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Home Our Work Connecting the Next Generation Outdoor Leadership Training Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Outdoor Leadership Training program offers gear lending, money for transportation and other trip costs, and training workshops for adult trip leaders. Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.


>> Return to the Outdoor Leadership Training main page

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Program Overview

Why is Washington Trails Association committed to working with youth workers and teachers?

Washington Trails Association understands the importance of getting young people connected to the outdoors and the positive impact it can have on their development. With the generous support of members and donors, WTA is proud to facilitate the Outdoor Leadership Training program. This program empowers youth workers and teachers to get the youth they serve outdoors. By providing training, appropriate gear, funding assistance and a supportive community, WTA is excited to partner with organizations and schools in the community to get more youth outdoors. The young people who connect to the natural world and public lands today become the explorers, stewards and champions of tomorrow.

Who is the program designed for?

The Outdoor Leadership Training Program is designed for adults age 18 and up. The workshops and program offerings are intended to support teachers and adult youth group leaders who want to, or already do, lead snowshoeing, hiking, camping and backpacking trips for youth age 10-18.

WTA focuses recruitment, resources and outreach on communities that have historically faced barriers to outdoor exploration. The priority audience is organizations serving youth who attend schools where 40 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and/or schools that have a student body with at least 40 percent students of color.

If I want to volunteer to help, how can I get involved?

If you are interested in volunteering your time to support the Outdoor Leadership Training program, please contact Jean Bartholomew at 206-785-6442 or jbartholomew@wta.org.

>> Return to the Outdoor Leadership Training main page

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Hiking Workshops

Are workshops being held during the covid-19 pandemic?

For 2022 workshops, we are hosting in-person workshops while continuing to maintain best practices to reduce virus transmission. All participants must submit proof of vaccine in order to attend OLT workshops. During workshops, masks are required during workshops when we can not maintain a safe distance.

If you are registered for a workshop, we ask that you stay home if the following situations occur and we will register for another workshop:

  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
  • If you have been in close contact with anyone who is confirmed or suspected by a health care provider to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days or anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • If you have been have experienced any of the following symptoms that you cannot attribute to another health condition: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Otherwise, reading the FAQs below will still give you a good idea of what to expect at a workshop this year. And thank you for helping us keep our workshops safe for everyone

How often are Hiking Workshops held?

Hiking Workshops are held on select Saturdays in the spring, summer, and fall.

>> Check out the upcoming workshops page

Is there a fee for training workshops?

Yes, there is a $40 fee for Hiking Workshops. These fees help Washington Trails Association cover some of the cost of workshop supplies and resources. If the workshop fee is a barrier to your participation, scholarships are available. Look for the application link on the upcoming workshops page.

Is there a group discount?

For group workshop registrations, there's a $5 per person discount for schools or organizations that register more than one individual. Hiking Workshop registrations are $35 per person for a group of 2 to 5. Groups can sign up and pay for multiple participants at the same time.

For groups of 5-15, consider a Custom Workshop tailored to your program.

How do I apply for a Workshop Scholarship?

Scholarships are available and if approved, a $10 per course day placement fee is still required to confirm participation. They are awarded based on need and the applicant's ability to use workshop skills to facilitate an outdoor experience for youth. Application instructions and a link to the Scholarship Application Form will appear on the sign up confirmation page and in the confirmation email.

How are Workshop Scholarships awarded?

Scholarships are available for each workshop. Washington Trails Association will review applications and award recipients based on their described interest and financial need. Special consideration will be given to those applicants who are currently working with youth in a school or community based organization, particularly those with plans to lead an outdoor trip.

Can I apply for more than one Workshop Scholarship?

Workshop Fee Scholarships are limited to one scholarship per individual, per year. However, individuals with a financial barrier to participating in multiple workshops are encouraged to apply for additional scholarships and will be placed on a wait list. If scholarship spots remain available one month ahead of the workshop, applicants will be notified regarding their approval at that time.

