Wild Trails Grant Recipient: YMCA Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development


YMCA of Chattanooga: BOLD/GOLD

One of the many ways Wild Trails gives back to our community is through awarding Community Grants to projects and programs in the Chattanooga area that promote the use, protection, and/or expansion of trails and meet our community grant requirements. To learn more about Wild Trails\’ Community Grants or to apply, visit our Grant Application page.

Recently, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga\’s Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development program received a $2000 Wild Trails Community Grant. We are proud to support this program. Learn more about the YMCA\’s Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development program below.


YMCA Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development

YMCA\’s Boys & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development (BOLD/GOLD) is a wilderness experiential education program for teens that develops multi-cultural leadership values and skills through challenging outdoor activities. The primary goal is to remove the barriers for all youth regardless of experience, ethnicity or socio-economic status and to enjoy access to the outdoors through wilderness adventure. The focus is to provide wilderness access and adventure recreation to demographics normally under represented in the outdoor industry or those who do not have the resources to gain access for themselves.


Our goal is to increase confidence, resiliency, emotional intelligence, community awareness and environmental stewardship in participants. We believe these traits are the foundations of leadership and work to inspire participants to develop their own leadership style through developing these competencies. Along with personal and leadership development through the core competencies BOLD/GOLD teaches and operates within the 7 Leave No Trace principles. While teaching and instilling respect for the natural environment we also talk about how the principles can be applied to everyday life no matter what environment we are in.

Making The Outdoors Available For All

In an effort to make outdoor recreation available to all, BOLD/GOLD is outfitted to provide all the gear necessary for students to attend. No experience or equipment is required for participation on BOLD/GOLD Courses. Those courses consist of week-long gender specific backpacking, canoeing, climbing and mountain biking experiences during which instructors implement a leadership development curriculum. The curriculum focuses on five core concepts: courage, confidence, emotional intelligence, community awareness and environmental stewardship.

In 2015 our course schedule will feature 14 courses. The program is tuition based, though tuition is kept as low as possible for paying students. Course tuition is set to cover the expenses of that individual courses staffing, transportation and food. Course cost does not cover program operating cost, supplies, gear or equipment, staff wages or salaries. Full and partial scholarships are available through our Diversity In The Outdoors Scholarship Fund for those in need. A lofty goal has been set to award 42 students with full scholarships and another 42 students with partial scholarships for those courses! In order to make those scholarships available and keep tuition fees affordable BOLD/GOLD is campaigning to raise $12,600 for the Diversity In The Outdoors Scholarship Fund.