Mountain Quest

Coming of Age for Young Women

Ages 12 - 14  |  June 28 - July 11, 2020  | Return to Youth Programs

Space currently available!

“My experience here has changed me for the better. It has strengthened my inner self, made me extremely grateful, and let me learn more about myself. My best experience on this trip was probably hiking, and having many interesting conversations with my fellow teammates. We had a wonderful experience with our guides, caring, loving, and hardworking women, who have taught me so much. They helped me construct my Content Statement, which is: I am a joyful spirit, who is capable, accepting and serves all. This was a memorable experience and will for always be remembered.” - Ronja, Age 13



This journey of self-discovery builds confidence and clarity for emerging young women. 

The Coming of Age Journey is a unique opportunity to celebrate and honor the changes of this time in a girl's life. Like thousands of women before her, she will be welcomed into the larger community with a fuller understanding of the creative and visionary power inherent in her gifts as a woman.

Developed over fifty years of work with hundreds of individuals, this program helps young women enter adolescence with strength and self-confidence. Girls speak their truth and believe in their worth based on talents, skills and interests rather than on appearance, popularity or sexual appeal. Participants are physically, emotionally and spiritually stretched as they set out on a multi-day backpacking trip and 24-hour solo vigil. The journey gives young women an extraordinary opportunity to challenge themselves as they move beyond self-imposed limitations, take on greater responsibility, and work cooperatively with others.

Set in the forests, mountains, and waterways of Western Washington, this program is designed to empower participants to recognize and walk in the truth of their own spirit. Laughter, sweat, creativity, reflection, and new friendships all come together for those who are willing to discover more about themselves and their unique contributions to the world.

Family Participation

The initiate’s family plays an important role in The Coming of Age Journey. On the first day of the trip, parents and guardians send their child off, then spend time exploring the changes that are occurring in their daughter and in their family.  At the conclusion of this 2-week adventure, parents and guardians take part in a program of incorporation. During this day-long event, parents and young people alike will have the opportunity to see one another with new eyes. Together in this way, they breathe new life into existing relationships, and explore the possibilities of what it means to be a family in the 21st century, with a new family member who is no longer a girl, but a young woman.




Ages 12 - 14


June 28 - July 11, 2020


Olympic National Park
(Program starts and ends in Bothell, Washington)


$1975.00; Deposit $400.00
Financial Aid is Available

Download the Program Flyer >


Questions? Check out our FAQ page or send us a message!

Experienced guides support and mentor young girls on the path to womanhood.

Experienced guides support and mentor young girls on the path to womanhood.

After an 8-10 day backpacking trip, participants arrive at the Washington Coast and prepare for a 24-hour solo vigil.

After an 8-10 day backpacking trip, participants arrive at the Washington Coast and prepare for a 24-hour solo vigil.

Sample Itinerary

Week 1 |  Coming of Age participants, their families, and our staff participate in a send-off ceremony at the Journeys basecamp -- this happens concurrently with the Coming of Age for Young Men send-off. This ceremony is followed, for participants, by intentional community building activities, camp skills training, and launching a 8- to 10-day backpacking trip during which wilderness, leadership and teamwork skills will be taught and practiced.  

Week 2  |  Participants will prepare for their 24-hour solo vigil.  During this segment participants will be involved in expressive art projects, journaling and ceremony. After the 24-hour solo vigil is completed participants will hike back to the vehicles and transfer to Sacred Groves. There, participants will celebrate their incredible Journey and the beginning of Young Womanhood. The group will participate in Sweatlodge and Moonlodge Ceremonies. This section of the trip is focused on relaxation, art, conversations around becoming young women and celebration. Participants will then return to the Journeys basecamp for the day-long reincorporation experience with their parents.  


Skills Introduced

Self Reflection.png
Nature Connection.png
Backcountry Skills.png

Teamwork  |  Self Reflection  |  Nature Connection  |  Backcountry Skills  |  Campfires  |  Campskills


Program Outcomes

  • Improved self-confidence

  • Group communication and problem solving skills

  • Understanding and taking responsibility

  • Ability to listen to intuition

  • Creative self-expression

  • Leadership and teamwork skills

  • Improved physical strength and personal resolve

  • Knowledge of natural history of Northwest terrain

  • Low-impact camping techniques

  • Understanding of a healthy and appropriate path to womanhood

  • Completion of a transformative rite of passage 


Mountain Quest Staff



Program Coordinator

Rachel Cernick grew up between the mountains of Idaho and Montana, scaling pine trees and running barefoot and free. The demands and pressures of being a girl in our time gave way to difficult teenage…


Coleen Butler

Program Mentor

Coleen is a woman of deep love and passion for the earth. Raised in Pennsylvania, Coleen has found homes in many places: Vermont, Upstate New York, and now a rainy valley in Western…


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