2019 Parent Testimonials

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As a parent, I was worried that my child wasn’t up for some of the challenges on the Yellowstone trip, but he rose to the occasion and loved every minute of it. He made new friends and plans to do another trip with some of the same friends. It’s amazing to see what our children can do and accomplish when we set them free in a safe but challenging environment. Being disconnected from technology allowed our child to discover new friendships. At the halfway mark when I received a phone call from him, I asked what he liked most about the trip. His response: “When you’re with this group of kids it’s an equal playing field. No one cares about whether you’re popular or not or where you came from—they just want to get to know you for who you are.” Very profound for a 14-year-old! Thank you for giving the kids amazing guidance and looking out for their safety while also making even the tough moments laughable moments. Keep up the great attitude and keep making them laugh! – Renee Hughes, first-year parent from Fairfield, CT

The experiences and life lessons that Emily receives from Adventure Treks far exceed anything that she learns in a traditional classroom. The benefits of being physically and mentally challenged in an outdoor, unplugged environment are beyond measure. We know that she will carry those experiences and lessons with her into adulthood. We believe that the greater life lessons of grit and perseverance and the experience of living and learning within a group community are the most valuable takeaways for Emily. This year was physically and mentally challenging. She has said repeatedly since she came home, “I am so proud of myself. I feel strong and confident.” How often do adolescent girls actually say that? What a gift! Emily has expressed multiple times that this year’s group of kids and instructors was the best ever. She feels very connected to this group and grateful for their shared experiences. – Katie Davidoff, third-year parent from Steamboat Springs, CO

Our son’s Adventure Treks experience was truly the embodiment of “we sent you a boy and you returned us a man.” He has found himself, understands his community, and places himself on a life path, all of which are because of the self-awareness and self-confidence he gained at AT. What’s been most valuable is his learning about himself, through thoughtful instructor feedback, group meetings, hat ceremonies, etc. – Dena Schoenfeld, fourth-year parent from Potomac, MD

Adventure Treks is something that Simon looks forward to year after year. Even after five years at Camp Pinnacle and then two years at AT, it is fresh and new to him each time, and he can’t wait to go back. He loves meeting new friends and challenging himself in the outdoors while seeing amazing scenery. As his parents, we value his comfort at leaving home and the skills he practices every summer. The experience of quickly getting to know a group of people and be effective with them in a specific activity is something that will help him during the school year. It sounded like the kids developed some great relationships really quickly. He described a spontaneous group hug on the last day that sounded amazing. These kids are TEENAGERS and yet they demonstrated affection for others… Big kudos to the instructors and the program for creating this kind of environment. You guys keep taking it up a notch every year. It’s a no-brainer for us: Simon will keep coming back until you kick him out! – Stacy Brees, second-year parent from Atlanta, GA

Adventure Treks was an amazing experience for our son. He isn’t necessarily an outdoor hiking and camping person, but this trip gave him the opportunity to experience something new and exciting in the best possible scenario. The trip was exactly what we were looking for, and AT is very thorough and buttoned up. My son is still beaming from him trip; he is very pleased and proud of himself. – Alyssa Weisler, first-year parent from Wyckoff, NJ

Ava Rose formed strong friendships in a short period of time. She challenged herself like never before, and she realized she can accomplish tasks she previously thought were daunting. The camaraderie of the trip was the highlight for her; she really made strong connections. – Brooks Rathet, first-year parent from Atlantic Beach, FL

Adventure Treks is amazing! My son loved the entire experience and can’t wait to go again. The program is extremely well-run. For parents, the office staff made the whole process a pleasure. Every interaction I had with them was superb! For the kids, it was the trip of a lifetime. – Heather Schwartz, first-year parent from Horsham, PA