Do I need to have outdoor experience to attend a training workshop?

No! You do not need to have any outdoor experience to be involved in this program. Workshops are designed to provide an entry into outdoor activities and also provide valuable information for experienced outdoor trip leaders.

Where are the Hiking Workshops held?

The Hiking Workshops take place outdoors and on trail at Tiger Mountain or Point Defiance Park. We meet at 9:00 am at the High Point Way Trailhead, near Issaquah (20 minutes east of Seattle on I-90) or Owen’s Beach at Point Defiance in Tacoma. Please note that during construction, we will be meeting at the roadside pullout on five mile road near the Rhododendron Garden. 

There are vault toilets near the parking lot where we start and finish the workshop, but we spend most of the day out on the trails. However, since we cover a lot of topics through activities and discussions, we don't actually hike too far. Generally, we hike approximately 2 to 2.5 miles on easy trails. There are some uneven surfaces, so sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended. The gear library has equipment to borrow for workshop participants.

What about the weather?

We hold workshops rain or shine. If you plan a youth outdoor trip far in advance, you'll run into the same worries, so we'll practice being well prepared with appropriate clothes. Also, WTA staff will send reminders of exactly what to bring so that you're comfortable during the workshop: we will be hiking and moving, but we also stop frequently for discussions, so we recommend bringing warm layers and winter gloves and a hat. However, if dangerous conditions exist, we will either cancel or shorten the workshop.

What takes place during a Hiking Workshop?

We start the Hiking Workshop with introductory activities and discuss trip planning and preparation. Then the participants are split into two groups. The first group gets a chance to plan and lead a hike for the morning and the second group takes over in the afternoon. Along the way, WTA workshop facilitators lead activities and discussions about leadership, trail etiquette, food, managing risk and emergencies. The facilitators and participants also share their favorite games and activities to lead with young people outdoors. With this experiential, discussion-based format, everyone gets a chance to share, lead, reflect, learn and think about how to apply workshop topics to their future trips.

Can I carpool to a workshop?

WTA does not organize carpooling to the workshop, but we encourage it. We'll ask you your preference about carpooling when you register, then we'll share the contact information of interested participants.

Should more than one person from an organization attend?

Yes! If you plan to co-lead outdoor youth trips with other adults from your school or organization, we encourage as many co-leaders to attend as possible. It will help you to have another person thinking about trip logistics and how to apply them to your group's situation, especially if you will be co-leading a new type of program for you or your group. If you are interested in training more than 5 people from your program, check out our Custom Workshops to have specialized training for your group.

What if I don't currently work with youth?

If you don't currently work with youth, but hope to in the future, we would love to have you join us for a workshop. If you're an emerging professional, or looking to get more involved with leading outdoor trips, the workshop should be a great professional development opportunity. And then when you do find yourself working with a youth group and want to get them outside, you'll have access to the Gear Library and Funding Assistance.

>> Sign up for a Hiking Workshop

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Hiking Workshop Photos by Shane Welch

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Snowshoeing Workshops

ARE WORKSHOPS BEING HELD DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

For 2022 workshops, we are hosting in-person workshops while continuing to maintain best practices to reduce virus transmission. All participants must submit proof of vaccine in order to attend OLT workshops. During workshops, masks are required during workshops when we can not maintain a safe distance.

If you are registered for a workshop, we ask that you stay home if the following situations occur and we will register for another workshop:

  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
  • If you have been in close contact with anyone who is confirmed or suspected by a health care provider to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days or anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • If you have been have experienced any of the following symptoms that you cannot attribute to another health condition: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Otherwise, reading the FAQs below will still give you a good idea of what to expect at a workshop this year. And thank you for helping us keep our workshops safe for everyone.

HOW OFTEN ARE SNOWSHOEING WORKSHOPS HELD?

Snowshoeing Workshops are held on select Saturdays in January through March. Workshops are subject to change and are dependent on weather and road conditions.

