The dates for the YA! program 2015 TO BE ANNOUNCED

More information will come soon.

Here below you will find information about the YA! 2013 experience.

An Invitation to the YA! Experience

Dear Young Adult,

Building sweat lodge 2012

Building sweat lodge 2012

Picture a space, deep in nature, where you have the time to discover who you really are, what your gifts and talents are, and what you really care about.

The YA! (Young Adult) Experience is a path of self discovery that nurtures appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and respect. Join us on this 11 day Kootenay mountain adventure based at the Tipi Camp on Kootenay Lake. The YA! Experience is a transformative adventure of a lifetime.

 “In terms of the amount that I learned and grew as an individual, I did not think it was possible to have such a change of mind and heart in only 11 days.”
– Meena –  YA! participant 2012

Mountain trek

Mountain trek


“This program has altered the course of my life in a hugely positive direction. I am happier and healthier for the time I’ve spent here.”
– Kyoko-  YA! participant 2011

In the 25 years at our lakeside camp, we have seen the power of wilderness inspire young people to uncover their own individual gifts in ways that are unique to each person. Absorbing the energy from the wilderness, with supportive mentoring from the staff and elders, each person can achieve the necessary self-awareness, confidence, inspiration and passion to fan the flame of personal leadership in their field of choice.


“I find myself lighter, more connected. I see the world around me in a new light consider my words carefully before I speak…I have always been mindful but now I feel soulful.”
– James YA! participant 2012

“The program has pushed all our true selves to the surface so we can really see each other.”
– Rosie, YA! participant 2011

The YA! Experience blends indigenous perspectives and ceremonies with the creative aspects of our more modern cultures. Native ceremonies have the power to connect our hearts to our heads, creating a more balanced person.

YA!  Experience 2011

YA! Experience 2011

The ceremonies can also heal emotional and mental wounds from our past.

Also included are more modern tools for personal development: journaling, action planning, creative visualization, leadership training and survival skills.  A four day wilderness mountain trek, campfires and recreational activities weave fun with learning at every step. At the heart of the program are the enduring friendships and camaraderie amongst an inspired group of young adults.

“Safe spaces are rare these days, especially for young people. This place, that is so free from judgment and selfish thought, is a huge blessing. You have given us a place where we can learn to trust people again.” – Kyoko YA! participant 2011

The YA! Experience runs from August 19 to August 29, 2013. Only 10 places are available each year. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. The deadline is Aug 5, 2013.

For lots more information please visit the YA! information page and visit or
To receive a personal response to any further questions, contact Jonathan Taylor at or call 250-354-7511.

enjoying  the view YA! 2011

Enjoying the view YA!


The organizations joining to offer the YA! Experience are the Kootenay Society for Lifelong Learning (KSLL), the Self Design High School (SDH) in Nelson, BC, and Guiding Hands Recreation Society (GHRS). SDH is an innovative alternative to public school education partnering with KSLL in developing and supporting workshops and accredited courses for youth and community members that engage communication and action to build peace in the world. GHRS has educated people about the value of nature and outdoor recreation for 25 years, and advocated individual responsibility for conservation, ecological awareness and sustainability. Under this mandate, the GHRS operates the secluded lakeside Tipi Camp on Kootenay Lake BC, the base camp for the YA! Experience.