Youth Programs and Scholarships

Through the generous support of donors like you, we are able to provide transformative educational experiences in nature. Thank you for inspiring and empowering environmental stewardship today!

Want to apply for Scholarships? Find out more under the program area you're interested in: Adult and Family Programs; Youth Leadership Adventures


School Programs

© Buff Black
Mountain School is our 30 year-old residential education program at the Environmental Learning Center in the heart of North Cascades National Park. Over 3 days, students spend 60 hours learning about ecological communities with their classmates, teachers, and parent chaperones. Hands-on, interdisciplinary experiences connect students to the natural and cultural history of our watershed. For most, this is the first time they visit a national park, spend a night away from home, and discover the connections between their lives, communities, and the environment. To reduce barriers, we prioritize participation of full school districts and subsidize fees on a sliding-scale, based on Free & Reduced Lunch percentages. We provide participants with clothing and nutritious, locally sourced meals.We also provide clothing and nutritious locally-sourced meals. Over 2,500 students participate each year with 96% of schools receiving financial aid.

Deep in the forested embrace of the upper Skagit River Valley, you can find the next two generations of Americans getting to know a national park. I heard hooting like owls and howling like wolves, coming from a circle of fifth graders and their wilderness instructors.”

— Timothy Egan, National Geographic

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Connections is an in-person outdoor program that started during the school closures last fall to address academic inequities magnified by the pandemic, and continues to address community needs as in-person learning slowly returns. Connections provides the space for elementary school students to gather with their peers and learn about the natural world from some of the region’s leading environmental educators. It gives young people a respite from feelings of isolation and lack of companionship, and serves as an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders to work together to come up with creative solutions to the increased needs of the community during these challenging times. Learn more about this new innovative and collaborative program here.

I took a zoom poll yesterday asking my class how everyone was coping and half of the class said they'd been better, but the results today were much more positive and I know part of it is because they're back together again to learn. I could see it through the camera, too, that they looked much more engaged. Thank you for pulling this off.

— Mt. Baker 6th grade teacher

Give to support School Programs. 

Youth Leadership 

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Youth Leadership Adventures offers local teens 12-day backcountry trips in the North Cascades National Park, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Through immersion in an alpine environment shaped by glaciers, these trips inspire our participants to manifest a hopeful, joyful, and sustainable future for the North Cascades ecosystem and the people who are part of it. Through support from individual donors, the National Park Service, and grants, YLA was able to offer over $50,000 in scholarships in 2019. YLA encourages young people to be stewards of protected lands and gives them the skills and confidence to continue to recreate outdoors for years to come. 

Before this trip I was a shy girl from a small town. Now I know that I shouldn't be afraid to use my voice. I should act on issues that matter to me, like climate change."

— Youth Leadership Adventures Student

These students come from diverse backgrounds. Some are first generation immigrants; some have grown up in rural gateway communities; many could not participate in this program without a scholarship. A gift of $1,500 can provide a named scholarship for a Youth Leadership Adventures Student, while a gift of $2,500 supports a summer intern.

Give a Youth Leadership Adventures Scholarship. 

Endowed Scholarship Funds

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Ensure that your scholarship gift lives in perpetuity. An endowment fund creates a legacy that speaks to an individual’s life, values, and commitments while making a difference in the lives of these students. A minimum gift of $25,000 (which may be pledged over 2-3 years) will establish an endowed scholarship. An endowed fund can be created through a bequest, charitable remainder trust, existing life insurance policy, or by endowing a fund today. We will work closely with you to formalize an endowment agreement that reflects your giving intentions, and honors your intent in perpetuity. Each year scholarships will be awarded from the earnings on the fund based on board approved spending policies (typically a 4% distribution is calculated).