What should I pack?
Students participating in one of our backpacking trips will receive a Pre-trip Planning Packet, which will include a packing list. While we will provide packs, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, and camp kitchen gear, each student will need to invest in items such as hiking boots, rain gear, and warm layers.
Students in our Hiking Camps will need to bring a water bottle and wear tennis shoes.
Will it really be safe?
Our courses are not risk free. The same elements that contribute to the unique character and challenge of these experiences come with risks. But be assured! AGO takes every precaution to ensure every student's safety and well-being. We not only travel with an EpiPen and a Satellite Communicator with Maps, our lead instructors are all certified Wilderness First Responders. This is the industry standard for professional guides and means they are specifically trained to respond to emergency situations in remote locations.
Can I contact my student while they are on their trip?
Students on hiking camps may bring cell phones but will be limited in their use. However, students are not allowed to carry cell phones on AGO backpacking trips. Part of experiencing the wilderness is temporarily setting aside any and all distractions, including technology. At the end of each day, communication is sent from AGO to parents with trip updates. While guardians will not be able to be in contact with their students while they are on their course, they will be given a trip itinerary. Furthermore, if an emergency incident involving a student occurs, their guardian will be contacted as soon as possible by AGO administrative staff.
AGO welcomes and respects people of all backgrounds and beliefs, just as they are. When it comes to folks who are LGBTQ+, AGO affirms and celebrates them in all walks of life and welcomes them as students and instructors.
What do you believe?
AGO believes in creating a safe space for kids to be open with adults and with their peers about whatever they may be going through or thinking about. This allows us to walk with them as they discern their path, instead of telling them what to do or believe. This also allows kids to recognize that their growing worldview isn’t about us and about what we want. On these trips, students commonly share very deep and often challenging things to both instructors and their peers. In order to best serve our students each instructor goes through the Youth Mental Health First Aid training at the beginning of each season, which further allows our staff to look for various warning signs of mental health challenges, and gives them the the tools necessary to connect them with supportive services after the trip is done.
In our Hiking, Climbing, and Intro to Backpacking Camps, we don’t initiate conversations about faith. Though this is the case, kids often ask questions and bring up profound topics. We have found that kids have spiritual conversations when they are ready, and we never prosthelytize, but encourage them to articulate what they believe about any topic.
On our longer Backpacking Courses, spiritual formation is a core pillar of our curriculum. All participants, including instructors and adult chaperones, have the opportunity to share their life story. Often, this includes some discussion of religion or faith. Our instructors cultivate a space where story telling and listening are practiced and community is formed.
Are there opportunities for financial aid?
There are a number of opportunities AGO offers for financial aid. If you are interested in applying for financial aid, contact us here to request a financial aid application.
What does my course tuition cover?
AGO sets itself apart from other outdoor companies in that we financially invest in our guides. This means that we value them not only by helping them pay for training that will serve them beyond their time with AGO, but also by paying them a competitive wage exceeding industry standards. Part of course tuition goes to pay for these well-trained guides, as well as for transportation to and from trailheads, food, equipment, use permits, and administrative fees.
I want to bring a group of people on a trip!
Of course! We love guiding groups that come together. Whether you are a youth group, a school group, or a bunch of friends who want to adventure together, we will do our best to accommodate you.
What about food?
All AGO meals are vegan. This is a part of our commitment to financial, environmental, and spiritual stewardship. We are happy to accommodate any allergies; just let us know what they are in your application. Students may bring extra snacks, just know it adds extra weight to your pack!
I'm flying in from out of state. How do I get to basecamp?
Out of state students may fly into Salt Lake City International Airport, where AGO can arrange to pick them up and transport them to Base Camp. AGO can also provide transportation back to the airport after courses have been completed.