Students hike toward the sunset in Yosemite National Park

Armstrong Scholars

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The Armstrong Scholars program seeks to inspire all young women, trans-inclusive and non-binary femmes, ages 15-18 to reach their highest potential, develop a stronger sense of self and explore their personal connection to nature during a 12-day wilderness backpacking adventure in Yosemite's High Sierra. Participants from different cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, LGBTQIA+ and socioeconomic communities come together for an expedition of discovery, leadership and personal challenge.

This program is inspired by and in memory of former NatureBridge environmental science educator Joie Armstrong.

The Armstrong Scholars at the top of Burro Pass in Yosemite
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How to


Thirteen participants will be chosen based on the strength of their applications and the recommendations of supportive educators and community leaders.

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It helped me become more confident in myself as a human... I feel like I can and am able to accomplish and succeed at challenging things.
Fiona, 2022 Armstrong Scholar
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Former NatureBridge educator Joie Armstrong was a bright light to all who knew her. Your support of the Armstrong Scholars program ensures her spirit, strength and passion for the outdoors lives on in the young women who participate each year.

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Program Fees

Through the generosity of donors, we are able to offer this program for a fee of $150 per participant. The remaining program cost of $2,400 per scholar is supported by donations given in honor of Joie Armstrong's life and legacy.

Additional scholarships are available to offset this cost and basic backpacking gear is available for loan during the program. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Yosemite.

The Armstrong Scholars stand hand-in-hand looking at the Yosemite wilderness.
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Joie Armstrong

Joie was full of laughter and love, creativity and spunk; she gifted the world with her glowing smile and warm heart. We will remember her as a young woman who had a tremendous enthusiasm for life and a deep desire to give of herself for the betterment of the world around her.

As Joie once said, "My passion lies with teaching children about their environment and I have dedicated all of my efforts toward it." That passion for teaching and her creative spirit inspired this powerful program.

Don’t sip, gulp. And be at peace with yourself, there’s no better way to live life. This journey has been life-changing. I am thankful for what I have, and I thank Joie’s spirit for this wonderful opportunity.
Katrina, 2006 Armstrong Scholar
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Contact Us

Kim Laizer
Education Manager, Yosemite

t: 209-379-5202
f: 209-379-9510

PO Box 194
El Portal, CA 95318

Honor Joie Armstrong's Legacy