Student Success Stories

Thinking of applying to Youth Leaderships Adventures? Wondering how it might impact your life? Check out what others are saying about their experience in the North Cascades.

Lauren, Outdoor Leadership Student 2015 from Washington

My trip in the North Cascades was the best summer break ever because it was a chance to try something new. It was a chance to get away from everyday troubles and take in my surroundings. It was a little overwhelming and scary to leave everything behind, but on this adventure, I realized I wasn't going to be doing this alone. Throughout the entire trip I was in a team. I was a team player and all the members of that team were there for each other. On this trip, I saw a lot of cool things that you won't find in city. I'm glad I took the chance to try something new.

 My trip in the North Cascades inspired me in more ways than one. It inspired me to be more than a team player. It taught me how to be a leader in the most important ways. It inspired me to help everyone feel like they aren't alone. It inspired me to take chances because I may never get another one.

I am a leader because I can be a team member and follower. I learned that being a good leader also means knowing how to follow another and to take others’ opinions into account. I learned that I can live without technology because of this experience. Technology can't teach and show you what the North Cascades can.

 Youth Leadership Adventures is a great way to get away from your troubles. You meet new people who may be experiencing the same challenges you are back home and this adventure helps you "find" yourself in a way you didn't know. The people you meet may not end up being your best friends, but  you'll never forget the positive impact they have on you. It was an amazing experience that everyone should get the chance to have.


Juan-Student-SuccessJuan, Science & Sustainability Student 2014 from Oregon

"My trip to the North Cascades was the best summer break ever because I met new people that soon became my friends, I made connections with my trip leaders and with the outdoors, and I was able to apply what I learned to help me get into a university and expand my career options.

On my trip in the North Cascades, I learned that I am stronger mentally and physically than I previously thought. Mentally because I told myself to keep walking and paddling when we were traveling long distances in the backcountry. And physically because I could carry the weight that I put on my back. In addition, my trip to the North Cascades inspired me to keep my eyes and ears open at all times in case anything like that experience was ever offered to me again.

 Youth Leadership Adventures is an experience that lasts a lifetime and it opens new doors to new career opportunities. I made new friends, learned new outdoor skills, and was able to appreciate the land that has been preserved for wildlife and for us to explore."


Jesus, Outdoor Leadership Student 2013 from Washington

"My trip with Youth Leadership Adventures was the best summer break because I went backpacking and canoeing in the backcountry, hiked to Mazama camp, and more. I did all of this with really great people from diverse backgrounds. I loved that the first time I met my fellow campers was during dinner. We were scarfing down food and laughing getting to know one another. The next day, we were out hiking to our campsite and telling stories about our families and our schools and telling jokes. We had a really great time and made really strong bonds in a short amount of time.

My trip in the North Cascades inspired me to be more confident with my public speaking. On the trip, one of my jobs was to lead a work party planting trees and removing invasive plants. I spoke in front of about 30 people. After I accomplished that, my friends told me I did a really good job. I felt proud and confident and after the trip I took on a lot of leadership roles and got a lot more involved in my community. Now I’m a spokesman for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, I lead a summit of 150 high school students about teen dating violence, and I’m the Associated Student Body president of my school. This trip helped shape who I am today.

Through this program, I learned that if I set my mind on something and strive for it, I can do almost anything. I learned that I am actually a great public speaker, I learned how to make friends, and how to make change in my community

Youth Leadership Adventures is a great way to relieve stress, find other interesting fields of study, get the opportunity to try things you have never done, make new friends, and meet trip leaders with variety of leadership experiences can share their advice and experiences with you."

Lucia, (green shirt) Outdoor Leadership Student 2015 from Washington

"Youth Leadership Adventures brought me outside of the world in which we’re all so used to living. It brought me away from everything that disconnected me from the version of myself that wasn’t visible from the outside. I loved every second of it, because for me the whole point of it was to find a piece of myself out there so that I had a reason to preserve it.

During my trip, I learned that despite the number of times you say you “can’t,” you can. I was out there with people who had never camped before, but by the end of the trip they were the ones rocking the role of being “Leader of the Day.” I now have a better understanding of how much you have to believe that you can do something in order to do it right. That is something that I have carried with me ever since.

Youth Leadership Adventures is, simply put, something different. Every day we are stuck doing the same thing, whether we like it or not, and sometimes we get so used to the culture of non-stop, on-going schedules that we forget we have options. Participating in Youth Leadership Adventures can cure that problem within 8 days. Leaving your behind your phone, music, and mirror for a few days can give you one of the clearest pictures of yourself that you’ll ever need."


JJ, Outdoor Leadership Student 2014 and Science & Sustainability Student 2015 from Washington

"Youth Leadership Adventures was the best summer break because of the inspirational people involved and the exhilarating experiences offered.

My trip in the North Cascades inspired me to take leadership roles involving environmental education and in my community and school.

During my trip in the North Cascades, I learned that I am a positive, dedicated and ambitious leader because of my outgoing personality and natural drive to do my best.  Without this program, I wouldn’t be as confident as I am today about my ability to lead and my desired future.  This program helped me figure out who I am in this world and what I can do to help make it a better place.

Youth Leadership Adventures allows you to discover who you truly are. By being a leader within the breathtaking environment, you get to learn about the environment’s importance, and your own. Applying to this program will change your life and will give you the opportunity to find your true meaning and what you want to do with it.  On top of that, you get to have an amazing time with individuals just like you."

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