>> Check out the upcoming workshops page

IS THERE A FEE FOR TRAINING WORKSHOPS?

Yes, there is a $40 fee for Snowshoeing Workshops. These fees help Washington Trails Association cover some of the cost of workshop supplies and resources. If the workshop fee is a barrier to your participation, scholarships are available. Look for the application link when you register for a workshop.

IS THERE A GROUP DISCOUNT?

For group workshop registrations, there's a $5 per person discount for schools or organizations that register more than one individual. Hiking Workshop registrations are $35 per person for a group of 2 to 5. Groups can sign up and pay for multiple participants at the same time. 

For groups of 5 to 15, consider a Custom Workshop tailored to your program.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIP?

Scholarships are available and if approved, a $10 per course day placement fee is still required to confirm participation. They are awarded based on need and the applicant's ability to use workshop skills to facilitate an outdoor experience for youth. Application instructions and a link to the Scholarship Application Form will appear on the sign up confirmation page and in the confirmation email.

HOW ARE WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED?

Scholarships are available for each workshop. Washington Trails Association will review applications and award recipients based on their described interest and financial need. Special consideration will be given to those applicants who are currently working with youth in a school or community based organization, particularly those with plans to lead an outdoor trip.

CAN I APPLY FOR MORE THAN ONE WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIP?

Workshop Fee Scholarships are limited to one scholarship per individual, per year. However, individuals with a financial barrier to participating in multiple workshops are encouraged to apply for additional scholarships and will be placed on a wait list. If scholarship spots remain available one month ahead of the workshop, applicants will be notified regarding their approval at that time.

DO I NEED TO HAVE OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE TO ATTEND A TRAINING WORKSHOP?

No! You do not need to have any outdoor experience to be involved in this program. Workshops are designed to provide an entry into outdoor activities and also provide valuable information for experienced outdoor trip leaders.

WHERE ARE THE SNOWSHOEING WORKSHOPS HELD?

The Snowshoeing Workshops take place outdoors at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park in January, and at Gold Creek at Snoqualmie Pass in February. We meet at 9:00 am and participants are encouraged to carpool. We spend most of the day out on snowshoe trails. However, since we cover a lot of topics through activities and discussions, we don't actually travel too far. Generally, we hike approximately 2 miles on easy trails. The workshop ends at or before 4:00 pm.

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?

We hold workshops rain, snow or shine. If you plan a group outdoor activity far in advance, you'll run into the same worries, so we'll practice being well prepared with appropriate clothes. Also, WTA staff will send reminders of exactly what to bring so that you're comfortable during the workshop: we will be moving around, but we also stop frequently for discussions, so we recommend bringing warm layers and winter gloves and a hat. If dangerous road or trail conditions exist, we will either cancel or shorten the workshop.

What snowshoeing gear do I need?

None -- we’ve got you covered! All participants will be asked to use the snowshoes and poles from WTA’s Gear Library, which we’ll provide at the workshop. Waterproof boots, gaiters, winter gloves, warm hats, rainwear, warm layers, a backpack, and water bottle are recommended. The snowshoe bindings don't require special footwear, but sturdy, warm and waterproof hiking boots are best. WTA can provide all of these items for the day if you need to borrow anything -- we’ll ask participants in advance what they might need to borrow.

WHAT TAKES PLACE DURING A SNOWSHOEING WORKSHOP?

We start the Snowshoeing Workshop with introductory activities and discuss trip planning and preparation. Then we head out onto the trails where participants get various chances to lead the group. Along the way, WTA's workshop facilitators lead activities and discussions about responsibilities, trail etiquette, food, managing risk and emergencies. The facilitators and participants also share their favorite games and activities to lead with groups of youth and families outdoors. With this experiential, discussion-based format, everyone gets a chance to share, lead, reflect, learn and think about how to apply workshop topics to their future trips.

CAN I CARPOOL TO A WORKSHOP?

