Find Your Answers

We know you have lots of questions about BOLD & GOLD and we’ve done our best to answer them. Read about our planned safety protocols, gear library, and other frequently asked questions below.

The questions and answers listed below are specific to summer programming but you may find them useful to learn more about BOLD & GOLD.

What programs will be offered this summer?

BOLD & GOLD will be operating one and two-week trips that include a mix of climbing, camping, and backpacking experiences. 

How is BOLD & GOLD different from summer resident camp experiences?

Utilizing small groups of no more than 10 participants, BOLD & GOLD creates spaces where teens are challenged to work as a team to accomplish their goals and develop as leaders within their communities. BOLD & GOLD trips travel in National Parks and other public lands throughout Washington. Trips are remote with limited to no access to running water, electricity, or internet allowing participants to experience a deep connection to nature. BOLD & GOLD participants are given responsibility for day-to-day tasks and collaborate to successfully navigate the challenges of wilderness travel and weather all while making friends, exploring beautiful places, and having fun. 

Do you offer financial aid?

The Y values the richness that diversity brings to our community and a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, improving health and well-being, and giving back. To ensure equitable access for all the Y offers affordable options at all of our 14 branches and for our programs..

Interested in Applying for Financial Assistance? Click here to be directed to your UltraCamp account page to complete the application.

Where and when do the expeditions begin and end?

All trips begin and end in Seattle at our base camp located at:

Cascade People’s Center
309 Pontius Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
P: 206.659.0231

Check-in times are staggered the first morning of the trip. The specific check-in time for each trip will be provided in the welcome email. Course officially begins with an opening circle. Families are asked to stay for the course start. Upon arrival, participants will meet instructors and have the opportunity to get any gear needed for their trip.  

All participants will be expected to help with the de-issuing process of the group and personal gear after the trip returns. Family and friends should plan to attend a brief closing celebration which begins at 4:30 pm. Participants will be ready to depart by 5:00 pm on the final day of the trip. Pick-up folks are encouraged to arrive on time and will have the opportunity to check in with instructors about the course.  

We will let our participants and families know if pick up and drop off times are different from above.

Who are the instructors?

Our instructors are experienced outdoor educators with an extensive background of working with youth in the outdoors. All instructors are also trained in Wilderness Medicine. Each instructor team consists of at least one Wilderness First Responder with other instructors holding certifications in Wilderness First Aid.

How many participants are on each expedition?

There are up to 10 participants on each trip with 2 instructors.

Where will I sleep?

We provide lightweight pyramid-shaped shelters called mega-mids. There are typically 3–4 participants in each shelter. You will use a ground tarp, sleeping pad, warm sleeping bag, and you’ll learn how to make a pillow out of your clothes! And don’t worry, the instructors will be sleeping in their mega-mids close by.

What will I eat?

We love good food! Eating well is really important to all of us and you can expect lots of lessons on cooking and opportunities to show your skill in the kitchen. The menu is largely vegetarian with lots of grains, pasta, cheese, beans, veggies, fruit, and nuts. Meat is heavy and spoils easily, but we do occasionally eat tuna and summer sausage.

Example Typical Menu:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and fruit or bagels and cream cheese
  • Lunch: Summer Sausage, cheese, crackers, tortillas, peanut butter and jelly
  • Dinner: Burritos, Rice and beans, salsa, tortillas, cheese; pasta dish; or macaroni and cheese
  • Snacks: Trail mix (mixed nuts and M&Ms), dried fruit, and salty snacks like pretzels

You will be given a supply of sweet and salty trail mix, “GORP” to eat whenever you get hungry. It usually contains M&Ms, a variety of nuts, rice crackers, and raisins. In addition to your personal GORP, there are two group snacks a day such as peanut butter pretzels or rice crackers and dried fruit.

What about drinking water? How do you purify it?

On our backcountry courses, we will purify our drinking water using a chemical method or filtration system and we boil water used for cooking. Your instructors will teach you how to properly treat your water before drinking.

Can you accommodate my food allergy or special diet?

Yes! We can easily accommodate vegetarians and vegans as well as participants with certain food allergies. If you have any special dietary restrictions (nut allergies, lactose intolerance, wheat allergy, etc.) please list it on your health form so we can accommodate your specific needs.

What happens with my medications while on expedition?

