Adventure That Lasts a Lifetime: Emily's GOLD Story

Last updated: March 22, 2023, at 5:03 a.m. PT

Originally published: April 5, 2018, at 9:26 a.m. PT

Since Emily's first Girls Outdoor Leadership trip five years ago she has been an unstoppable force of adventure leadership. She's been on two extensive two-week backpacking trips and spent the other three years as a Leader in Training (LIT) to help inspire younger girls to love adventure and the outdoors as much as she does.

Emily's first GOLD expedition wasn't what she expected, it was better. She thought GOLD would be like Camp Orkila, a Y resident summer camp she had attended in the past. But what she found was a full-intensity outdoor adventure. "Being in the woods was the first time I've ever experienced nothing." Emily said, "There's a life beyond phones, a life outside the city." It was the peace and challenge that drew Emily back to GOLD summer after summer. "Everything you do in the woods has a purpose, you have to get water to live, you have to set camp for shelter, you have to cook food." It's in the meditative minutiae of simple tasks where Emily feels she can live without restriction.

Emily's life will always involve the outdoors. After her four summers at GOLD, she's headed back for a fifth, this time she's coming back as a Leader in Training once again. She spent her winter in Wyoming with NOLS (another outdoor leadership program). She's currently in Colorado working with a non-profit organization building hiking trails. Her passion for the outdoors and growing as people through adventure started with GOLD and will serve her for the rest of her life. Emily has plans to study adventure education and help all people have the life-changing experience she did in the forests and peaks of Washington.

When asked what she'd tell a new GOLD participant, Emily said, "It's okay to go in nervous. Everyone in the GOLD groups are super cool and supportive. All Leaders are super experienced." She went on to say, "You are not alone, there is always someone for you to talk to through the challenges you face on the trip and in your life."


Girls Outdoor Leadership Development expeditions are currently filling for summer 2019. To learn more, view upcoming sessions and register, visit our GOLD page

Category: Camp