YMCA Bold and Gold

Written By: Maya Joglekar

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel like a group of nomads, learning how to not just survive, but thrive in the wild? We sat down with Lee and Aaron from the YMCA Utah BOLD & GOLD Program to learn more about this experience!

The BOLD & GOLD Program is designed to focus on leadership development and camping skills through a 5 day, 4 night camping trip. Lee and Aaron gave us a look into a day in the life of the BOLD & GOLD trip! The instructors assume that this is the first time the kids have experienced camping, so they prepare for a day before leaving for the trip. On the trip, the group will do intense hikes, kayaking, fishing, and other camping activities! Lee and Aaron emphasized that the trip creates a safe space for the kids to connect to the environment and each other. The instructor’s main focus is the idea of growth for these kids, so the instructor provides them with the right tools and support they need to develop into strong leaders who will persevere through this program.

Lee and Aaron mentioned that the group participates in intentional activities that build trust within their camp community. One of these activities is the Courage Circle, where they take time to reflect at the end of each day as a group. It is meant to be an open and honest space for the youth to talk about how they are feeling throughout the trip. They also talk about some hard topics of the current state of the world with the campers, to emphasize that it’s okay to be vulnerable in front of others. The instructor will also name a leader of the day everyday, to help the campers achieve confidence in their decision making skills.

The BOLD & GOLD Program sounds like an amazing, transformative experience. We really enjoyed listening to Lee and Aaron describe their intentions behind helping youth become strong leaders through this program!

Want to support the Wasatch BOLD & GOLD Program? Go to their site at to send in kind donations of supplies and other camping materials for the campers!

Check out more of our My Camp podcasts and other camp materials on our Happy Camper Live website. You can also find us on YouTube at Happy Camper Live and on Instagram @happy_camper_live.

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