All prescription medications must be noted on your medical form prior to the expedition. Medication use is overseen by instructors. Please bring your prescription medications and non-prescription medications in the original containers. We require that medication obtained through a prescription must be maintained in the original container provided by the pharmacy with the prescribing label. 

Participants with prescription inhalers and epinephrine injections must bring two sets of medication. In most cases the instructor will carry one, and the participant will carry one in case of emergency. Participants who would suffer severe consequences if they were to miss a dose of medication due to damage or loss should bring back-up doses of that medication.

Should I bring contacts or glasses with me?

Either glasses or contact lenses are acceptable on expedition. However, sterile lens care is difficult on the trail and their use is not encouraged. Whether you wear contacts or glasses, you should think about bringing an extra pair.

What gear do I need?

To find out what you need to bring on your trip, check the BOLD & GOLD Handbook. We offer several different types of expeditions including rock climbing, beach camping, and alpine mountaineering, and it is important to use the correct packing list. We can supply you with all necessary equipment from our extensive gear library.

If you already own some equipment and would prefer to use it for your expedition, make sure that it is already on the packing list. Your instructor will inspect any personal equipment at the beginning of your expedition, and if it does not meet the standards of the course, you can store it in a locker at the Seattle base camp during your expedition. Space will be available for storing luggage and excess clothing. Please leave all valuables such as jewelry, iPods, cell phones, video games and other electronic devices; weapons, including camping knives and hatchets; fireworks; tobacco products; illegal drugs; and alcohol at home.

If you have a specific question about what gear is appropriate for your course, contact our admissions team at or by calling (206) 659-0231.

I plan to borrow gear, when will I receive it?

Gear is issued to participants during the gear check on the first day of their adventure. The gear check takes place after the conclusion of the opening circle and families have said their good-byes.

Will I be able to take a shower?

On rock climbing trips, you may be able to take a shower and on backpacking trips you can choose to take “camp showers” which involve bathing in a stream or lake. Your instructors will demonstrate bathing options when appropriate and explain more about hygiene upon your arrival.

What about privacy?

Privacy takes on a new meaning when you are sharing a tent with three other people. Although you will be in close quarters for most of the time, efforts will be made to provide privacy for changing clothes, etc.

How do I go to the bathroom?

On climbing courses, nearly every campground will have a toilet with toilet paper for all your bathroom needs. On backpacking courses, camp sites will have pit toilets nearby. Participants will learn the art of Leave No Trace pooping and staying clean and hygienic in the backcountry.

Will I be able to keep in touch with family and friends?

Your instructors will have satellite phones for emergencies and will have scheduled check-ins with their course directors in Seattle. We know it will be challenging to be away from home for a week, or three, but the satellite phone is for instructor use only.

How do we get around?

All our adventures travel by bus to their destinations. On backpacking expeditions, you will be dropped off at a trail head; for some base camp adventures you will have a minibus with you to travel to hiking and/or climbing destinations.

How challenging are the trips?

One-week expeditions are introductory and are appropriate for participants who have never been on this type of adventure before. Two-week and three-week expeditions are more challenging. Participants new to this type of adventure can be successful if they are very motivated, open to learning new skills, willing to work closely as a team, and are able to demonstrate leadership skills. Trips may be very challenging at times regardless of a participant’s experience in the outdoors, but the instructors will ensure that everything is within the abilities of the group. You do not need to have any outdoor experience to complete a BOLD or GOLD expedition and you do not need to be an athlete. Being in shape and physically active before you arrive is helpful but is not required on introductory experiences. Come prepared to meet new people, try new things, have fun and challenge yourself. You may make mistakes, but you will learn from them and go on to meet challenges, both individually and as a group.

How far do I backpack & how heavy will my pack be?

It depends on your course. Beginner level backpacking expeditions may travel 3 to 5 miles each day. More advanced courses may travel up to 10 miles per day. Your size and ability to carry the weight of the backpack is taken into consideration. Backpacks may weigh up to 45% of your body weight.

Do I have to carry all of my stuff with me?

On backpacking expeditions, you will carry all of your personal belongings as well as some of the group gear and food. For rock climbing expeditions, you will only carry a daypack for your climbing gear, warm layers, water and food for the day. Your personal belongings will be kept in your duffle or backpack back at camp.

Should I bring spending money?

Money is not needed and strongly discouraged.

Who do I contact with more questions?

Contact our Camping & Outdoor Leadership admissions team at or call (206) 382-5009