilderness adventure trips, young people are given opportunities to grow in courage, confidence, community awareness, emotional intelligence, and wonder – essential life skills that equip them to be leaders in their own communities – all while having fun, exploring new places, and making new friends!

YMCA of the Pines is part of the nationwide YMCA BOLD & GOLD movement.

All trips go off-site and participants sleep in tents the entire time.

We offer both single gender and all gender trips.  Please see categories below for details.

2024 Spring Trip:

Spring in Shenandoah National Park – Camping and Hiking

All Gender Ages 14 to 17: Tuesday, April 2 – Saturday, April 6

Head to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for Spring Break!  We will camp and go for amazing day hikes together in some of the best wilderness areas that Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.  We’ll make new friends and enjoy spectacular vistas, wildflowers, and rushing waterfalls along the journey while strengthening our 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.

SUMMER Single Gender Boys and Girls Trips:

Adventure Sampler – Camping, Canoeing, Hiking, Climbing

Boys and Girls (Separate) Ages 13 to 15: Sunday, June 23 – Friday, June 28
Boys and Girls (Separate) Ages 11 to 13: Sunday, July 7 – Friday, July 12 and Sunday August 18 – Friday, August 23

Experience a thrilling week full of adventure on our introductory trip! The first couple days, we’ll 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 we travel to beautiful Stokes State Forest to set up camp and explore more remote hiking trails together. The 13-15 year-old groups will work their way up to an amazing overnight backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail.  The 11-13 year-old groups will make base camps and venture from there.  This is a fantastic introduction to wilderness trips and perfect for those aspiring to conquer longer trips in the future!

Castaways – Canoeing and Fishing

Boys Ages 12 to 14: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, August 18 – Saturday, August 24

Girls Ages 12 to 14: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29

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

Canoeing and Survival Skills

Boys Ages 12 to 14: Sunday, July 7 – Saturday, July 13

Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild?  Canoe down the Susquehanna River and learn new survival skills from our instructors while camping on river islands.  This trip has its challenges but is suitable for those new to paddling or backcountry travel.

Trailblazers – Hiking

Girls and Boys (Separate) Ages 13 to 15: Sunday, July 21 – Saturday, July 27

Explore the legendary and majestic Old Loggers Path in the hills of Pennsylvania! We’ll start our journey in an old ghost town and head out on an amazing journey through an incredibly scenic forest with rushing rivers and summit views. We’ll spend the first full day and night packing and preparing at base camp before heading out to put our knowledge to the test on the trail.  We will spend the rest of the week hiking and camping on the trail.  We’ll have a blast making new friends as we learn and lead together.  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.

Shenandoah National Park – Hiking and Climbing

Boys and Girls (Separate) Ages 14 to 17: Sunday, August 4 – Saturday, August 10

Go hiking and rock climbing in Shenandoah National Park!  We will take a road trip to camp, go for amazing day hikes, and climb together in some of the best wilderness areas that Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.  We’ll enjoy spectacular vistas, wildflowers, and rushing waterfalls along the journey while strengthening our 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.

Great Vibes: Canoeing and Yoga

Girls Ages 13 to 15: Sunday, August 4 – Saturday, August 10

Find your rhythm while canoeing with new friends and practicing yoga on the banks and islands of the Delaware River.  Go with the flow! We paddle through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where serenity can be found just a little more easily.  This trip does have some challenges but is suitable for those new to paddling or backcountry travel.

Labor Day Pinelands Hiking

Boys and Girls (Separate) Ages 13 to 15: Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2

Escape into the Pinelands for Labor Day weekend!  Enjoy the warm days before school starts, go backpacking, meet new friends, and cook your meals over camp stoves.  This is a great introduction to backpacking!  The itinerary is challenging but doable for beginners.

SUMMER All Gender Trips:

Trail Tunes: Hiking and Making Music

All Gender Ages 14 to 17: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29

What’s better than making music with a group of new friends in the wilderness?  Not much if you ask us!  Go backpacking on the scenic and inspirational Old Loggers Path in PA and find a rhythm or melody at every opportunity.  Bring a small (and inexpensive and lightweight) instrument of your own (could be your voice), or improvise with what you find on the trail.  Beginner musicians very welcome.  The itinerary is challenging but doable for those new to adventuring in the outdoors- we do recommend that participants prepare and are in good physical condition for this trip.

Cruising Chefs: Canoeing and Cooking

All Gender Ages 14 to 17: Sunday, July 21 – Saturday, July 27

Be inspired while canoeing down the beautiful Susquehanna River with new friends, and make some amazing gourmet backcountry meals while camping on river islands.  The group will take turns with who teams up to do the cooking each day, and everyone will get to practice other leadership roles within the group as well.  This trip has its challenges, but is suitable for those new to paddling or backcountry travel.  Beginner cooks welcome- our instructors will offer pro tips as necessary and supervise all chefs -beginner or expert- in the backcountry kitchen!

Adventurous Artists: Hiking and Making Art

All Gender Ages 14 to 17: Sunday, August 4 – Saturday, August 10

Express your inner artist while backpacking on the scenic Appalachian Trail. Beginners are welcome!  You can bring your own sketchbook and supplies, or borrow some of ours.  You’ll carry everything you need to thrive in expedition backpacks for the week as you hike along this historic route. 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!  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.

Delaware River – Canoeing

All Gender Ages 14 to 17: Sunday, August 4 – Saturday, August 10

We will paddle through the scenic Delaware River National Recreation area. We’ll carry all of our camping gear in the canoes and haul it up to our new campsites each night.  The itinerary is challenging but suitable for those new to adventuring in the outdoors.

Susquehanna River – Canoeing and Conservation

All Gender Ages 14 to 17: Sunday, August 18 – Saturday, August 24

We will head into Pennsylvania to canoe the Susquehanna River, learning about the ecosystem of the watershed and contributing to its health while going with the flow!  Our conservation work will be based on the needs at the time, and can count as service hours if needed.  We will get to experience the serenity of the river environment each day, and keep our eyes open for beavers, otters, hawks and eagles along our journey together!  The itinerary is challenging but suitable for those new to adventuring in the outdoors or beginner paddlers.

FALL All Gender Trip:

Fall Camping and Hiking Adventure

All Gender Ages 11 to 14: Three Days over Fall Break – 2024 dates TBD 

Here’s your chance to get outside and have some fun during the long weekend!  On this 3 day, 2 night camping trip, participants venture off-site to Stokes State Forest where they will set up a base camp and go hiking in the area, including to beautiful mountain vistas on the legendary Appalachian Trail.  All nights are spent in tents.  The itinerary is suitable for those new to adventuring in the outdoors!  We start at 9 AM Sat. and our closing circle/graduation is at 5 PM Monday.

Pricing*

2024

  • 7 Day/6 night Summer in Shenandoah National Park – Tier A: $1375 – Tier B: $1200 – Tier C: $1065
  • All other 7 Day/6 night Summer trips or  5 Day/4 night Spring in Shenandoah National Park – Tier A: $1200 – Tier B: $1065 – Tier C: $950
  • 6 Day/5 night Adventure Sampler – Tier A: $1095 – Tier B: $950 – Tier C: $850
  • 3 Day/2 night Labor Day or Fall trip – Tier A: $399 – Tier B: $329 – Tier C: $250

* 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 
Our wilderness instructors hold certifications in Wilderness First Aid, CPR and Lifeguarding (for boating expeditions).  Instructors also receive extensive training on leadership development and backcountry living skills.
To learn more about the national BOLD & GOLD program, please visit the national BOLD & GOLD website.