WTA does not organize carpooling to the workshop, but we encourage it. We'll ask you your preference about carpooling when you register, then we'll share the contact information of interested participants. Carpool drivers should be prepared for winter travel conditions -- the mountain roads that reach the Snowshoeing Workshop venues require that vehicles carry tire chains. We'll check in with drivers ahead of the workshop to ensure we have a safe driving plan.

SHOULD MORE THAN ONE PERSON FROM AN ORGANIZATION ATTEND?

Yes! If you plan to co-lead outdoor youth trips with other adults from your school or organization, we encourage as many co-leaders to attend as possible. It will help you to have another person thinking about trip logistics and how to apply them to your group's situation, especially if you will be co-leading a new type of program for your group.

WHAT IF I DON'T CURRENTLY WORK WITH YOUTH?

If you don't currently work with groups of youth or families, but hope to in the future, we would love to have you join us for a workshop. If you're an emerging professional, or looking to get more involved with leading outdoor trips, the workshop should be a great professional development opportunity. And then when you do find yourself working with a youth group and want to get them outside, you'll have access to the Gear Library and Funding Assistance.

>> Sign up for a Snowshoeing Workshop

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Snowshoeing Workshop Photos by Emma Cassidy

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Camping Workshops

Are workshops being held during the covid-19 pandemic?

For 2022 workshops, we are hosting in-person workshops while continuing to maintain best practices to reduce virus transmission. All participants must submit proof of vaccine in order to attend OLT workshops. During workshops, masks are required during workshops when we can not maintain a safe distance.

If you are registered for a workshop, we ask that you stay home if the following situations occur and we will register for another workshop:

  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
  • If you have been in close contact with anyone who is confirmed or suspected by a health care provider to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days or anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • If you have been have experienced any of the following symptoms that you cannot attribute to another health condition: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Otherwise, reading the FAQs below will still give you a good idea of what to expect at a workshop this year. And thank you for helping us keep our workshops safe for everyone

How often are Camping Workshops held?

Camping Workshops are held on select weekends in May.

>> Check out the upcoming workshops page

Is there a fee for training workshops?

Yes, there is a $40 fee for Camping Workshops. These fees help Washington Trails Association cover some of the cost of workshop supplies and resources. If the workshop fee is a barrier to your participation, scholarships are available. Look for application instructions when you register for a workshop.

Is there a group discount?

For group workshop registrations, there's a $5 per person discount for schools or organizations that register more than one individual. Hiking Workshop registrations are $35 per person for a group of 2 to 5. Groups can sign up and pay for multiple participants at the same time. 

For groups of 5 to 15, consider a Custom Workshop tailored to your program.

How do I apply for a Workshop Scholarship?

Scholarships are available and if approved, a $10 per course day placement fee is still required to confirm participation. They are awarded based on need and the applicant's ability to use workshop skills to facilitate an outdoor experience for youth. Application instructions and a link to the Scholarship Application Form will appear on the sign up confirmation page and in the confirmation email.

How are Workshop Scholarships awarded?

Scholarships are available for each workshop. Washington Trails Association will review applications and award recipients  based on their described interest and financial need. Special consideration will be given to those applicants who are currently working with youth in a school or community based organization, particularly those with plans to lead an outdoor trip.

Can I apply for more than one Workshop Scholarship?

Workshop Fee Scholarships are limited to one scholarship per individual, per year. However, individuals with a financial barrier to participating in multiple workshops are encouraged to apply for additional scholarships and will be placed on a wait list. If scholarship spots remain available one month ahead of the workshop, applicants will be notified regarding their approval at that time.

Do I need to have outdoor experience to attend a training workshop?

No! You do not need to have any outdoor experience to be involved in this program. Workshops are designed to provide an entry into outdoor activities and also provide valuable information for experienced outdoor trip leaders.

Where are the Camping Workshops held?

