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Something magical happens when a diverse group of young people go into beautiful, remote areas in nature together. 

Courage, confidence and community awareness all come out—and wonderment rules supreme. Boys and Girls Outdoor Leadership Development—or BOLD & GOLD—fosters a sense of awe in the wilderness. 

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We take small groups of middle and high school students into the great outdoors without technology to discover what it means to truly connect on a one-week trip. And through these connections, our participants learn how to be great leaders.

BOLD & GOLD expeditions will take you to some of the most beautiful and natural places in the Southern Appalachians.

Not only are these trips full of natural beauty, but they’ll also inspire youth to be their most courageous and confident selves as they learn new skills, make lifelong friends and challenge themselves to run towards adventure.

2023 Bold & Gold Trip & Dates

Paddling Expeditions (ages 12-16):
Boys: June 4-9 

Backpacking Expeditions (ages 12-16):
Boys: June 18-23  /  Girls: June 25-30

Level I (ages 11-15):
Boys: July 9-14  /  Girls: July 16-21 / All Gender: June 11-16

No Experience Required

Kids skipping rocks

Our trips are designed for beginners with no outdoor experience required, just bring your sense of wonder! But we do offer an introductory program called Level 1, that showcases a little of both expeditions. We have a trip for everyone! 

Gear Up to go

Pile of camping gear

We provide all major gear and will send a packing list prior to the trip. Missing something on the list? Let us know, we can probably loan it to you at no additional cost.  

Highly Skilled Staff

Camp counselor talking to campers

Our instructors are skilled at building strong groups, have extensive experience working with youth as well as adults, and are passionate about inspiring people of all ages to discover the best in themselves. 
 

Frequently Asked Questions
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Boys and Girls Outdoor Leadership Development is for all young people between the ages of 11 and 16 who are interested in an adventure that will expand their horizons, build their confidence, and challenge them in mind, body and spirit. If you are looking for a summer adventure like no other, BOLD & GOLD is for you. 

The cost to attend a 5-day BOLD & GOLD trip is $960. This includes food, all group gear for the excursion, transportation from base camp to the excursion destination and back, and most of the activities at base camp will be open to our group when returning from their trip. Financial assistance is available and no child will be turned away due to an inability to pay. 

Participants new to this type of adventure can be successful if they are 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. Our Level 1 trip is great for individuals looking for a slow introduction into the outdoors and wanting to experience everything a BOLD & GOLD expedition has to offer but on a smaller scale.

All trips begin and end at our base camp, YMCA Camp High Harbour at Lake Allatoona, located at: 40 Old Sandtown Road, Cartersville, GA 30121

The specific check-in time for each trip will be provided in the welcome email. The course officially begins with an opening circle, and families are asked to stay for the course start. Upon arrival, participants will meet instructors and will be outfitted with 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. Pick-up family members 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 of specific pick up and drop off times in the welcome email. 

Beginner level backpacking expeditions may travel 3 to 5 miles each 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. Instructors will help you adjust your pack to the carry the weight safely and in the most comfortable fashion. 

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 chicken, beef jerky, and summer sausage.  

Example Typical Menu:  

Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and fruit, bagels and cream cheese  
Lunch: Summer sausage, cheese, crackers, tortillas, peanut butter and jelly  
Dinner: Burritos, rice and beans, salsa, tortillas, cheese, pasta dish, macaroni and  
cheese, teriyaki chicken and rice.  
Snacks: Trail mix; granola bars; fruit; goldfish  


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

We provide lightweight tents and there are typically 2–4 participants in each shelter. You will use a sleeping pad, a 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.  

On backpacking courses, some camp sites will have pit toilets nearby. Participants will learn the art of Leave No Trace bathroom use and staying clean and hygienic in the backcountry.  

Absolutely! 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 practices. participants will be led by our outstanding wilderness instructors who hold certifications in CPR, AED, Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder.

Check out our complete list of Frequently Asked Questions for even more details! Or, you can also contact our Program Administrator, Lexi Huff at Lexic@ymcaatlanta.org or 770.532.2267.

Click here for our complete FAQs.

Contact Info: 

BOLD & GOLD Program Administrator 
Lexi Huff 
LexiC@ymcaatlanta.org 
 
For questions regarding availability or your current registration, please call 770.532.2267 or email Registration@HighHarbour.org 
 
Tell your friends about BOLD & GOLD! Click here to download a PDF & to share. 

To learn more about the Y’s BOLD & GOLD program on a national level, please visit yboldgold.org