teen adventure programs since 1973

Quotes From Students

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Quotes From Students

In September of 1973, we received our first parent testimonial. Since then, we've enjoyed receiving thousands of letters from both parents and young people who have benefited from our summer offerings. We are delighted to share with you many of their comments.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to experience the summer of a lifetime. Never having been to Wyoming, this trip gave me a chance to make wonderful friends and view scenery people wish they could see. Me experience gave me a sense of responsibility for myself and other campers in my group. I am recommending it for everyone.

 Missy Moore - Dunwoody , GA


I now feel as if I can do anything I decide to do and I feel better about myself. I also found that it is fun to sometimes be by oneself – hiking or just sitting and thinking. I didn’t know anyone at the beginning of the trip but, by the end of July, I felt as though I had known some people for years.

 Jessica Christie - Bala Cynwyd, PA


I have lived in the valley all my life, realizing the mountains but never approaching them. After much hard work I found myself on top of a mountain. I loosened my burden, raised my hands above my head and shouted “Look at me, I am wonderful, I have reached the top.” But the hills echoed emptiness. So I walked back down, faced gusty storms of laughter and forded streams of tears. No I find myself at the top of another mountain and once again I loosen my burden. But this time I put my ear to the rock, and the mountain whispers, “look at me, I am wonderful, I am the top.” My heart echoes happiness.

 Janey Rountree - Hudson, OH


I would like to thank you for providing me with such a wonderful experience. This past summer was an incredible adventure, physically, mentally and spiritually for me. I learned a great deal about myself, my group and what my personal limits are.

 Emily Barton - Bronxville, NY


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience one of the greatest adventures of my entire life. This summer I joined the WV family in the six week expedition through Alaska’s pristine wilderness. Breathtaking is the only word that comes remotely close to describing Alaska’s scenery and wildlife. The unforgivable terrain faced us with many challenges and obstacles, but it was the accomplishment of defeating these challenges that has molded me into a better person.

 Michael Server - Atlanta, GA


I have made many life-long friends and have been fortunate enough to see some of the most beautiful areas of the country. I congratulate you for starting such a wonderful program that means so much to teens like me.

 Kate Tuck - Locust Valley, NY


I wish to state again how much I appreciate what Wilderness Ventures is doing. You are contributing a great deal to the lives of every person who completes one of your trips.

 Richard Pass - Leawood, KS


The Wilderness Ventures program not only helped me to learn more efficient team work and also challenged me to push myself harder than I have ever done before, but it has also provided me with sunsets, laughs, and many other memories I will remember throughout this next year, and throughout my life. Wilderness Ventures changed my whole mentality as a person.

 Suzy Keller - Cincinnati, OH


I had never been backpacking, I had never been farther west than Pennsylvania! But as I write this in the Eagle River Campground, I realize this trip was exactly what I needed.

 Sarah Barbrow - Newton, MA


Thank you again for such a great summer—it was undeniably the best summer I’ve had. As I make my way through the school year, I am definitely seeing the positive results of doing such a cool thing over the summer. I have so many great memories and a bunch of great friends.

 Sara Siegel - Bedford, NY


Wilderness Ventures has been the most positive thing in my life for the past few years. All year round all I think about is how much fun I have on my trips and when I get to go on another. The things I’ve learned and people I have encountered have truly shaped the person I am today. I would not be nearly as independent or focused as I am now without the help of Wilderness Ventures.

 Jacqueline Talichet - Houston, TX


I learned a lot of special skills, it’s taught me to be more self-motivated and to take initiative. But the most important things I learned were teamwork and taking responsibility.

 Taber Lemarr - Phoenix, AZ


I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity of a life time this past summer…It was the single best thing that has ever happened to me, and I give all of my thanks to you and your program.

 Eliza Trice - New Orleans , LA


I felt it necessary to tell you about how great of a summer I had and to let you know that you won’t need to change a thing with your trips if you want kids to have a great time. I wanted to let you know that all your hard work made a difference in my life, and from talking with my friends who I met on this trip, their lives too.

 Jonathan Shalik - Syosset, NY


Whether it involved cooking dinner, or setting up a tent, teamwork was the key element to my summer’s success. Think about your day, think about today. Take a step back, and think about your classes, your friendships, and even your family. They all cannot be possible without teamwork.

 Jeff Addis - Bryn Mawr, PA


I think that since I went to camp, I am now more independent and outgoing. When I entered my new school for the first time on Friday, I realized how easy it was for me to meet new people and think of things to say. I am now a better and more well rounded person since my trip this summer. Thank you very much for making it available to me.

 Brooke Hurt - Cincinnati, OH


I would like to take this time to thank you for letting me be a part of Wilderness Ventures. This has been an experience I will always cherish. Through this adventure, I learned many new skills that will be beneficial not only in the backcountry but in my everyday life.

 Christina Bravo - Greenwich , CT


The trip was more than learning about hiking and camping in the wilderness, it taught me a lot about life and different people.

 Clay Hamilton - 2000,


I just want to thank you for the experience of a lifetime...I would love to go on another Wilderness Ventures trip.

Nick Walker - Los Alamitos, CA


I would really like to thank my leaders for one of the best summers of my life, and I would like to keep in touch with them.

David Tart - Chapel Hill, NC


This experience is different for everyone, but for me it is one of the most rewarding of my life.

 Carolyn Wiedeman - Kansas City, MO


WV is an experience that compares to none other, and each trip continues to change my perspective on life. After being thrown together with different backgrounds, friends, families, and ideas, I feel as though I have known each camper for a lifetime within a week, and their opinions and beliefs stay with me to this day. WV has also led me to discover the peaceful and healing power of both solitude and nature that I can find nowhere else in the world.

