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.

Open House

BOLD & GOLD will host an in-person Open House on April 30, 2022, from 9:00 am-1:00 pm, and a Virtual Orientation on May 3, 2022, from 6:30-8:30 pm, for youth and families to learn more about summer programs. 

Safety Protocols & Covid-19

The outbreak of Covid-19 has profoundly impacted our communities, businesses, families, and daily lives. Our hearts go out to those affected—particularly to those personally at-risk or who have lost a loved one. The health and well-being of our participants and staff is paramount, and we take the threat of Covid-19 very seriously. We are continuing to monitor the spread and impact of this virus in the Pacific Northwest, and particularly in the areas we operate.

We know that now, more than ever, young people need opportunities to connect with each other and the natural world. We are committed to adapting our programming and approach to ensure youth have access to these transformative experiences. At BOLD & GOLD, we are asking ourselves to respond the same way we would ask our participants—with courage, hope, and above all, compassion. Below, please find an update about our summer 2022 programs.

The responses in these FAQs are based on best management practices for Covid-19 as of January 2022. We expect that practices will continue to shift and will update these FAQs as new information and guidance is received from public health and industry leaders.

Will BOLD & GOLD offer trips this summer?

Yes! In alignment with Washington State’s public health measures, we will be offering amazing summer experiences for youth and families. The health and safety of our participants, staff, and community is our top priority.

What programs will be offered this summer?

BOLD & GOLD will be operating one and two-week frontcountry and backcountry trips that include backpacking, climbing, kayaking, and mountaineering.

How will activities be impacted by Covid-19?

As a wilderness-based program that operates in small groups, BOLD & GOLD is uniquely positioned to maintain most of our program curriculum. We anticipate the implementation of program modifications, enhanced cleaning procedures during, and a focus on small group sizes. The health and safety of participants and staff is our top priority. We will continue to release more information about our operating plans as we get closer to summer.

What is your overall approach to operating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Over the last two summers, BOLD & GOLD staff adjusted plans and program models to safely get young people outdoors. Navigating travel and safety guidelines across counties and public land jurisdictions required dynamic protocols, strong partnerships with public health officials, and increased resources. BOLD & GOLD has operated over 100 trips serving over 1,000 youth over the last two years. The success of this approach was made possible because BOLD & GOLD has a strong risk management culture that embraces learning and adaptation.

BOLD & GOLD has extensive experience in analyzing public health guidance, implementing program modifications, and adapting as situations change. We know that continued vigilance and flexibility will be required. As public health guidance continues to evolve our best management practices will be built on a foundation that:

  • Adheres to the direction of the American Camp Association (ACA), CDC, as well as state and local public health departments.
  • Maximizes outdoor time.
  • Focuses on small group sizes.
  • Emphasizes hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting.
  • Leverages testing and vaccination resources as available and directed by public health.
How will participants need to prepare for their BOLD & GOLD trip?

Washington State guidance for summer 2022 has not yet been released. At the very least the requirements in place for summer 2021 will remain. Those requirements are detailed below.

All participants must do one of the following before their trip:

  1. Be fully vaccinated OR
  2. Receive a negative PCR Covid-19 test no more than three days prior to arrival and remain in quarantine between the test and start of the program OR
  3. Provide documentation from a health care provider of recovery from Covid-19 in the three months prior to the start of the program and have met the criteria to end isolation.

Official verification of the vaccination (vaccination card, medical record from physician, verification from state vaccination database), test results, or recovery is required.

Regardless of testing or vaccination status, participants and household members should self-monitor for 14 days prior to the start of the trip. If anyone in the household is showing signs of illness such as a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal drainage, and/or coughing/sneezing, please keep your participant home and contact us to reschedule or refund your fees. This greatly reduces the spread of illness while on trips and in the wilderness.

If possible, we also encourage all participants and household members to practice hygiene (handwashing, mask wearing, etc.) as well as limit interaction with people outside your household for the 10 days prior to the start of the trip.

What steps are you taking to minimize the risk of someone contracting Covid-19?

BOLD & GOLD has worked with industry leaders to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures specific to Covid-19. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Program area, equipment protocols, and sanitization practices have shifted to minimize the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
  • Physical distancing practices follow the recommendations of the state and county and are in place for all participants and staff.
  • Participants and staff will follow mask wearing recommendations of the state and county.
  • Participants will spend their experience in a cohort group that is made up of their trail group and instructors.
  • Proper handwashing, food preparation, and sanitation procedures will be taught the first day and reinforced regularly.
  • At the conclusion of each trip all personal and group gear will be cleaned and disinfected as directed by manufacturers Covid-19 procedures.
How will you respond if a participant or staff member is suspected of having Covid-19?

Any participant or staff member with an illness that affects their ability to participate safely on trip will be evacuated and families will be notified, as always. If the symptoms are consistent with Covid-19 or there are other risk factors, BOLD & GOLD will isolate the individual, and consult with local health authorities. BOLD & GOLD will seek medical care based on the individual’s signs and symptoms and local medical advice, involving parents in the conversation, as practical.

If necessary, BOLD & GOLD staff will initiate an evacuation of the trip and caregivers will be contacted to make arrangements for pick-up. All staff and participants will be encouraged to obtain a PCR test for Covid-19 and to notify BOLD & GOLD of the results

How will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19?

If a participant or staff member on a trip reports a positive Covid-19 test, we will notify all families on that trip by phone and email. If a participant or staff member who reports a positive Covid-19 test was at the BOLD & GOLD basecamp during your participant’s trip but, was not on the same trip as your participant, we will notify you by email.

Are staff prepared and trained to handle an outbreak of Covid-19?

The safety of participants is our highest concern. Travel in the outdoors always involves risk. The most important thing we do to mitigate risk in our programs is to be certain our instructors follow our safety policies and procedures.

In the event there is an emergency, we have developed an extensive Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that includes communication with land managers, such as the National Park Service, and provides support for all of our groups out in the field. All office staff and course instructors have been trained in the EAP. Course instructors are all certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid.

Additionally, all BOLD & GOLD staff will participate in a training that reviews proper handwashing techniques, food handling, first aid/CPR considerations, and specific Covid-19 protocols.

Will BOLD & GOLD staff be vaccinated?

All YMCA of Greater Seattle staff are required to be fully vaccinated upon hire.

Who is guiding your health and safety plans?

We are being guided by federal, state, and local health officials and working in regular consultation with our partners at the American Camp Association, Y-USA, and National Parks to ensure that we have effective protocols in place to successfully run our programs.

Do you have additional resources and information for Covid-19?

During this pandemic, we want to remind everyone that a person’s ethnicity, language, or association with a country or region does not mean they carry the virus. Anyone can transmit or become infected. Let’s continue to support one another and avoid the spread of stigma, discrimination, and fear. Learn more here.

General recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health: ·

  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • If you are sick and wondering what to do, call your healthcare provider before you go to a clinic or emergency room.
  • Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted and anyone who might be sick. ·
  • Learn and be prepared: Visit the Washington State Department of Health resource page.

Additional resources:


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.

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 ten participants on each trip with two 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 tents 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: “GORP” (good old raisins & peanuts); granola bars; fruit

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