What Did Parents Think of Adventure Treks Summer 2020?

AT Staff06 Sep, 2020

We could not have pulled off this unprecedented summer (operating on a small scale during a pandemic is something we never expected to do) without the steadfast support of our amazing Adventure Treks families and students.

For many reasons, this will be a summer we’ll never, ever forget—and not just because of COVID restrictions. What we’ll remember are the unending smiles on teens’ faces, their laughter as they engage in meaningful conversations and games with friends, the awe in their eyes at seeing western NC’s unparalleled wilderness beauty… We will never forget how seriously our parents and students took their pre-trip quarantines and how much work they did to help Adventure Treks operate.

But don’t just listen to us about how much fun we had this summer. Hear from our families directly. Below are just a few of our 2020 parent testimonials.

“Adventure Treks is the best place ever! You meet your best friends and have the most memorable experiences while becoming a better person. I love AT! This year, I had such a great time that I forgot about the coronavirus for a while.” – Noa, student from Minnetonka, MN

“A summer without AT is not a summer at all. Adventure Treks is pure magic… Children get an opportunity to be just that—children, within a structure premised on safety, respect, community, acceptance, and fun. The selection of destinations, peers, instructors, food, activities, etc. have large doses of thought and care and love. This summer was the best escape from the pandemic.” – Sanjani Varkey, parent from Berkeley, CA

“I loved how my instructors were part of the community; they weren’t just enforcers. I loved how they always wanted us to have a good time. Adventure Treks has taught me how to be a better friend, community member, and lover of the outdoors. I’ve learned how to push myself through uncomfortable situations and cherish every moment I’ve had with the AT community. AT is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve met some of my best friends here… The memories we’ve made and views I’ve seen are things I’ll remember forever. Thank you all for another amazing summer!” – Emily, student from Steamboat Springs, CO

“Adventure Treks is a great opportunity for students to have an unusual, challenging experience with peers from diverse geographic locales, build a sense of community, and learn/hone skills from capable outdoor instructors. Our sons have both enjoyed their experiences with AT through the years. They love the camaraderie, sense of community, and adventure! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Huge kudos—above and beyond expectations, especially in this unique, trying time of uncharted waters! You ALL pulled off and executed the most wonderful AT experience, at a time when it is more valuable than ever. These students needed it, wanted it, adhered to protocols—as did you and your entire team. Many thanks again for having pivoted and reconstructed curricula/itineraries and making this the best AT experience EVER! George looks forward to next year’s Alaska Expedition. We appreciate ALL of you!” – Suzy Seger-Zach, parent from Lovettsville, VA

“My AT experiences have taught me not only how to love and appreciate nature, but the best way to make the best friends is to just be who you want to be. It’s the only place where strangers can instantly feel like family after the first day… it may be that we all share common values and a love for the outdoors, but I think it’s the community that AT builds that makes us feel this way. AT is so amazing—thank you!” – Hilary, student from Miami Beach, FL

“This year was a groundbreaking year for Asher. He made great friends, bonded with the entire group, and came back taller (figuratively and literally). He gained confidence in himself and his abilities. On top of all of that, AT kept him safe from both the coronavirus and his food allergies. What’s been most valuable is being disconnected from technology and out in nature with a really nice group of kids and instructors. It was Asher’s best sleepaway experience yet (and he’s done a lot). He loved it and can’t wait to go back!” – Heather Benn, parent from Greenwich, CT

“AT has taught me that I can come into any group of people and be myself and make my experience my own, and that I can make myself into a valuable member of the group. While the outdoor activities at AT are so fun, what’s really great about AT trips is the communities you build with your friends and instructors.” – Annie, student from Atlanta, GA

