Youth Leadership Adventures

Leer en Español >>

Youth Leadership Adventures backcountry trips are for motivated high school students seeking a fun and challenging summer adventure in the North Cascades! This year, all trips are canoeing on Ross Lake!

2023 Program Dates

  • Session 1: July 5 - July 13 (Latinx affinity group with a Burlington-Edison GEAR UP staff member attending)
  • Session 2: July 25 - Aug 2
  • Session 3: Aug 15 - Aug 23

Our application closed on May 4th, 2023. If you applied, we will inform you by May 12th whether we have placed you on a trip or on our waitlist.  If you haven't applied yet, you can still add yourself to the waitlist! 

ADD Yourself to the waitlist

Program Details



Our 9-day long backpacking and/or canoe-camping field courses connect 9th-12th grade students to the natural world while engaging in conversation about climate change and climate solutions.  In partnership with North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, participants canoe, backpack, camp and complete stewardship projects in the North Cascades while discovering their leadership strengths, building an inclusive community with peers, & identifying pathways to a hopeful and sustainable vision of the future. 

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

Why participate?

  • Canoe and backpack in the North Cascades
  • Meet new people and have fun
  • Learn about the plants, animals and people in the North Cascades ecosystem
  • Build community and leadership skills
  • Normalize conversations about climate change and environmental justice, and build visions of a hopeful, just and sustainable future
  • Earn 15-20 community service hours, and enhance your resume and college application

Following the course, alumni have the opportunity to sign up for the Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!) program with RE Sources, attend the Environmental Leaders Summit in Seattle, receive year-round mentorship, and engage in local stewardship opportunities

** We are not requiring vaccinations to participate.  All students will take a rapid test on Day 1 of their trip and are outside for the majority of their time with YLA.  See our Covid-19 Info page for details. 

ADD Yourself to the waitlist