I’m confused; I’ve heard that these trips cost money but now you're saying they’re free. What's going on?

Due to the generosity of the Board of Trustees (love ’em), all orientation trips are now free to students. There may still be some corners of the internet where you can find talk of Financial Aid, waitlists and the word ‘optional.’ These no longer apply. All students will now choose a trip, and those trips will be free. Hurrah!

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 Tuesday when you arrive and you’ll stay there for the first 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. 

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.

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. There are no lions, fewer spiders than live in your house but, we suspect, more live bears. Did you know that there has NEVER been an unprovoked bear attack in the Adirondacks since anyone started counting, and the four that have happened have been on people foolish enough to be deliberately feeding a bear? You'll be fine.

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! 

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.


Andrew Jillings

Director of Outdoor Leadership

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