 Meghan Lewis - Houston, TX


Wilderness Ventures inspires you to be open to new experiences and to strive to succeed in them...I am extremely comforted by the amazing support this program provides as well as the fact that with perserverance I am extremely capable of anything. Once you become part of the Wilderness Venture community, I guarentee that you will constantly feel a positive push towards personal growth and extreme confidence in yourself for years to come.

 Anne Furey - Cincinnati, OH


I learned from these trips how to be an effective leader, how to cook for a group, and how to travel safely in wilderness areas. Words cannot accurately portray the impact Wilderness Ventures has had on my life...I truly believe that wilderness trips are life changing, and I know this because I have seen it in my life.

 Bynum Boley - Atlanta , GA


Within 24-hours of walking out into the Alaska wilderness I knew something powerful had been missing in my life: the opportunity to experience deeply, land unspoiled by human hands. Life was simple, challenging, and inspiring. The community we build was unparalleled. I left my WV expedition with a broadened perspective and a strengthened spirit.

 Steven Munno - Great Neck, NY


I learned the importance of leadership and the beauty of the wilderness of the Northwest US. I credit my experience with WV for guiding my choice of college.

 Kaki Arnaud - Denver, CO


The emphasis on community building and leadership skills has improved my confidence in group settings and encouraged me to take on an increasing number of leadership roles.

 Kiersa Benson - Evergreen, CO


Wilderness Ventures has had a profound effect on my life. The unique experience of spending time backpacking with a dozen of my peers left me with a love for the wilderness and respect for others...

 Matthew Davidson - Haverford, PA


Wilderness Ventures provided me with the opportunity to grow and learn in such a way that I know I have the confidence and ability to overcome any obstacles set before me.

 David Wool - Montgomery, AL


While living with a group of people I had never met before for three weeks, I learned what strengths I had to offer my group...Lastly, my leaders instilled in me a great passion for the outdoors. Each of these lessons has helped me infinitely.

 Jonathan Reding - Little Rock, AR


Wilderness Ventures challenged me to grow immensely as an individual and come to understand the importance of working together with a group of people to reach a common goal... I never thought I could discover myself in a summer, but because of Wilderness Ventures I realized that the wilderness will always be key to rediscovering myself.

 Erin Holcomb - Memphis, TN


WV taught me invaluable skills that have contributed to my success today. After each trip with WV, I developed more self confidence, and improved my leadership and organizational skills. In addition, I gained newfound respect for nature and the outdoors, a foreign concept to many of my friends and family back home.

 Greg Sherman - Hartsdale, NY


I feel like I learned a lot from the trip and grew to realize the important things in life... I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true.

 Gabby Mahdesian - Potomac, MD


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Teen Summer Camps at Wilderness Ventures!

If you’re searching for traditional Teen Summer Camps or Teen Adventure Programs, you’ve come to a place where traditional turns into Exhilarating! Since 1973, Wilderness Ventures has been conducting unique Teen Summer Camps in many of the finest areas for teen summer camp activities in the world. Our teen summer camps and international adventure programs for teens combine an enriching group living experience with Outdoor Adventure and leadership skill training in a fun, non-competitive Wilderness Camp environment.


As the pioneering teen summer camp, Wilderness Ventures has been conducting adventure tours in the American West for 39 years. We conducted our first teen summer camp in 1973, visiting all of the most splendid wilderness areas in the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. Today, we take great pride in running the best teen adventure camps in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and in several international destinations, including Central and South America, Europe, Australia and the South Pacific. Because of our vast teen adventure experience, our exclusive destinations, and the enviable degree of control that we have over the quality of our adventures, we are largely considered the best teen summer camp available to today's teens.

Teen Summer Camp Destinations

When we conducted our first teen summer camp in 1973, we wanted to bring our teen summer campers to the best, most beautiful and most inspiring environments on the planet. Some highlights of our first teen summer camp consisted of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the Three Sisters Wilderness, Yellowstone National Park and Olympic National Park. Back in the early 1970s, permits to our nation's treasured wilderness areas was still possible to obtain. With tremendous foresight, our founders Mike and Helen Cottingham were able to aquire permits to the best and most beautiful teen summer camp environments in the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, Alaska, California and Hawaii. Affectionately, we refer to these environments as “Our Last Best Places,” and the exclusive permits that we hold to these treasured environments allows us to conduct teen summer camps in the most beautiful locations on the planet. For example, we are the only teen summer camp with the authority to lead teen backpacking trips in Grand Teton National Park and Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness; we are the only teen adventure camp allowed to lead sea kayaking expeditions onto the high alpine lakes of Yellowstone National Park, where our own adventure camp sea kayaking specialists.

Teen Summer Camp Safety

Because of our self-managed permits in these teen summer camp destinations, we have a high degree of control over who leads our expeditions. Our teen summer camp leaders are the most highly qualified, most extensively trained staff members in the teen summer camp industry; see “Our Leaders.” But another important distinction between Wilderness Ventures and other teen summer camps is the level of control our leaders have over the adventures they are leading. Many teen summer camps must, for example, subcontract their important outdoor adventure activities to permit holders so that they can conduct teen backpacking trips and teen hiking trips; this process often dilutes the quality of the leadership in charge of the health, safety, enjoyment and general well being of the teen summer camp activities. Since we operate under our own permits, we have the assurance that only our own highly qualified and trained leaders are conducting our teen summer camps.  Wilderness Ventures is an equal service provider.