AT fosters kids’ resilience, self-confidence, social skills, flexibility, and humility. During the school year, Caroline is the type of kid who has a full schedule from morning to night. Her AT experiences give her the opportunity to get away from all of that and to appreciate some of the more basic things in life. She loved her whole trip; her least favorite part was coming home. – Suzanne Baillie, second-year parent from New York, NY

This was our family’s third trip with Adventure Treks. The time away from the norm is life-changing. AT promotes independence that he will carry with him forever. We love everything about them; this time I was especially thankful for the assistance with the airline. My son’s flight was delayed, and he missed his connection. The staff did all of the leg work to make sure he was on another flight. Thank you! – Kelly Magistrelli, third-year parent from Moorestown, NJ

Beyond the first-day butterflies, Owen loved every minute of his trip. It wasn’t just fun for him to be in the outdoors with a warm, playful, safe community, but it came as a relief. Free from the constant pull of the internet and usual social tribulations that come with the age, he could just be a kid. About his peers, he said “They were so so so so nice.” – Kate Lilienthal, third-year parent from Singapore

Adventure Treks is SO WORTH IT! I was very nervous—not only is this an investment, but I also wanted my daughter to love the outdoors like I do! And with teenagers you only get one shot. She was nervous she would be bored and homesick and (secretly it was a concern for me, too), but after reading other parents’ reviews and speaking with Amanda and a former instructor, we took a leap. What’s been most valuable so far is her gaining confidence and independence. I believe the ability to get on a plane by herself, leaving her tight circle of friends and electronics, and challenge herself physically and socially proved to herself she can do anything! This trip fostered a budding independence that I think so many teenagers struggle with. With the nurturing guidance of her instructors she learned she can rely on herself. That lesson is priceless. She said it was one of the best things she has ever done and is already planning next year’s trip! – Natalie Partin, first-year parent from Cincinnati, OH

Adventure Treks allows students to push themselves beyond the everyday comfort zone. I’ve been impressed with the intentional community-building and how the experienced, engaging instructors create an environment for growth and development. We love the growth and sense of accomplishment our daughter gains on each trip. – Abby Pensky, sixth-year parent from Knoxville, TN

Grace respected and loved the trip leader and each instructor! It’s apparent that AT spends extensive time interviewing and training their instructors, which is a HUGE benefit to the staff team as well as the students. With strong instructors come strong AT communities. Grace came home excited to share her adventures with us and how she appreciated the opportunity to grow herself and grow together as a community. She gained “real life” problem-solving skills and growth. We love that Grace uses the phrase “type two fun” and how this new phrase can help put perspective, planning, and goal-setting into action in everyday life. It’s so valuable for my child how AT cultivates a community where communication is key in every aspect of the trip. I am so very thankful to each and everyone of you! Thank you for “growing” Grace and appreciating her! Grace thinks each of you are amazing and awesome humans! – Kristin Barrett, first-year parent from Tampa, FL

Adventure Treks is good blend of challenge, moving out of your comfort zone, and providing nurturing support. My son had an adventure he will always remember and take pride in. I love how he discovered he can rise to the challenge and being able to appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings on a deeper personal level. – Cheryl Bader, first-year parent from Stamford, CT

The Colorado trip pushed Evan physically and emotionally to try new activities, and he gained confidence in participating successfully while also having loads of laughs! He now has an open mind to new adventures and wants to challenge himself further. He really loved the whitewater rafting and instructors, and he was taken with the beauty of Colorado—he looks forward to another trip! Also, he is a very picky eater, but he said the food was so much better than he expected. Thank you! – Nina Price, first-year parent from Potomac, MD

My daughter loved AT, and I loved how positive everything was. She made close new friends, had many fun stories from her adventure, and gained confidence; plus, she came back with a different outlook.. She plans on going on a different AT trip next year. She seemed to connect with everyone on the trip. Since Alaska ended, she connects with many of the other students daily. – Cassandra Barok, first-year parent from Powell, OH

