Adventure Treks’ Approach to Coronavirus

May 20, 2020

Thank you again for your patience, grace, and words of support, all of which have meant so much through many long days and sleepless nights. It is with a sincere sense of responsibility and strong desire to create a memorable experience for teenagers that we humbly announce our plans to operate Adventure Treks this summer with a limited and modified schedule, reduced capacity, and significant changes to our daily operations.

News and updates about summer

The heartbreaking news: We won’t be able to operate any of our trips out west this summer. Simply put, the logistical and potential quarantine challenges remain too great should something go wrong.

This pains us to say this more than you know; our first-ever trip was in the Pacific Northwest, and the American West holds an incredibly special place in our hearts.

We know how important Adventure Treks is to so many of you, and we can’t imagine a summer without AT. So now on to the good news: Using the guidelines from the American Camp Association and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, we will be able to operate on a much smaller scale from our 12-acre basecamp in western North Carolina. Many of our systems and procedures will be enhanced, but we believe outdoor wilderness programs, with smaller groups and careful screening, will be safer than most other alternatives for teenagers this summer. We will open in partnership with the Henderson County Health Department and the support of our local government.

However, the happy announcement comes with more hard news: This summer, we can only operate at about 35 percent of normal capacity. Based on current NCDHHS guidelines for operating in North Carolina, we must limit Adventure Treks participation to students who can drive to our Hendersonville, NC, basecamp.

We know this will come as a huge disappointment to many students, including our international community, and we’re so sorry that we won’t be able to meet every enrolled student who was so looking forward to their Adventure Treks trip. But being able to serve at least some of our families feels better than letting everyone down.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are an incredible place for summer adventure where outdoor recreation opportunities are endless. We will serve our oldest students first, who have fewer opportunities to return to AT, though we have also created opportunities for younger students. Returning families will be given priority, and we do not anticipate being able to take students who are not currently enrolled. Knowing how important friends and community are, we will do our best to keep trip groups like Leadership Summit, Alaska, and other older trips together.

We know opening Adventure Treks brings risks and uncertainty that cannot be eliminated even with the best intention and preparation. Now that we have made our decision, your decision whether to send your child should only be made after careful thought and consideration of your family’s individual situation and definition of reasonable risk.

If you won’t be able to join us this summer, we hope you will consider moving your tuition forward so you can experience Adventure Treks next year. Not only will you lock in 2020 prices and receive priority enrollment when we open the 2021 season, but your generosity and commitment would also keep Adventure Treks alive. We know many of you have unforeseen financial struggles, and we are happy to offer you a refund if you’re unable to move tuition forward

This is a bittersweet announcement. We’re happy because we still have options for many of you, and operating out of our NC basecamp means that our directors will get to know our students better than ever. But we’re also heartbroken because we won’t be able to give all of our students the incredible trip we were so excited to provide.

What do families need to do?

What do currently enrolled families need to do?

All families currently enrolled received an email on May 20 outlining next steps regarding re-enrollment; transferring tuition to 2021; and refund and donation options. 

  • Thursday, May 21: Returning families with currently enrolled students can re-enroll via the “2020 Options” form in CampInTouch (under Forms and Documents).
  • Tuesday, May 26: New families with currently enrolled students can re-enroll via the “2020 Options” form in CampInTouch.
  • Monday, June 1: Returning and new families with students who are NOT currently enrolled may be considered for remaining spaces on Blue Ridge trips.

What about new families?

New families not currently enrolled at Adventure Treks can begin submitting applications on Monday, June 1, for any remaining spaces.

2020 and 2021 cancellation policies
Transfer tuition to 2021

If you will not be able to join an Adventure Treks Blue Ridge trip this year, we hope you can commit to next summer. Please know that if you transfer your tuition now, you will be able to request a full refund until January 1, 2021, if you are unable to make a trip happen in 2021. All families pushing their full tuition and deposits forward to 2021 will receive a full week of priority enrollment before registration opens to new students.

  • Full tuition transfer: For families who have paid in full, you will lock in the 2020 tuition rates for 2021 if you transfer your full tuition payment. You will also be able to transfer any early enrollment discounts you received for 2020.
  • Deposit transfer: For families who have paid their $800 deposit, you will receive $100 off 2021 tuition if you transfer your full deposit payment. (This $100 discount cannot be combined with any other early enrollment discounts.)

If you’d like to push tuition forward but can only push a partial amount to 2021, please call us and we’ll be happy to discuss options. The money you are able to roll up is based on the money you have currently paid toward tuition for the 2020 season. If you received a scholarship or have not paid the full tuition amount for this season, you are only rolling up the money that you have currently paid.

Request a refund

We are committed to giving you the option of a full refund, especially as many of us find ourselves in new and difficult financial situations.

We appreciate your understanding that cancelling our trips was unpredictable and out of our control. Cancelling all of our trips this summer puts Adventure Treks in an extremely challenging financial position. We take in 95 percent of our income over two summer months, which we must use to cover our myriad operating costs and year-round salaries. Preparing for summer is expensive, and we have already used many of this summer’s financial resources with the assumption that we would be running this year at full capacity.

We humbly ask that you consider moving your tuition or deposit forward for 2021, if your family is able. Choosing to do so will help cover our current operating costs, support our year-round employees, and help ensure that Adventure Treks can continue operating in 2021 and beyond. That being said, we know many people are struggling with financial challenges, and we will support whatever decision you choose.

Please understand that this is an extremely busy time with the unprecedented challenge of operating and adapting in the world of COVID-19. We will begin processing refunds in June but may not finish until August; the entire process will take time as we go through each student’s record one by one. We will move through all of the requests as quickly as we can, and thank you in advance for your patience.

Re-enrolling on a Blue Ridge trip for 2020

For 2020: If you are enrolling on a Blue Ridge trip and are confirmed a space, all payments are non-refundable after Monday, May 25. If you are currently enrolled on a cancelled trip and are unable to enroll on a Blue Ridge trip due to unavailability, you will be able to transfer tuition forward to 2021 or request a refund.

For 2021: All payments are refundable prior to January 1, 2021, with no cancellation fee. From January 2 to March 1, your deposit is non-refundable. For cancellations after March 1, payments are nonrefundable, though you may transfer your tuition forward to the following year, minus the $1,000 deposit.

We know we’ve asked so much of you already, but please bear with us as this new summer 2020 plan will require a lot of time and work on the administrative end. We may not be able to answer phone calls and emails right away, but know that we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Your words of encouragement and support have fortified us in the past few challenging months. We are so grateful that you’re all a part of the amazing and uplifting Adventure Treks community.

Thank you for everything.

Trip and travel insurance

As you consider travel insurance, make sure you read through the fine print carefully. Insurance typically will not cover cancellation due to “fear of travel”; essentially, they won’t reimburse you if you’re worried about how COVID-19 may impact your student’s travel plans. If you purchased the “cancel for any reason” rider, call your insurance company to see if “fear of travel” is covered.

Some companies do not have exclusions regarding epidemics or pandemics, meaning you may make claims including emergency medical or trip interruption if your child contracts COVID-19 or goes under quarantine while traveling.

Read through your insurance (or credit card) company’s FAQs regarding COVID-19, or call them directly to get all of your questions answered.