Safety and Expectations

Photo of students canoeing in the Adirondacks.SAFETY AND WELL-BEING

 
Student safety is always our highest priority.  Our staff has a combination of over 30 years of experience guiding groups of young people in the wilderness with no serious injuries. That being said, you should know that living, working and playing in the wilderness will come at the cost of some scrapes and bruises; sore, wet feet, cold, rainy nights, and a fair share of biting insects. Encounters with wild animals will occur… in fact, that is our hope… at least from a safe distance.  There are some simple routine measures that we will take -- both in camp and on the trail -- to ensure these encounters are enlightening and inspiring, but never threatening...  (to us or the animals!)
 
As much as possible, we will plan our menus and prepare our food using fresh, local ingredients.  We are committed to reducing our collective impact so meat will not be a daily feature of our menus.  When we do serve a meat dish, we will strive to use only local, family farm-raised animals.  Vegan and vegetarian options will always be available. 
 
Any student with special dietary restrictions must let us know well in advance and help us plan a menu that can accommodate this.  Allergies should be noted before arrival.
 

GROUP NORMS AND EXPECTATIONS

Every student accepted into the program must be willing to follow group safety agreements and to respond immediately to staff directions in the field.  Our staff is well trained in risk management and may see a potential hazard long before the group does and we will need to be able to trust the group to act accordingly.
 
Obviously, no tobacco, vaping, alcohol or drugs will be tolerated.
 
Plan to take a break from social media, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and video games.  Students will need their phones and Chromebooks/laptops for research, photographs and communication home… but definitely leave headphones, earbuds, and AirBuds behind.  We need you to be immersed in the real world, not the electronic one.  Again, we expect students to honor these agreements: we do not expect to have to police this policy.
 
The culture in the group will be honest, open and tolerant.  Relentless teasing, criticizing, negative judgment, or thoughtless bias will have no place in our semester.  Everyone is welcome:  all colors, cultures, genders, identities, and orientations…. (except those that demean or devalue others)  As in nature: diversity equals strength.
 
We reserve the right to dismiss any student that repeatedly violates these expectations or, in any way, jeopardizes the well being of the group or individuals in the group.  Students dismissed for these violations will have no claim for repayment of tuition.
 
A Special Note to Parents:
This course will ask a lot from your child.  Your support for their hard work will be critical.  However, their success will be driven more by their own commitment to the project than by someone urging them to join.  Please make sure the final decision to engage in the course comes from the student.