Tyler loved the California Challenge trip! I am not sure I can point to only one valuable thing at this point. After years of Camp Pinnacle and now three summers of Adventure Treks, I think it is the overall culture that has kept him coming back each summer. He is already planning to join Alaska next summer! – Marni Eisner, third-year parent from Winston-Salem, NC

Adventure Treks is a great way to expand your child’s horizons, whether by developing a love for the outdoors, gaining self-confidence to push himself and try new things, or becoming part of a community that requires everyone to do their part while having a lot of fun. Oh, and students also realize they can be electronics-free for multiple weeks and still have an amazing time! My son really liked his group of peers and enjoyed meeting kids from other parts of the country. – Valerie Busch, first-year parent from Charlotte, NC

AT allows Ralston the opportunity to have a fresh perspective and persona. We (and he) learned that he is pretty funny and very strong. These trips build his confidence and expose him to friendships from around the globe and landscapes that he might not otherwise visit. – Carissa Graves, second-year parent from Baton Rouge, LA

AT trips are incredibly well-run by the office staff and instructors. The teens are highly motivated. The backpacks were strenuous but highly rewarding. Jacob returned from Leadership Summit energized, inspired, and happy! This trip was a great opportunity to begin to take ownership of some of the skills learned on past trips. The instructors have absolutely made the trips. On more than one occasion, Jacob’s instructors over the years have had to deal with difficult situations, and their maturity and expertise shone through. Under normal circumstances, the instructors were fun, kind, knowledgeable, and inspiring mentors and teachers. Our son has loved his Adventure Treks trips, and he’s gained a lot of confidence from them over the years. – Becky Brenner, fourth-year parent from Reisterstown, MD

California Challenge exceeded ours and our son’s expectations. George loved every aspect of this trip, especially the first backpack and its spectacular views and opportunity for long conversations and getting the pulse of the group. We have seen such growth and confidence and increased love of the outdoors in both our sons as a result of their wonderful experiences at Adventure Treks. The sense of community, shared responsibilities, and camaraderie… We’ve never had a moment’s worry or lost a night of sleep while our kids have been at Camp Pinnacle or Adventure Treks. We can’t thank you enough for your efforts, at all levels. From the logistics/planning/support team headquartered in NC to trip leaders, everything is seamless; we appreciate it! – Suzanne Seger, fourth-year parent from Lovettsville, VA

Rachel had an amazing summer adventure and experience. She came back full of stories and with a new sense of accomplishment, love of the outdoors, and many new friendships. From a parent perspective, I was very happy with the communication before/during/after the trip, from phone discussions and written information to pictures and blog posts during the trip. Communication was always so well- written and very well thought-out. Adventure Treks is a really well-run company, and I was very impressed. – Tamar Brooks, first-year parent from London, England

Adventure Treks builds confidence and interpersonal and leadership skills; it provides adventure and wilderness experience while at the same time emphasizing and teaching safety. Instructors push students beyond their comfort zones to experience all that nature can offer and help create strong, lifelong connections. The collaboration, planning, social awareness, and increased confidence have helped prepare my son for life after high school. Thank you for another amazing adventure! – Kim Troyer, fourth-year parent from Tampa, FL

From my initial inquiry to Hilary landing back home, Adventure Treks took amazing care of her (and me!). Every direct communication was nurturing, put my mind at ease, and helped me prepare her for a successful adventure; plus, every communication made my eyes fill with tears of gratitude at what an incredible adventure she was embarking upon. The purposefulness of everything done at AT is inspiring, nurturing, and full of acquisition of knowledge and skill. From the main office professionals to the trip leaders, from the video Q&A to the post-outing blog posts, I could tell that everything AT did to give my child this personal challenge growth opportunity was full of deeply developed intention and purpose. I am grateful for and in awe of the level of professionalism given to Hilary and our family to accomplish this great life adventure. – Nikki, first-year family

