Nurturing Leaders through Outdoor Experiences

Last year, the YMCA of Great Seattle provided more opportunities for young people and their families to spend time outside. In the Boys Outdoor Leadership Development (BOLD) and Girls Outdoor Leadership Development (GOLD) programs, teens worked together while taking on physical and technical challenges in the wilderness alongside peers from different racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

These teenagers collectively hiked a total of 19,000+ miles, consumed over 900 pounds of GORP (good old raisins and peanuts!), and summited two of the state’s tallest mountains – Mt. Baker and Mt. Olympus. Whether it was a middle schooler’s first night outdoors at Camp Colman or a high schooler on a weeklong backpacking expedition in the North Cascades, more kids and teens participated in all of the Y’s overnight and day camp programs.

As participant numbers grew, so did the Y’s waitlists. But thanks to a generous gift to the Opportunities for All capital campaign, the Y will be able to purchase a third camp property in 2018: the first new YMCA of Greater Seattle camp in nearly 100 years. Through the support of generous donors who contributed over $1 million to the Y’s annual campaign to get kids outdoors, the Y was able to offer more kids financial assistance to go to camp, meeting growing needs. The Y worked hard to ensure that experiences in the outdoors were truly available for all, regardless of age, experience, ability, or financial status.

Last year, the Y introduced several new programs designed to increase community representation in camping experiences. Programs like the first-ever African American Males Weekend (a partnership with 100 black families), as well as LGBTQ and Islamic Family Camps were successful, drawing hundreds of children and their families. Everything the Y did in camp and outdoor leadership this year was more than just getting people outside and having fun. It was a chance to practice some of the most important skills needed to be successful in life: problem solving, leadership development, working in a group, and facing fears – while making new friends along the way.

Did you know? Last year the Y:

  • Hosted 28,700 children, teens, and families who participated in camp and outdoor leadreaship programs – the most in the Y’s history.
  • Helped one in six kids who attended a camp or summer program with financial assistance from the Y.
  • Provided 12,431 children and teens with outdoor environmental education.
  • Worked with 170 participants, who attended the first-ever African-American Males weekend at Camp Orkila.

Click on the button below to read more about our work in our annual report  

Category: Camp