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You are here: Home Wilderness Programs Ages 14 - 18 Solo Crossing

Solo Crossing

A small group backpacking adventure, designed to help teens navigate their way on their life journey.

When Jul 20, 2019 10:00 AM to
Aug 09, 2019 05:00 PM
Where Olympic National Park, WA
Cost: $2975; deposit $500. Financial aid available
Ages: 15-18 (all genders)
Taught by: TBA
Contact Name Cameron Withey
Contact Email
Contact Phone (425) 485.7396
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A three-week backpacking adventure designed to help teens navigate the road toward young adulthood with confidence and clarity


"Journeys trips are truly life-changing. They teach leadership, responsibility, trust, teamwork and self-growth through in-depth councils and wilderness skills. The guides on the trip were powerful role models and respected and treated us like adults. I'm incredibly gratetul to have been able to spend such a full 3 weeks in the beautiful outdoors with such inspiring people." 

– 2017 Solo Crossing Participant

Solo Crossing is a chance for teens to imagine how they want to be as adults, and then explore and practice what this means to them and their families, friends and communities. On the backcountry trails of Western Washington, participants are challenged in mind, body and heart, within a supportive community of peers and mentors.

During three exciting weeks, teens develop a range of personal and interpersonal skills. A long backpacking trek lets them practice teamwork and wilderness skills. Solo time, journaling and nightly talking circles help them connect to and articulate their deeper thoughts and dreams.  Individual mentoring helps youth name the transition that they are engaging in on this journey.

Mid-program, the youth embark on a solo vigil when they leave the group setting to be fully in their own company. Guided by nature and personal quiet, they contemplate letting go of their life as a child and looking forward to living courageously as an adult. After the vigil, their new insights are tested and integrated during a second backcountry trek. Throughout the program, each participant has an adult mentor – a journey guide – who helps them articulate their gifts and their dreams.

During the final stage of the journey, participants sit in a council circle telling epic stories of their Solo Crossing and sharing visions of their future. Mentors, peers, and elders offer support as they talk about how to make their rite of passage relevant to their new lives.

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Example Itinerary

Week 1: Participants, Parents or Guardians, and other members of the participant's community say good-bye during a send out ceremony at our basecamp in Bothell. Participants then head off to the woods for a 5- to 6-day backpacking trip in the Olympics during which participants will learn wilderness, leadership, communal living and reflection skills. This stage is a preparation for week two.

Week 2: Participants begin to take on more responsibilities, taking ownership of many of the daily leadership tasks as they hike in to the Olympic Coast. Once on the beach, and a temporary base camp is set, participants will journal, make expressive art, and prepare for and complete a 48-hour solo vigil. 

Week 3: Participants return to basecamp in Bothell for a Council of Elders and other closing activities, in celebration of their journey and learnings. They reflect on the skills that they are bringing back to offer their communities as young adults. On the final day parents will return to Journeys for an incorporation ceremony before the program close.   

Financial aid may be available. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information.


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