Young Mentors Program

Vashon Wilderness Program’s Young Mentors Program is an incredible opportunity for teens to become authentic nature based mentors and leaders.

Teens experience a unique set of leadership skills and learn our “invisible schooling” techniques in order to mentor VWP youth students at one of our school-year programs. Each week, teens receive invaluable guidance from our seasoned adult instructors to help them step more fully into a mentoring role with VWP youth students. And, each month, teens meet with their peers and VWP’s Field Director to hone their new skills as powerful role models and leaders.

Becoming a leader takes time and care; we’re excited to work with teens willing to learn and grow into resilient and powerful leaders.

Program Details


VWP’s Young Mentors Program includes:

Field Practicum: Hands-on mentoring experience as an assistant at one of our school-year programs:

  • Weekly, on Fridays, September – June
  • Monthly, on the 2nd Saturday, October – May  
  • All practicums include opportunities for Young Mentors to debrief with professional staff.

Group Training: Once a quarter gatherings with fellow teen Young Mentors and VWP’s Field Director to:

  • Learn core routines of nature connection that can be modeled for students
  • Practice outdoor skills and games that can be taught to students
  • Learn conflict resolution and compassionate communication skills
  • Practice group management skills
  • Learn to facilitate teamwork

Graduates of our Young Mentors program are eligible to earn a stipend as an assistant at one or more of our summer camps.


Ready to take the next step?


Qualifications: In order to apply for the Young Mentors Leadership Training program, applicants must be 13 – 17 years old, and meet at least one of the criteria (exceptions listed below):

  • previously participated in at least one full program at Vashon Wilderness Program, or
  • currently enrolled in VWP’s Earth Walker Adventure Program for Teens, or
  • have prior experience at another 8 Shields/Coyote Mentoring program.

We do make exceptions for teens who:

  • demonstrate a love of learning in and about nature,
  • enjoy working with children,
  • want to experience themselves as powerful leaders, and
  • complete our 3-Day Pre-Program Training Intensive (see below).

Please inquire if this is you! 

Pre-requisite: Are you brand new to VWP and/or the 8 Shields Mentoring Model? No problem; we’ve got you covered! Simply complete our 3-Day Pre-Program Training Intensive prior to enrolling in our Young Mentors: Coyote Leadership Training Program, and you’ll be ready to hit the trail! 

Your Pre-Program training includes:

  • an introduction to VWP and our renowned mentoring approach
  • key competencies of a Coyote Mentor
  • skills and tools for making your first days in the field a success
  • games, songs, and nature-based activities 
  • and so much more…. 

Cost: $300. Financial support may be available. Please inquire.

Application Deadline: September 5th

Fee: Young Mentors Program is offered at $100 and includes all trainings and a background check. This fee is waived for Teens enrolled in our Earth Walker Adventure Program, and for teens who have completed our 3-Day Pre-Program Training Intensive 

CONTACT US for More Information and an Application