Frequently Asked Questions

From parents

Do you look at the grade students are currently in, or the grade they're going into?

We look at the grade students are finishing before their Adventure Treks trip, not the grade they’re entering after the summer. In other words, the grade students are in as of September 2021. Our trips are for students who are currently in the 7th through 12th grades (ages 13–18) during the 2021–2022 school year.

Do you pre-screen your students?

Adventure Treks is not an open-enrollment program. To ensure a mutually good fit, new families fill out admissions forms, including a student questionnaire, parent questionnaire, and health history; new students must also provide a character reference from school.

Just as we encourage parents to do their due diligence when choosing a program, we also do our best to thoroughly screen our families to create the best possible peer groups and get to know our families before our students arrive for the summer.

What exactly is Adventure Treks?

Think of Adventure Treks as a step up from a traditional summer camp; while we still focus on having a ton of fun within an inclusive community, students take on leadership roles and collaborate to ensure both individual and group success. We don’t have one specific base camp; rather, we travel in 15-passenger vans to different areas within a specific region to try all sorts of new activities, led by caring, experienced, and enthusiastic outdoor leaders.

We treat our students as the young adults they are and give them as much responsibility as is practical to help them grow. Our students have a real voice in their community and help guide the community and experience along with their instructors.

While we spend all of our time outside and camp in tents throughout the trip, we aren’t a hardcore wilderness program. Our priorities include building community, helping teens gain and improve 21st century skills, and having fun in a tech-free environment—and we do it all in the beautiful outdoors. Get the quick facts about Adventure Treks here.

Should my child bring a friend?

Inclusive communities are what we’re known for, and the majority of our new students come without a friend. In order to preserve the unique nature of our program and in the interest of inclusivity, we limit the number of new students who have a pre-existing relationship, whether from home, school, or otherwise, to no more than two to three on any one program (depending on the size of the group).

Students who arrive together as friends from home will not spend every activity together in order to allow them the opportunity to branch out, make new friends, and help avoid mutually exclusive relationships. We believe (and our students and parents will agree) that making new friends has powerful benefits! Read more about our group size here.

What kind of staff do you hire?

Unlike other teen programs, we don’t hire college students simply looking for a fun summer diversion (we feel that age group is better suited to gain experience as more traditional camp counselors). This is also why we don’t refer to our staff as “camp counselors”; we hire professional outdoor educators who truly care about and invest in our students’ personal growth and development.

Adventure Treks is very proud of its instructor teams! Before our trips start, our instructors go through an extensive two- to three-week orientation and training specific to Adventure Treks. We have a high staff return rate, all of our instructors are wilderness first responders at minimum, and everyone has previous experience working with young adults in the outdoors. Read more about our instructors here.

Are outdoor adventure trips safe?

The physical and emotional safety of our students and instructors is our number one priority. We make every decision regarding your child as if you were looking over our shoulder, but please understand that nothing is 100 percent safe. To build independence and ensure normal teenage development, we practice taking reasonable and appropriate risks, while doing everything possible to minimize and mitigate those risks. Read more about our safety policy here.

Will my student be out of cell service the entire time?

We spend time in both frontcountry and backcountry campsites throughout the trip. Frontcountry camping is like car camping; we’ll be in established campgrounds with our vans nearby, and we’ll typically have access to amenities like a fire pit, picnic tables, bathrooms, and running water. In frontcountry sites, we usually have cell phone service (but not always). Backcountry camping refers to remote campsites, ones you can usually only reach by foot. Most of the places we camp are near water, like a river or lake, so that we have a water source for drinking, cleaning, and cooking. We usually do not have cell phone service in the backcountry. Most trips spend about half their nights in the front country, and half their nights in the backcountry.

When out of cell phone service, our director and administrative team are able to communicate with our instructors via satellite devices.

Who will greet my child at the airport?

Our instructors meet our students at the gate, and we constantly check for flight delays and other travel obstacles on every student’s flight. We strive to make traveling to and from each outdoor adventure as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Read more about traveling to and from Adventure Treks here.

Can you accommodate food allergies and picky eaters?

We can easily accommodate gluten-free students, vegetarians, and most food allergies and dietary restrictions, but we are unable to accommodate vegan or kosher diets. Please call us at 828-698-0399 so we can discuss your child’s specific needs. You can read more about the kinds of foods we eat here.

What is included in the price of my child’s trip?

Adventure Treks is the only program we know of that provides tents, sleeping bags and pads, backpacks, all cookware, and all technical equipment at no extra cost. You’ll need to bring hiking boots, clothing, and personal items like toiletries, and enrolled families will have access to detailed packing lists for their child’s trip. Airfare is not included in tuition.

Can I contact my child during their trip?

While we do want our students to experience a mostly technology-free environment, students will call home about once per week during their trips. You will be able to follow along with your child’s trip in your CampInTouch account, as we’ll post blogs and photos as often as we can!

We know that urgent situations sometimes arise at home, so our directors are on-call 24/7 during the summer. Read more about summer communication here.

What are your COVID policies for 2022?

In light of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that you understand our efforts to manage everyone’s health and safety so that you can make an informed decision. We are focused on taking all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As always, the health and safety of our students, instructors, and entire Adventure Treks community remains our top priority.