Adventure Treks was the best program we have done. It was nice for Ingrid to do an outdoor adventure that was challenging, but the focus was more about the group than the individual. Unlike other programs she has done, she was “off the grid” but was still able to check in with us periodically. I have heard nothing but great things about the instructors, and she loved the camaraderie and leadership opportunities. From the first phone call from the instructors to the follow-up phone call from the office, it was just perfect. Everything made my husband and me feel so comfortable that our daughter was in safe hands. Thank you. – Amy Johnson, first-year parent from Atlanta, GA

You can trust that Adventure Treks focuses on teaching safety first and has your child’s best interest at heart! My son has gone to Adventure Treks for four years in a row, each time returning with more confidence and sense of well-being than the year before. He loves everything about it: the instructors, the community, the adventures, the food, and even the lack of technology! Even after 30 days in a tent, he was not ready for Alaska to end. Adventure Treks has inspired him in so many ways; he often references how his experiences there have helped him become who he is, and who he wants to become. He is already looking into college majors and jobs that will continue his love of the outdoors. Our family is not made of money, and the price tag was our biggest hurdle, but, four trips later, I can tell you that it has been worth every penny. – Diane Parana, fourth-year parent from Berlin, MD

Adventure Treks is an amazing camp for youth to enjoy a supportive community outdoors and without electronics. Having the supportive instructors be there to guide Paikea through building her confidence and conquering fears was huge both years she has been to Adventure Treks. She had so much fun and really enjoyed both her peers and instructors. She is still in contact with them and misses that community very much. Everyone there is so kind (always) and communicative. It is always a pleasure to talk to anyone in the office. I really appreciate their patience and willingness to listen, especially when I know they have so much work to do and I am only one parent amongst so many that they have to talk to. Thank you! – Sarah Nelson, second-year parent from Alameda, CA

Jess had another great trip with Adventure Treks. This is her second year, and despite some hiccups with her health, she was so excited to tell us all about her trip and the friends she made. She is already looking forward to next summer. As a parent, what’s been most valuable is broadening her outdoor/wilderness experiences and travelling to new places; fostering her independence and responsibility; and forming new relationships with other kids from around the country with different backgrounds and experiences. – Joanna King, second-year parent from Barrington, RI

Our son talked nonstop about how beautiful the scenery on his trip was. We think that appreciating nature is grounding for any child, and we were very pleased with his enthusiasm for all that he saw. The instructors were top-notch, positive, enthusiastic, and made the entire trip fun, which we so appreciate because it must have been an exhausting job. Bravo to them for exceeding expectations on all levels and giving Aiden such a memorable experience.I did not personally meet any instructors but he loved them all, and I have faith that they were excellent role models for him. He made friends from all over and would like to keep in touch with them. – Heidi Toole, first-year parent from Japan

Wow—Eitan came home a stronger, more confident, more mature version of himself. He was proud of his accomplishments, and he appreciated being in nature and challenging himself to reach a goal. He is more understanding now of how much accomplishing things is planning and mental focus; this is something that will make him more successful in high school and life. – Marilyn Hirsch, first-year parent from Highland Park, IL

AT was amazing. The growth and maturity we have seen since MC came home has been incredible; two days after coming home, we found her making scrambled eggs and French toast for breakfast—and she had been scared to use our gas stove before she left for AT. She is motivated and focused in a way we haven’t seen before, but the biggest change has been in her willingness to take (reasonable) risks and try new things. She says “yes” to things that she would have never considered before, and she is more engaged with her family and friends. What’s been the most valuable is the opportunity to rise to the challenge of all the unknown elements: being away from family with people she had never met before, not having the safety net of being able to say no or withdraw from an activity that was intimidating, and the sense of accomplishment she has gained from pushing through is awesome to see. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her as happy as when I met her at the end of her AT trip; she raves about everyone on her trip, and she said the community was one of her favorite things about the whole adventure. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for more. – Kelley Keats, first-year parent from Durham, NC