Youth Leadership Adventures

Empowering the next generation of conservation leaders

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

Our 12-day long backpacking and/or canoe camping field courses connect 9th-12th grade (2018/2019 school year) 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 Youth Leadership 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 the Seattle-area and Skagit and Whatcom counties is provided.

The 2019 YLA application is now closed. 

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!

2019 Summer Course dates

  • July 6 - 17 (Seattle area transportation provided this session only)
  • July 29 - August 9

Seattle-based Students

This year, transportation from the Seattle-area will only be provided during the July 6 - 17 session. Students from the Seattle-area are still invited to apply for the second session, July 29-August 9, but will need to find their own way to the shuttle stops in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Returning Alumni

We encourage alumni of prior 8-day courses to apply for the 12-day course in 2019! If you've already completed our 12-day course, you are welcome to apply, but we will prioritize accepting students who have not yet participated in this opportunity. Rest assured, we have friends at other organizations with cool opportunities for this summer—reach out if you'd like us to connect you AND check out our Alumni Resources page.

  • 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

    This year, transportation from the Seattle-area will only be provided during the July 6 - 17 session.

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    Youth Leadership Summit, year-round mentorship and stewardship opportunities!