The Camping Workshops take place outdoors at camp and on trail at Dash Point State Park. There's an open-air shelter, vault toilets and potable water. We'll cover a lot of topics through activities and discussions around the shelter, but we also take a hike in the afternoon. Generally, we hike approximately 2 miles on trails. There are some uneven surfaces, so sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended.

What about the weather?

We hold workshops rain or shine. If you plan a youth outdoor trip far in advance, you'll run into the same worries, so we'll practice being well prepared with appropriate clothes. Also, WTA staff will send reminders of exactly what to bring so that you're comfortable during the workshop: we will be hiking and moving, but we also stop frequently for discussions, so we recommend bringing warm layers and winter gloves and a hat. However, if dangerous conditions exist, we will either cancel or cut short the workshop.

What takes place during a Camping Workshop?

This one day Camping Workshop will start with introductory activities and discuss trip planning and preparation. We cover setting up a camp kitchen for a large group and setting up tents and other gear depending on the site and size of your group. In the  afternoon, the participants are split into two groups. The first group gets a chance to plan and lead a hike away from camp and into the State Park and the second group takes over to lead us back to camp. We will wrap up the workshop with a fire demonstration and safety talk.

Can I carpool to a workshop?

WTA does not organize carpooling to the workshop, but we encourage it. We'll ask you your preference about carpooling when you register, then we'll share the contact information of interested participants.

Should more than one person from an organization attend?

Yes! If you plan to co-lead outdoor youth trips with other adults from your school or organization, we encourage as many co-leaders to attend as possible. It will help you to have another person thinking about trip logistics and how to apply them to your group's situation, especially if you will be co-leading a new type of program for you or your group.

What if I don't currently work with youth?

If you don't currently work with youth, but hope to in the future, we would love to have you join us for a workshop. If you're an emerging professional, or looking to get more involved with leading outdoor trips, the workshop should be a great professional development opportunity. And then when you do find yourself working with a youth group and want to get them outside, you'll have access to the Gear Lending Library and Funding Assistance.

>> Sign up for a Camping Workshop

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Camping Workshop Photos by Loren Drummond

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Backpacking Workshops

ARE WORKSHOPS BEING HELD DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

For 2022 workshops, we are hosting in-person workshops while continuing to maintain best practices to reduce virus transmission. All participants must submit proof of vaccine in order to attend OLT workshops. During workshops, masks are required during workshops when we can not maintain a safe distance.

This summer we will be providing a backpacking workshop with an overnight component. These workshops will maintain the same precautions as our one-day workshops (hiking, camping, and snowshoeing). Additional precautions will be practiced, such as sleeping in individual tents.

If you are registered for a workshop, we ask that you stay home if the following situations occur and we will register for another workshop:

  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
  • If you have been in close contact with anyone who is confirmed or suspected by a health care provider to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days or anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • If you have been have experienced any of the following symptoms that you cannot attribute to another health condition: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Otherwise, reading the FAQs below will still give you a good idea of what to expect at a workshop this year. And thank you for helping us keep our workshops safe for everyone

How often are Backpacking Workshops held?

Backpacking Workshops are held on select weekends in August.

>> Check out the upcoming workshops page

Is there a fee for training workshops?

Yes, there is a $160 fee for Backpacking Workshops. These fees help Washington Trails Association cover some of the cost of workshop supplies and resources. If the workshop fee is a barrier to your participation, scholarships are available. Look for the application link on the upcoming workshops page.

Is there a group discount?

For group workshop registrations, there's a $5 per person discount for schools or organizations that register more than one individual. Backpacking Workshop registrations are $155 per person for a group of 2 or more.  Groups can sign up and pay for multiple participants at the same time. 

For groups of 5 to 15, consider a Custom Workshop tailored to your program.

How do I apply for a Workshop Scholarship?

Scholarships are available and if approved, a $10 per course day placement fee, totaling to $40, is still required to confirm participation. They are awarded based on need and the applicant's ability to use workshop skills to facilitate an outdoor experience for youth. Application instructions and a link to the Scholarship Application Form will appear on the sign up confirmation page and in the confirmation email.