“Adventure Treks provides a fun, challenging and safe environment for our children to thrive in. Kaila made great friends, tried new things, enjoyed tech-free time, and had many adventures. Adventure Treks provides children with the capacity to interact with kids with like-minded ideas of outdoor fun. They are able to form quick friendships that last year-round and create a tight-knit community in a matter of days. The activities, interactions with instructors, and challenges are set up to be age-appropriate and fun. The tech-free environment allows everyone to focus on the here and now. The outdoor surroundings allow them to appreciate nature. The activities allow for challenges beyond their immediate comfort zone and pushes them to try new things. Kaila loved everyone she met. On the first call home, she immediately told us how she made friends, how nice everyone was, and how welcomed she felt. She is already speaking with everyone regularly via their group chats. The staff and communication are AMAZING! No question is too small or too big. Great understanding of what parents need to hear and super-fast communication overall. Thank you for keeping everyone safe and healthy during this challenging time and year!” – Tamar Brooks, parent from London, England

“Through my four AT trips, I’ve learned how to be a team player and work with my peers to accomplish challenges I never thought I could take on. AT is more than a teen camp; it’s a place where lifelong friendships are created. We’re a family here. I can’t imagine a summer without AT. As I grow older, the community here and the life lessons I’ve learned become more valuable. I couldn’t ask for a better home away from home. I feel accepted at AT, and I feel like I can be my true self. I hope to be an instructor one day!” – Megan, student from Franklin Lakes, NJ

Y’all killed it. Lee was game but dubious going in, motivated in no small part to keep up with his sister. His first night home, he spent about an hour and a half describing each and every day in detail, from first to last. As he got to the end, he observed through teary eyes, ‘I didn’t know I could form such strong relationships in such a short period of time.’ If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.” – Matt Bailey, parent from Greensboro, NC

“My experience at AT was pretty much perfect! I had so much fun, and everyone was accepting and nice to be with. My instructors were fantastic, and I loved every one of them. They always found ways for us to have fun and were easy to talk to. I learned a lot about the outdoors and how to be strong in tough times. I also learned how to communicate better and create good friends in just a short amount of time. I didn’t think this trip could be as good as last year, but it was just as good if not better!” – Virginia, student from Atlanta, GA

“Adventure Treks was an experience for our son beyond our wildest expectations. We sent a shy, introverted teenager, and he returned as an excited, almost giddy boy. He had so much to share about where he went, what he did and learned, and who he shared different experiences with. We are very impressed and can’t wait for him to return next year! His favorite part of the trip was the community for sure. He has never really felt ‘a part’ of a group and returned in a much different head space, talking all the time about who did this and who did that and was so excited to share everything with us. He was very nervous that he was going to starve cause he’s such a picky eater. The community opened his mind and he had a great experience with the food.” – Page Johnson, parent from Louisville, KY

“Adventure Treks has taught me the importance of staying positive even when things seem challenging. AT is so much fun and I definitely recommend it! I went into it feeling slightly nervous, but everyone is so nice, and the whole group becomes one big family by the end.” – Kaila, student from London, England

“Archie returned feeling calm, confident, capable, and centered. He can’t wait to go back ASAP! Adventure Treks was empowering yet supportive, a break from family, and a push out of his comfort zone. He described his community to me: ‘It was a great community and I still keep in touch with everyone. Everyone got along and supported each other.’ We are thrilled that this was a life-changing trip for Archie. He cannot wait to stay in touch and to sign up again!” – Jane Ellison, parent from Wilmington, NC

“My instructors made me so happy and were so helpful. They cared about us so much. I’ve learned that working together is a great skill. I’ve also learned to love the outdoors and try new things. Adventure Treks is a warm and welcoming place that lets every person be their true self and be part of an adventure that is full of smiles and laughter.” – Jessica, student from Cabin John, MD

“Talia had an incredible time on her second Adventure Treks trip! She loved every minute and formed an instant community with the kids on her trip and said they were open, loving, and very inclusive. She loved her instructors and instantly felt their chemistry. She challenged herself and brought back the tools she learned home with her. She is confident, smiling, and content…something so amazing to see in such crazy times. She is already talking about which trip to do next year! We know it was a Herculean task on your part, but I hope you know that when these kids look back at 2020… this will be what they remember.”  – Rachel Berger, parent from Cabin John, MD

