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Outdoor Leadership Program

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315-859-4079 (fax)

Adirondack Adventure

Frequently Asked Questions

What's an average day like?

We thought you'd ask that, so we wrote this little piece.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

Our budget is separate from the Financial Aid Office's, so we can make up our own rules and skip the formalities. We work on the honor system; if you need it, take it. If you don't, then don't. As a guide, in the past, people who have been given a 50% discount on the college's tuition have paid us around the full amount, and those who received more from Hamilton have paid us less or nothing. Bottom line: we want you to participate and we don't want money to get in the way of that.

When you register and come to the check-out page, simply click the 'Financial Aid' box and enter how much you need. If you need the full amount it will not ask you for a credit card number. (You still need to check the box that says that your billing address is the same as your home address)

Camping just isn't something we do back home - why should I do it here?

Not everyone comes from a culture where camping in the woods is normal, we know. Even though this might be a new experience for you and you don't intuitively see the benefits, we strongly encourage you to try this program. Don't think of it as living in a tent, think of it as a chance to make great friends ahead of starting college. Even if this is entirely foreign to you, we know you won't regret it. New challenges are what college is all about, right?


Can I put my stuff in my room before I go on my trip?

Absolutely. You can move your stuff into your room on Friday when you arrive and you'll stay there for the first two nights and the last night of AA. You won't have time to completely set up all your stuff, but there's plenty of time for that the day after AA is over. Want a closer look at the schedule?

Do my parents have to come back for the beginning of Orientation, after AA?

While it's up to your parents, they don't really need to. The orientation is the same, you've moved in to your room and have lots of lovely friends now, so perhaps it's time for them to let go...

My parents want to come a day early. Can I move into my room then?

Sorry, no. Rooms are used for summer programs and may not have been prepared for you by then. If you're flying in from Nepal or Scotland, then we may make an exception, but not New Jersey. We have to be strict on this.

Is the Parent Orientation the same at the beginning of AA as it is a week later at the start of 'regular' orientation?

Yes, there will be a full orientation meeting for parents, hosted by the President, Dean of Students, Director of Counselling and representatives from the faculty. There will also be a welcome and reception with the President.

I've never camped out in the woods before. Are there lions and spiders and bears (oh, my!)?

Lots of people go on AA who have never done this kind of stuff before (about 25% of participants, in fact, and most of the rest haven't done much more). There are experienced leaders and probably some others in your group who will be happy to show you how to do things. Most of the trips are designed with beginners in mind. (More information on the Adirondack region). There are no lions, less spiders than live in your house but, we suspect, more live bears. Did you know that there has NEVER been anyone attacked by a bear in the Adirondacks since anyone started counting, and the only ones have been on people foolish enough to be deliberately feeding a bear? You'll be fine.

I've heard that AA is really popular? What's up with this deadline and lottery thing?

AA is, in fact, really popular, but we've worked hard over the last few years to add more trips so that everyone can go. If you get your registration in before the deadline, you stand a very, very good chance of going on a trip. We DO NOT work on a first-come first-serve basis, as this discriminates against international students, people who live away from where we send mail (boarding school, two households, etc.) and those accepted later than others.

I hear you have to poop in a hole?

Highly unlikely as most campsites have outhouses. However, if outhouses are not available on your trip we guarantee toilet paper and a safe, private space to take care of your business. You should come prepared to dig a hole and poop in it because there is a slim chance you might have to. We're committed to low impact use of the environment and practice "Leave No Trace" camping skills. Don't worry, we'll teach you! (More information on Leave No Trace camping).

When does Adirondack Adventure take place and how much does it cost?

You need to be here between 9am and 3pm on Friday 16 August. The program ends on Friday 23 August, which is the day before regular orientation begins. The cost is $500, which includes food, group equipment, transport, an organic cotton T-shirt, and one year's membership to the Hamilton Outing Club. Financial Aid is available.

What's the food like?

Yum! Typical food while out on your trip will be oatmeal, bagels or cereal for breakfast; and bagels, cheese, PB&J, GORP (trail mix) and fruit for lunch. Dinners are usually of the one- or two-pot variety: pasta and sauce, burritos, etc. We always bring plenty. Of course, there's always the infamous no-bake cheesecake to follow, and some trips have their own tradition of other remarkable desserts. Plus there's hot chocolate, cupasoup or some other hot concoction to get you going. (Did we mention marshmallows? You never know!) . We regularly make accommodation for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, Crohn's disease sufferers, as well as those who observe Kosher and Halal practices. All we ask is a few weeks notice to set things up.

I'm ready to register NOW! Where do I sign up?

OK, cool your jets, we have to let everyone have a fair shot, so there will be a bit of a delay until everyone's deposited. Registration opens when you get your packet from the Dean of Students, usually in mid-May. In it you'll find your username and password which allows you take the online tour. Our registration page is linked from the online tour.