How are Workshop Scholarships awarded?

Scholarships are available for each workshop. Washington Trails Association will review applications and award recipients based on their described interest and financial need. Special consideration will be given to those applicants who are currently working with youth in a school or community based organization, particularly those with plans to lead an outdoor trip.

Can I apply for more than one Workshop Scholarship?

Workshop Fee Scholarships are limited to one scholarship per individual, per year. However, individuals with a financial barrier to participating in multiple workshops are encouraged to apply for additional scholarships and will be placed on a wait list. If scholarship spots remain available one month ahead of the workshop, applicants will be notified regarding their approval at that time.

Do I need to have outdoor experience to attend a training workshop?

No! You do not need to have any outdoor experience to be involved in this program. Workshops are designed to provide an entry into outdoor activities and also provide valuable information for experienced outdoor trip leaders.

Where are the Backpacking Workshops held?

The Backpacking Workshops take place outdoors at camp and on trail in Olympic National Park. We meet at 11:00 am on Thursday and end around noon on Sunday. We will camp at a nearby group campsite on Thursday night, then head out into the backcountry Friday through Sunday morning. Both the group campsite and the backcountry campsites are primitive with toilets, but no restrooms or showers.

What about the weather?

We hold workshops rain or shine. If you plan a youth outdoor trip far in advance, you'll run into the same worries, so we'll practice being well prepared with appropriate clothes and equipment. Also, WTA staff will send reminders of exactly what to bring so that you're comfortable during the workshop: we will be hiking and moving, but we also stop frequently for discussions. We recommend bringing warm layers and winter gloves and a hat. However, if dangerous conditions exist, we will either cancel or cut short the workshop.

What takes place during a Backpacking Workshop?

We start the Backpacking Workshop with introductory activities and discuss trip planning and preparation. We use the drive-in group campsite to cover setting up a camp kitchen for a large group and setting up tents and other gear depending on the site and size of your group. On the first day, we'll set the foundations for the discussions that will continue through the weekend about the key responsibilities of outdoor leaders. We'll also be organizing and staging our food and supplies for the next day.

For the backpacking portion of the course, we'll be loading everything we need into large packs and heading off into the wilderness of the Olympic Coast. We'll be using multiple campsites and hiking between them over the course of the weekend, but we will not be hiking long distances or climbing strenuous trails. For the first day, we typically only hike 3 miles with minimal elevation gain. We may hike slightly longer distances or across uneven terrain (such as sand) in the subsequent days, but we always keep an easy pace and stop frequently.

Meals throughout the weekend are provided by WTA, but cooked by the participants with easy to use recipes and cooking equipment from WTA's Gear Library.

What are the best ways to treat water? What do we need to consider when setting up camp? What tools do we use to navigate on the trail? What tips, tricks and best practices, with modern gear, make group backcountry camping more efficient and enjoyable? These are just some of the questions that we'll explore first-hand over the weekend, creating an experience that you can replicate with your group.

To accomplish this, WTA workshop facilitators lead activities and discussions about leadership, trail etiquette, food, gear, managing risk and dealing with emergencies. The facilitators and participants also share their favorite games and activities to lead with young people outdoors. With this experiential, discussion-based format, everyone gets a chance to share, lead, reflect, learn and think about how to apply workshop topics to their future trips.

The skills and knowledge you will gain from a Backpacking Workshop will increase your confidence and ability to lead outings of all kinds, whether you plan to replicate a multi-day wilderness trip, or simply want to take the youth and families you work with to a local city park. And if you're an experienced outdoor guide, the workshop offers a great chance to reflect on and share your experiences, gain from the experience of others and bond with peers who share a passion for introducing people to the benefits of spending time in nature.

CAN I CARPOOL TO THE WORKSHOP?