“My experiences at AT have taught me that to judge something you have to try it first, and that you don’t have to live near each other or even be similar people to be amazing friends. Adventure Treks is a getaway from normal life, where you get to spend time outdoors and do so many things you’ve never tried before… and make lifelong friends!” – Phoebe, student from Katonah, NY

“Our son returned for his third year because Adventure Treks is thoughtful, supportive, positive, and fun! Daniel loves it so much. Every activity, every outing, EVERYTHING at AT has been carefully considered and is done for a reason. Making connections with other teenagers outside of school has been so valuable. AT gives him the chance to really connect with other kids in meaningful ways that he just doesn’t do at school. Also, the great relationships he gets to form with the instructors are also so important and valuable. He said, ‘We ALL got along well with each other—that’s so unusual for any group of teenagers, mom. There were no cliques, no sub-groups that only hung together.’ Lots of long talks, lots of singing, lots of inside jokes, etc. it was heaven for him. What a great gift you gave my kid. He’s about to embark on another year of distance learning (sigh! but necessary of course) so this trip will be a balm to his soul over the next year… so many fun memories and laughs to treasure. Thank you for all your hard work!” – Laura Miller, parent from Cabin John, MD

“Adventure Treks taught me how to include others and how to push through the hard stuff. I was surprised this year at how quickly I got to know everyone. It’s a judgment-free zone in which you can bond with strangers and enjoy the outdoors. The instructors are some of the best people… I really appreciate them! Everything this year was perfect!” – Hazel, student from Stevensville, MD

“I wanted to say how much Eli enjoyed his trip. The kid couldn’t have been happier and is still going on about what a great group of kids and instructors he had. We are very grateful AT came up with an alternative plan and he could have this much-needed experience this summer.  Thanks to everyone there for making it happen.” – Valerie Busch, parent from Charlotte, NC

“I wish the trip had been longer and that we’d had more time together! I felt like I had a really special bond with the instructors; each relationship was different but all were amazing. I like how easily everyone ‘clicked.’ Adventure Treks is super fun, and I’ve made so many lifelong friends. And it’s taught me so many things!” – Remi, student from Columbus, GA

“Summer looks forward to her Adventure Treks experience all year long. Despite the concerns about COVID, we trusted that the staff and other families were going to do the best job they could at keeping the kids safe and healthy. This year, our daughter had an incredible experience. The group hiked, road mountain bikes, canoed, kayaked, rock climbed, and camped. But what made her time at AT so special was the way she was able to connect with her instructors and the other kids on the trip. In a relatively short amount of time, she felt comfortable and confident to open up with her new friends like never before. Our daughter truly feels she has made lifelong friends with her AT group and can’t wait for next summer when she can join many of them again on another adventure.” – Laura Sklenicka, parent from Atlantic Beach, FL

“At Adventure Treks, you learn how to bond with a bunch of different types of people and how to volunteer. I love AT because you get so close with your community in such a short time! My trip was the best, and I don’t have any suggestions for improving it.” – Lulu, student from Huntersville, NC

“This year, more than ever, Simon needed to be away from the house, away from his parents, away from a screen and all the worries of the world, and immersed in fun activities with his peers. Thank you so much for giving him the opportunity to do that this summer! This is honestly the best thing that has happened and probably will happen for him in 2020. The trip was awesome. Simon can’t stop talking about all the funny things that happened on that trip and the wonderful community they formed together. He misses his AT friends and instructors very much… He said this summer was easily his favorite AT trip ever, and he said it’s because of the community they formed on this trip. He was able to just be himself and have a great time. And did y’all know that they stay in touch and are even continuing to do virtual evening meetings sometimes? And he has been sleeping in his sleeping bag on the floor of his bedroom to continue the AT feeling. Thank you for ALL OF THAT!!!! Amazing across the board. You all seriously are the best. We are always grateful for you—but even more so this year.” – Stacey Brees, parent from Atlanta, GA

AT gives you three weeks where you live in the woods with a ton of best friends and learn how to be “an amazing person. The AT instructors are always there for you; they’re amazing. This year was the best group I’ve ever had.” – Lexi, student from Mooresville, NC

