Outdoor adventures can have a profound influence on teenagers, helping them develop a connection to place along with the opportunity to practice outdoor and leadership skills.
We saw the benefits so clearly two years ago, when a group of young men and women from the YMCA’s BOLD/GOLD programs biked and hiked their way from Ellensburg to Seattle as part of the 25th Anniversary Greenway Trek. Undeterred by blisters or flat tires, they traveled 133 miles of dense forest trails and urban pathways, past old pioneer towns and working farmlands and city parks.
One of the BOLD Trekkers wrote, “It was a life changing experience to say the least and was hands down my favorite outdoor experience I’ve ever had.”
Inspired by the BOLD/GOLD Trekkers’ experience, the Sammamish Community YMCA is working alongside the Greenway Trust and other community partners to offer a new camp this summer. Expedition Mountain to Sound combines adventure, service and fun! High school students will spend a week rock climbing, two weeks mountain biking, or two weeks sea kayaking across the Greenway while they learn lifelong outdoor skills and foster their leadership.
Scholarships are available. No gear or YMCA membership required! (The YMCA provides the climbing gear, bikes and kayaks). Each day will begin and end at the Sammamish YMCA.
The Greenway is an amazing place to live and work and play. Preserving this landscape in balance with growing urban areas is a mission that requires multi-generational commitment. Therefore, instilling a conservation ethic in young people is likely the most important thing we do to ensure that our good work is continued and expanded in years to come.