WTA does not organize carpooling to the workshop, but we encourage it, especially for these Backpacking Workshops located farther from urban centers. We'll ask you your preference about carpooling when you register, then we'll share the contact information of interested participants.

Should more than one person from an organization attend?

Yes! If you plan to co-lead outdoor youth trips with other adults from your school or organization, we encourage as many co-leaders to attend as possible. It will help you to have another person thinking about trip logistics and how to apply them to your group's situation, especially if you will be co-leading a new type of program for you or your group.

What if I don't currently work with youth?

If you don't currently work with youth, but hope to in the future, we would love to have you join us for a workshop. If you're an emerging professional, or looking to get more involved with leading outdoor trips, the workshop should be a great professional development opportunity. And then when you do find yourself working with a youth group and want to get them outside, you'll have access to WTA's Gear Library and Funding Assistance.

>> Sign up for a Backpacking Workshop

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Backpacking Workshop Photos by Andrew Pringle

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Custom Workshops

WHEN ARE CUSTOM WORKSHOPS HELD?

Custom Workshops are scheduled with WTA staff at an agreed upon time that works best for your staff and WTA.

>>Contact us to schedule a contract workshop for your program staff

IS THERE A FEE FOR TRAINING WORKSHOPS?

Yes, there is a sliding scale fee for up to 15 people for a 6 hour workshop for groups that serve our priority audience. For groups that do not work with our priority audience the workshops are $550 for up to 15 people. These fees help Washington Trails Association cover some of the cost of workshop supplies and resources. An invoice will be sent to you after the workshop is arranged with WTA staff. Reduced fees are available for programs who serve the OLT program’s core audience on a case by case basis. Fill out our custom workshop request form to begin planning a training for your group.

DOES MY ORGANIZATION OR STAFF NEED OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE TO ATTEND A TRAINING WORKSHOP?

No! You do not need to have any outdoor experience to be involved in this program. Workshops are designed to provide an entry into outdoor activities, but also provide valuable information for experienced outdoor trip leaders.

WHERE ARE THE WORKSHOPS HELD?

We can hold a workshop at your location or in a nearby park. Or we can hold them at our usual hiking workshop locations at either Point Defiance Park in Tacoma or in Issaquah off I-90 in the Tradition Plateau area at Tiger Mountain

In our 6-hour workshops, since we cover a lot of topics through activities and discussions, we don't actually hike too far. Generally, we hike approximately 2 to 2.5 miles on easy trails. There are some uneven surfaces, so sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended.

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?

We hold workshops rain or shine. If you plan a youth outdoor trip far in advance, you'll run into the same worries, so we'll practice being well prepared with appropriate clothes. Also, WTA staff will send reminders of exactly what to bring so that you're comfortable during the workshop: we will be hiking and moving, but we also stop frequently for discussions, so we recommend bringing warm layers and winter gloves and a hat. However, if dangerous conditions exist, we will either cancel or shorten the workshop.

WHAT TAKES PLACE DURING A WORKSHOP?

We start the Hiking Workshop with introductory activities and discuss trip planning and preparation. Then the participants are split into two groups. The first group gets a chance to plan and lead a hike for the morning and the second group takes over in the afternoon. Along the way, WTA workshop facilitators lead activities and discussions about leadership, trail etiquette, food, managing risk and emergencies. The facilitators and participants also share their favorite games and activities to lead with young people outdoors. With this experiential, discussion-based format, everyone gets a chance to share, lead, reflect, learn and think about how to apply workshop topics to their future trips. All participants leave with a resource binder to help with trip planning.

DOES WTA PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION TO A WORKSHOP?

WTA does not organize carpooling for the workshop but if your organization doesn’t have a vehicle we encourage your staff to carpool.

>>Contact us to schedule a contract workshop for your program staff!

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Gear Library

What safety protocols are in place at the gear libraries during the covid-19 pandemic?