“Lexi has grown so much from her three years at AT. Her confidence, her love of the outdoors, willingness to try new things… She has learned perseverance, to be an integral part of the community, to help and support others. She has made lifelong friends that she talks to throughout the year. She talks about camp all year. We love hearing the stories and knowing she loves it so much. I know AT is where she is meant to be because she starts counting down to next summer the day she gets home. We trusted the care and attention AT gave to all going on in the world and felt completely safe and grateful the Lexi was still able to go this year. The instructors are definitely who make the trip, besides the other students. Lexi loved her instructors this year and said they were the best of her three AT trips. Thank you for giving Lexi a great AT trip, especially in this time where things are so different for her. With changes because of COVID, you have probably made her whole year. You all are amazing and I thank you for bringing AT together for the kids, even if it was a little different this year.” – Susan Sanders, parent from Mooresville, NC

“Our instructors really cared about us and dedicated their summer to our health and safety. They were amazing people and inspirational to me. During my trip, I learned that I am capable of so much and that I can overcome my fears. AT is a safe, tranquil place dedicated to helping teenagers find their true selves.” – Nina, student from Middletown, NJ

“Lu had absolutely loved Camp Pinnacle, and going to AT was the natural next step for her. Her sisters had been on AT trips before, and their experiences were very positive… and Lu’s experience this summer could not have been any better. She described her AT community as safe and full of people she wants to be like because of their positive attitudes as well as their love of the outdoors. She described her instructors as genuinely interested in each and every student, and each had the unique ability to make everyone feel comfortable in any situation in their own special way. We were so thrilled y’all could pull it off during this pandemic. The experience most valuable for Lu was that she could enter a group of kids that knew one another and within seconds seamlessly felt a part of the group. She has a strong friend group at home but never has she felt so open to just be herself. Realizing that she can do that and how it feels to actually do that is something we feel is so valuable. Learning to appreciate things in each individual that you would otherwise look through or over in a normal setting is something that we know she will take with her. The community couldn’t have been any stronger. She described each child in detail with a huge smile on her face. As I mentioned above, the words “safe” and “people I want to be like” spoke volumes about how she felt while with all of these kids and instructors. I would just like to say thank you to all of the instructors for making the 3 weeks more amazing than anything Lu could’ve ever imagined. They made their way into her heart and won’t be forgotten. I must say how truly shocked I am that these trips were able to take place—y’all are just amazing. I know you had to compile what usually takes months and months of work into a very short period of time and you didn’t miss a beat. While the trips across the country provide an additional element of independence due to flying and being far from home for many kids, I think the lesson of who you are with is now tightly engrained. An AT community is like none other these teenagers get to experience and it ends up being the one of most powerful and healthy ones in their lives. The overall AT experience is top notch.” – Katie Scruggs, parent from Huntersville, NC

“AT is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The places you go are breathtaking, but the community is really what makes it worthwhile.” – Ella, student from Greensboro, NC

“Jack was signed up for Ultimate Northwest and was excited to see that part of the country, but when the trip changed because of COVID-19, he still wanted to go to North Carolina because he knows how awesome an AT summer is! This summer, in particular, we were grateful for this opportunity for him to have the AT experience and leave behind the troubles in our world. Jack’s AT experience has been truly amazing. He has made great friends from all over the country, both other students and his instructors, and has explored unique terrain with incredible activities. The communication and level of detail from AT staff is the best of any program that I have worked with. We are so grateful for the AT community and know that Jack has made lifelong memories and friends from these adventures.” – Emilie Samet, parent from Greensboro, NC

Again, we must give much of the credit for pulling off Adventure Treks in 2020 to our parents and students and the many more people who supported us in this endeavor.

And now enrollment is open for 2021! We’re thrilled to report that since opening 2021 registration only three weeks ago, we’re already about 40 percent ahead compared to a typical year.

Ready to enroll? We’d be thrilled to get to know your family in this upcoming year. Click below to start your online application, or call us at 888-954-5555 anytime with questions!

2021 schedule

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