Youth Leadership Adventures


Coronavirus Update

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, we are preparing for YLA summer trips as best we can, knowing that the virus could have an affect on our programs this summer. We prioritize the safety of our students, staff and greater community above all else, and will update applicants as soon as we can with any updates or changes. You can find ongoing Institute updates at

2020 Course Dates

July 6-13 (8-day)
July 23-30 (8-day)
August 12-23 (12-day)

Applications are due March 30, 2020

Youth Leadership Adventures are for motivated high school students seeking a fun and challenging summer adventure in the North Cascades!

Our 8 and 12-day long backpacking and/or canoe camping field courses connect 9th-12th grade students to the natural world while giving them the knowledge and skills to understand how climate change is affecting the North Cascades. In partnership with North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, high school aged participants canoe, backpack, camp and complete stewardship projects in the North Cascades while receiving hands-on training in outdoor leadership, field science, communication skills and public speaking. No experience is necessary and scholarships are widely available!

Following the course, alumni may attend the Environmental Leaders Summit in Seattle, receive year-round mentorship and engage in local stewardship opportunities. 

Courses are designed for students who have no prior outdoor experience; all gear, food, and transportation from Skagit and Whatcom counties is provided.

There are many ways to get involved in this transformational outdoor program:

Students: 9-12th graders looking to go on an adventure, meet new people & explore local ecosystems. No experience is necessary and we offer food, gear, scholarships and transportation. Apply now!

Teachers: High school teachers in Skagit or Whatcom counties can host a short presentation in their classroom to share this opportunity with their students (contact us at, presentations take place Feb-March)

Field Instructors and Interns: Positions are posted at ncascades.atsondemand.comSee Jobs page for more information. 

Why participate?

  • Canoe and backpack in the North Cascades
  • Learn about ecology, geology, cultural history and climate science
  • Meet new people
  • Develop leadership and communication skills
  • Enhance your resume and college application
  • Practice public speaking through a culminating presentation
  • Earn 15-20 community service hours by completing a stewardship project
  • Have a great adventure this summer!


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Program Instructors

    Meet our talented Youth Leadership Team of coordinators and instructors 

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Find answers to participants' most common questions

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    Alumni Testimonials

    Read what past participants have said about their experience with Youth Leadership Adventures

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    Tuition and Scholarships

    Learn more about tuition costs and payment options. Scholarships are widely available to make Youth Leadership Adventures affordable for everyone!

  • Payment and Cancellation Policies

    Payment and Cancellation Policies

    Once accepted, please review North Cascades Institute’s payment and cancellation policies. If you need to cancel your spot on a Youth Leadership Adventures course, please notify us as soon as possible so we can offer your spot to another student

  • YLA-Shuttle.jpg

    Shuttle Information

    Check here later in the season for transportation information

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    Environmental Leaders Summit, year-round mentorship and stewardship opportunities!