All visitors must submit proof of vaccine in order to enter a gear library. Masks are required at all times when at the gear library and a health screen will be conducted upon entry to the library. 

Where is the gear library?

WTA has two gear libraries:

South Seattle:
847 Hiawatha Place S, Seattle WA 98144 

Seattle Gear Library Coordinator: Erin McQuin

Puyallup:
14422 Meridian Ave. E, Puyallup, WA 98375

Puyallup Gear Library Coordinator:MJ Sampang 

Who can use the Gear Library?

The Gear Lending Library is for schools and community-based organizations who want to borrow outdoor gear for hiking and camping trips with school-aged youth and have attended a workshop and a gear library orientation.

Do I have to attend a workshop?

Trip leaders who wish to borrow gear must first attend a Outdoor Leadership Training workshop and a Gear Library Orientation. Gear Library Orientations are held on select Thursdays online from 2pm to 3pm. After attending the orientation you can borrow gear for your group from any of our gear libraries.You can attend an orientation before or after your workshop.

Can my youth group borrow gear for trail work?

The Gear Library is also available to support groups who wish to volunteer on a WTA-led trail work party, but don't have access to appropriate clothes and sturdy footwear. In these cases, the workshop requirement may be waived, but the trip leader will still be required to attend a Gear Library Orientation.

How do I request to borrow gear?

Trip leaders who wish to borrow gear must first attend a Gear Library Orientation, which covers the request process as well as pick up and drop off logistics. You can review some of the gear lending policies and see the current gear catalog on the Gear Library page.

What if I can’t make the agreed upon gear check out or return time?

If you can't make the scheduled pick up or drop off time, or if you have any other questions or issues, please contact your respective gear library coordinator. 

Seattle Gear Library Coordinator: Erin McQuin

Puyallup Gear Library Coordinator: MJ Sampang 

What if I lose gear or find that I don't have all the gear at the time of drop off?

If you lose gear, you will be charged a replacement fee to support the continued use of the gear library. A gear replacement fee list will accompany the gear checkout packet that you receive when attending a Gear Library Orientation. The general replacement fee is 50 to 75 percent of the retail cost of the item.

What if my company is interested in supporting the program with a cash donation or gear donation?

If you or your company are interested in supporting outdoor youth trips through the gear libraries, please contact Jean Bartholomew at 206-785-6442 or jbartholomew@wta.org.

Can I donate my personal gently used gear?

Most of the gear in the libraries consists of new and uniform items procured through the support of manufacturers. WTA does accept individual used items in good condition that are 5 years old or newer on a case-by-case basis, depending on need and the condition of the item(s) in question. For now, a great way to support the gear libraries is through financial donations which help us purchase more gear. If you're interested in making a donation, please contact Jean Bartholomew at 206-785-6442 or jbartholomew@wta.org.

>> Learn more about the Gear Lending Library

The entrance to the Gear Library on Hiawatha Pl S

Shelves at the Gear Library with sleeping pads and bags

Dowels at the Gear Library with backpacks and trekking poles

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Funding Assistance

WHO CAN APPLY FOR FUNDING ASSISTANCE?

WTA funding assistance is available for workshop graduates and their program or school who want to lead an outing for youth and families or seek to build their staff’s outdoor leadership skills. Workshop graduates who support the OLT programs priority audience can apply, but should carefully review the application criteria to ensure that their submission matches the intentions of the funding assistance.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR TO RECEIVE FUNDING ASSISTANCE?

Applying for funding is easy. From the funding assistance page, follow the link to the application form and provide your contact info and some information about your outing or proposal. Applicants are reviewed on a rolling basis and should be submitted one month prior to the trip or training.

WHAT'S REQUIRED OF A FUNDED RECIPIENT?

The reporting requirements after receiving funding. We ask that within two weeks of the trip, the leader should fill out a trip report and submit a one-page narrative about the successes, challenges and lessons-learned from the trip. We also love photos!

>> Apply for Funding Assistance