Why Choose Adventure Treks?

Adventure Treks’ summer camps for teens are all about making memories, fostering lifelong friendships, and creating more confident and capable young adults. But Adventure Treks isn’t only about outdoor fun and friendships; we want each of our students to discover their best selves, and we believe that the great outdoors is just the way to do it.

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Two of my daughters participated in different California Challenge trips separately over the last two years. We had hoped for both of them that they would not only have fun, memorable experiences, but also ones which would promote a sense of confidence and independence. Adventure Treks delivered much more than we had hoped for. The activities and environment did in fact create many fun and rewarding challenges. But it was the caring instructors and the thought that was put into the trip which created meaningful group experiences which allowed my daughters to grow as people. They have maintained many of their friendships from their trips and have been eager to return for more Adventure Treks experiences. – Robb Ellis, parent from Simpsonville, SC

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The Adventure Treks difference

For more than 30 years, we’ve focused on providing valuable outdoor and growth-oriented adventure camps to our students and families. We’re intentionally a small company—long-term relationships are important to us, and we consider ourselves more like a family than a business. From the first time you speak with us, we hope you’ll feel like a member of our family, and we promise to treat your child as if they were our own.

Our commitment to creating a close-knit community and our student-to-instructor ratio (4:1) is what sets us apart. Our ratio—the best in the industry!—and ability to accommodate larger group size gives us unique flexibility in optimizing student experiences and ensures students really get to know everyone on their trip, including instructors. Plus, our trips are technology-free, so students learn to thrive without electronics. Read more about our staff below.

Exceptional instructors

More than just outdoor educators, our instructors are mentors, role models, and friends to our students. With our 4:1 ratio, the relationships that are forged between instructor and student are unmatched. Plus, this gives us a better focus on risk management, it means that returning instructors are on every single trip and led by a senior staff member, and it provides a wider breadth of knowledge, experience, personalities, and skills in our staff teams.

We consistently have one of the highest instructor return rates and highest average instructor age (26–28 years old) of any similar program. Our team consistently earns the highest marks on students’ end-of-summer evaluations and reviews. Adventure Treks instructors are held in high regard in the outdoor industry, and we receive about hundreds of applications to fill a few dozen spots each year.

Additionally, you’ll notice we don’t refer to our instructors as “camp counselors”; this is intentional. Camp counselors are typically younger college students with little to no background in this industry; our instructors are outdoor professionals who are older, more experienced, and more mature—and thus better suited to lead adventurous wilderness programs for youth.

Read more about our instructors

Non-cognitive skills: Our Great 8 Outcomes

Adding to a fun adventure summer camp, we strive for our Great 8 Outcomes to be learned through adventure, immersion in an outdoor environment, and interaction with great role models. Studies show that the Adventure Treks experience makes brains inherently more receptive to learning. Our emphasis on using the close-knit community and fun and challenging outdoor activities makes Adventure Treks the perfect place to improve these skills needed to thrive in the 21st century:

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration and social achievement
  3. Creativity
  4. Critical thinking
  5. Leadership
  6. Self-management
  7. Resilience
  8. Optimism

Read more about our Great 8 Outcomes

FUN! and a culture of kindness

The Adventure Treks community is what keeps our students coming back to us for multiple summers. Our philosophy is about bringing out the very best in our students, and there’s no better way to do that than sharing the challenges and joys of adventure travel with a supportive group of friends. Students often tell us that they feel closer to their Adventure Treks friends after just a couple weeks together than their friends back home!

We believe that a sense of community on a summer program is essential to our students’ personal growth. The teenagers on our trips are important, contributing members to a close-knit group of like-minded peers. We emphasize shared responsibility and a culture of kindness, so everyone can grow and enjoy a positive, clique-free, and respectful social environment. Our instructors facilitate and encourage this mindset in several ways:

  • On the first day of every trip, a director is present at the airport to greet our students and introduce our instructors, including adding a few interesting facts about each person. We also set our expectations for students’ behavior and actions for the trip. After the first day, which is packed with games, a “Yahoo!” welcome dinner, and laughter, many students already feel at home.
  • Every night, we hold an evening meeting, where we discuss our pluses and deltas of the day. Students have a chance to strengthen their group through positive feedback and constructive criticism.
  • Hat ceremonies, one of our most treasured traditions, give students a chance to be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the group.
  • And even more crazy-fun games and unique events and traditions facilitate friendships through shared fun, energy, and spontaneity.

Our goal is for every Adventure Treks student to feel welcomed and appreciated. Our summer programs are a safe place for students to be themselves in a supportive, caring environment. We’ve seen so many lifetime friendships begin on our trips that it’s no wonder our past students frequently reunite for reunions, many of which involve outdoor activities. Many alumni say the friendships are the greatest gift of the Adventure Treks experience, and we look forward to creating many more of these friendships each summer!

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Safety, safety, safety!

Our students and instructors know these are our three most important words. Risk management is the foundation of everything we do. We hope you’ll agree that nothing in life is 100 percent safe. (Driving is the most statistically dangerous thing we do at Adventure Treks.) But the moment your child leaves home until they return to you, minimizing this risk is our first and foremost priority. This means that in our 30 years, Adventure Treks has never experienced a major accident.

Read more about our safety policy

We love AT! We were referred by a family friend, and we feel so fortunate to have discovered and experienced what AT has to offer. The growth and independence that we feel our daughter achieves with each trip is the reason we return. The physical challenge is daunting but such a great way for her to prove to herself that she can do anything. The bond with instructors and other teens from around the country is so strong, and I love that lifelong friends are being made—especially as some of them start to think about college and having friends in different parts of the country. We also love that our daughter gets to connect with nature and disconnect from everyday life (and technology) for an extended period of time. All of these things make for an incredible summer experience that we hope she will have again and again. What a gift this is to teens! Thank you for all that you do to offer these life-changing experiences. – Meredith Alderson, Austin, TX