Course Descriptions


Outdoor Leadership

(for students ages 14 to 18*)

This 8-day course seeks to jumpstart students’ lifelong engagement with nature, stewardship, and the outdoors. Students will be canoe camping and/or backpacking on these service expeditions in the North Cascades. Students gain strong foundations in outdoor skills, leadership, and natural history, along with completing hands-on stewardship activities including caring for public lands and field science projects.

*Students must be 14-18 years old as of June 1, 2015

  • Offered June 18-25, July 1-8, and August 6-13, 2015 (eight courses offered; 9-10 students per trip)
  • Backpacking and/or canoe camping
  • Leadership and public speaking skills
  • Hands-on service projects
  • Explore and learn about the North Cascades wilderness
  • Community building and communication skills
  • Students earn 15 community service hours


    Science and Sustainability

    (for students ages 16 to 18*)

    This 16-day long backpacking, canoe camping, and car camping field expedition connects students to the natural world while giving them the knowledge and skills to understand and explore ecosystem processes and how they relate to our changing climate. Outdoor leadership, public speaking skills, hands-on field science monitoring, and stewardship work provide students the confidence and knowledge to share their stories during a culminating presentation at the end of their course.

    Upon returning home, students design and implement a service-learning project in their home community. Many service projects will involve teaching lessons in sustainability to local elementary or middle school students or planning a field trip for a service project outside. Students will receive guidance and mentorship from Youth Leadership Adventures staff; projects should be completed within one year of the summer, and can be used for Senior Projects. Students are strongly encouraged to apply with one or more teammate from their school or community. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

     *Students must be 16-18 years old as of June 1, 2015

    • Offered July 15-30, 2015 (three courses offered; 9 students per trip)
    • Backpacking and/or canoe camping and hiking
    • Ecology, geology, and climate science
    • Hands-on field science monitoring and stewardship
    • Leadership and public speaking skills
    • Sustainability practices that translate to home communities
    • Culminating presentations to youth and adults
    • Student-led service projects in their home communities after the course
    • Students receive at least 30 community service hours


Questions? Please see our FAQ page or contact North Cascades Institute at (360) 854-2579 or

Student Voices


Youth Leadership Adventures is a program that opens up a whole new perspective on the way we view nature, a program that tests your limits while still creating a strong community for support and trust."

-- Flor Hernandez, 2014 Participant


Field Guide to North Cascades Institute