Custom Built Programs for Student Groups

Common Questions

ARCC has connections in over twenty countries, regularly leading programs throughout the western US (including Hawaii), Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. We have experience creating programs that specialize in everything from backpacking to service-learning and have trained teachers who are ready to work with you to link hands-on experiences to your curriculum. Speak with our Group Programs director to share your program wants and needs for service, education, adventure, language, and more, and we’ll create a program for you!
No. Group airfare and visas (if applicable) are additional and vary per program (please note that many countries do not require visas). Airfare cost is dependent on the time of booking, departure city, program location(s), and internal flights (if required). ARCC works closely with a trusted travel agent to book group flights. In order to ensure enough available seats for a group to fly together on international flights, ARCC books the international tickets in advance, the cost of which is billed to families. Call us for more information or for a quote on international flights.
ARCC works with a trusted travel agent to secure the best price and itinerary for each group, which can vary greatly depending on the program starting location and destination. If you would prefer to coordinate your own international airfare, that is also fine. ARCC will also organize any on-program flights, such as inter-country flights in an international region. We book on reputable, name-brand airlines to ensure the safety of our groups.
ARCC programs are designed to be “all-inclusive,” meaning all food, lodging, transportation, and activities are paid for with your program costs. Unlike other programs, ARCC will never say “for another $100, you can zipline.” Everything you read about in your itinerary will be included in your trip. You will only need to bring spending money for incidentals such as souvenirs, unexpected emergencies, laundry, etc.

Every ARCC group program is led by one of our highly trained leaders. Our leaders incorporate ARCC traditions into the trip and provide a detailed understanding of the daily activities. Each of our leaders has been through at least 18-days of training, which includes ARCC’s 8-day Staff Training and a 10-day certified Wilderness First Responder Medical course. ARCC leaders have significant travel experience and an extensive background working with youth. Our leaders are passionate about working with students and can’t wait to lead your group!

Upon arriving at your international destination, each group is met by our in-country partners and guides. These local experts help take care of trip logistics, act as translators, and introduce us to the countries they call home.

As an educator on a custom program, you get to define and customize your role. Depending on your preferences, we can add a second leader to the program and take the lead on group bonding, games, and even curriculum. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to lead activities and be in charge of your group dynamics, we’re happy to cover logistics ranging from meals to train schedules.
No. Any and all students are welcome. We are happy to customize a program that fits the needs of any group.
Sure. On a custom ARCC program, you choose what your group looks like. We do, however, expect that everyone on a program participates in the scheduled itinerary and stays with the group throughout.

Our preference is to limit communications home to help students invest in their experience; however, we are happy to work with you based on your school communication policies.

However you choose to handle communication, we are happy to keep families up-to-date on all the fun being had via a group blog, complete with pictures of the group and stories of their adventures. This blog can even be incorporated into your curriculum and is a nice way to show the school board and families that travel is educational.

We believe that real connections happen in the absence of electronics. Call us old fashioned, but we’d rather see students talk and laugh while the campfire lights up their eyes, than see their eyes light up by a phone screen. Our many years of running programs for teens has also taught us that students are less prone to homesickness if their communication with home is less frequent.

The safety of our students is the primary concern of our office staff, our field staff, and our partners around the world. ARCC has an unparalleled safety record which we attribute to the maturity and training of our trip leaders, our trip supervision, and the safety protocols that ARCC has in place on all our programs.

The best way that you can calm fears and help prepare parents for an ARCC program is to provide them with as much information as possible. We suggest hosting a parent’s night, and we’ll be happy to provide a framework and presentation for this event. If you’d prefer that we attend in person, we’d be happy to send a representative to host a presentation and answer questions.

ARCC has been running programs of this nature for over 35 years. Our specialty is dotting I’s and crossing the T’s. Along with an unmatched safety record, we have the liability insurance policy that your administrator has been asking about.
Our programs are rolling admission and we can typically add group members until just a few weeks prior to the program start date. Late enrollments may affect price, however, as group tickets and many in-country activities must be confirmed about six weeks in advance. If you would like to begin customizing a program for your group, we recommend that you contact us six months to one year prior to your desired travel date and we’ll get the ball rolling from there.

While the minimum number for each program varies on pricing and location we recommend having a group of at least ten students. A smaller group would make for a more expensive program.

A group of ten is also the minimum requirement for booking a group airline ticket which helps keep prices affordable for all participants.

We want to limit the financial risk for you as much as possible. Upon enrolling in a program, group members are required to put down a deposit to hold their spot. This is helpful in ensuring that only those who are ready to commit are reserving spots. Up until a certain date, this deposit can be fully refunded.

Once final payment has been made, usually about two months prior to the start of the program, refunds will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on what we are able to get back from finalized reservations. All of these payment details will be included in our pre-program conversations and paperwork.

Food is a critical component of every ARCC program. As a result, we spend a great deal of time on food selection and preparation to ensure a delicious and well-balanced menu. The food varies from program to program, but on all programs, students will have delicious, healthy and filling meals and a variety of snacks between meals.

Depending on program location, groups have the option to make their own meals, eat in restaurants, small hotels/guesthouses or in the local communities. When possible we strive for our students to be involved in the cooking process. In these cases, students are divided into cook groups which are then responsible for the selection, preparation, and cleanup of the group’s meals. The food we provide is selected with an emphasis on freshness and variety. We always make sure to have extra food to ensure that no one is hungry. Vegetarian and other diets can generally be accommodated.

On most ARCC programs you spend the majority of your nights sleeping in small hotels, village lodges, hostels or in bungalows. During some service project segments, you might be in sleeping bags “slumber party style” on the floor of a guesthouse or the village community center. Some of our programs have “group stays” where groups of 2-3 students stay with local families for one to three nights. Several ARCC programs spend their nights sleeping in tents in established campgrounds with toilets and showers. The quality of the lodging varies by program and by activity and it will always be clean and safe.