This means that we are moving forward with the decision to require all students and staff who attend a summer 2022 program to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Adventure Treks will also accept students who have had a prior confirmed case of COVID-19 and one dose of an approved vaccine. The latter must be accompanied by a letter from a healthcare provider confirming the date and diagnosis of a positive COVID test. Adventure Treks will consider requests for medical exemptions.

Please read more here.

What is your cancellation policy?

For all summer trips, all deposit payments are refundable through January 1, 2022. Between January 2 and February 28, 2022, deposits are nonrefundable. (If you’ve paid tuition in full and cancel by February 28, you forfeit the $1,000 deposit.) For cancellations that occur after March 1, 2022, deposits and tuition are nonrefundable. Adventure Treks must be notified of all cancellations in writing.

You can view our cancellation policy in full here.

My son LOVED his Adventure Treks experience. He met new friends from across the country and had new experiences from rafting to backpacking to flying without his parents to and from the trip. After 15 months of COVID, being outside with great instructors and kids and doing new things was renewing and confidence-building. It was a very healthy experience in building independence. He and his friends are already planning the Adventure Treks trip they want to do next year. Also, I am amazed by how organized Adventure Treks is and the excellence and thoroughness of your communication. Truly exceptional. – Heather Corcoran, parent from Greenbrae, CA

From students

What are the other students like?

The teenagers who come to Adventure Treks are kind, welcoming, eager to learn, and hail from all over the United States and world. We prescreen our students and get to know our families, so our groups are full of positive young adults that will work well with each other. Adventure Treks places a strong emphasis on group dynamics and creating a supportive social environment, and our students reflect that. Read more about our students here.

What kind of shape do I need to be in?

Because we’ll be engaged in different outdoor activities throughout each trip, our students should be physically fit to attend Adventure Treks. We know physical fitness looks different for everyone, but it’s important to come prepared so that you and your fellow students can succeed. One student not coming prepared with physical fitness can negatively impact the entire group.

In the months leading up to your trip, we recommend participating in physical activity at least a few times a week if you don’t already. This might be hiking, jogging or running, biking, playing soccer or basketball, or anything else that helps your cardiovascular fitness.

What if I don’t know anyone else?

Most of our students come to Adventure Treks not knowing anyone before their trip. You’ll begin to make friends as soon as you arrive at the airport (and our instructors will be there to help). By the time the trip is over, you won’t want to leave your new community! Most of our students remain friends long after their summer ends.

What if I don't have any outdoor experience?

That’s OK! Most of our first-time students don’t have experience in most of the outdoor activities that we do. Our instructors work closely to teach you the skills that you’ll need. By the end of the trip, you’ll be a pro at setting up camp, cooking in the backcountry, and more! If you do have some experience, our instructors will be happy to help you improve your existing skills.

Do we sleep in tents every night?

You’ll be camping in tents during your adventure, and you’ll be surprised at how well you sleep. You’ll be with two other people of the same identifying gender in a four-person tent. When conditions allow, we sleep under the stars.

Will we be able to shower and do laundry?

You’ll be able to shower about once a week throughout the trip. We know this might sound intimidating, but don’t worry! You’ll always be able to wash your hands and face regardless of our location, and many of our students bring travel wipes. We also spend a lot of time around rivers and lakes, so you’ll be able to rinse off often. We do laundry on all trips, and you’ll pack enough clean clothes to last you until laundry day.

What do I need to bring?

Adventure Treks provides everything you need for the activities on your trip, including a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, mess kit, and group and technical gear. There are no rental fees for extra equipment, saving you hundreds of dollars. Each trip has a specific and comprehensive packing list for you to follow.

How do I choose a trip?

The trips available to you are based on your age and grade, interests, and outdoor experience. Everyone has a variety of trips to choose from. For more information, visit our 2022 teen program schedule.

I’m nervous about flying alone.

Nervousness about flying is completely normal, and we understand that it can be a little uncomfortable, especially if it’s your first time. We can assure you, though, that you are in good hands. Our instructors meet students at their gates, and we constantly check for flight delays and any other travel obstacles to keep you informed on the day you are flying. We make traveling to and from Adventure Treks as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Read more about airport days here.

Will I get to use my cell phone?

At Adventure Treks, our students have an unbelievable amount of fun—all without the use of their cell phones! We unplug from technology so that we can connect with our natural surroundings and each other and build strong, inclusive, and kind communities. And we promise that you won’t even miss your phone.

You will get to bring your cell phone for travel days and for phone calls home to your family about once per week.

If you have any other questions, please contact us 828-698-0399! We are happy to hear from you.

I would highly recommend Adventure Treks. Every trip detail was well thought out, from the travel arrangements to trip activities to the meals that were prepared to any medical needs each child would have. My son loved the adventures as well as the other students and the instructors. As a parent, I was pleased to hear that he learned about working together as a group toward a common goal, whether it was through looking out for others while on a hike or working with his team to prepare a meal. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Adventure Treks. It was a great experience from beginning to end. I have a daughter who took a trip through a similar company a couple years ago. She too had a wonderful experience, and we were very impressed, but I have to say that Adventure Treks took the idea of an adventure trip for teens to another level. – Mia Newton, parent from Greenwich, CT