safety first! Students in the woods holding equipment accessorized with hard hats

Focus on Risk Management


ARCC takes seriously its commitment to risk management and safety on all of our programs. With over 40 years of operation, ARCC has worked to develop comprehensive guidelines and policies to prioritize the safety of our students, staff and partners. While ARCC recognizes the inherent risks associated with global travel and the activities and projects we participate in, our goal is to manage those risks to safeguard our students, staff, and local communities to the best of our ability. We are proud of our safety record and are constantly reviewing and updating our protocols to ensure they meet or exceed current industry standards.


Our programs are extremely well planned — leaving little to chance.

Almost every minute of every day of our programs is planned in advance. Activities, meals, service projects, transportation, etc. are organized by our experienced office staff up to a year in advance of the departure date of any program. This way, we are able to arm our trip leaders with an extremely well planned and detailed itinerary, which allows them to better focus on the well being of their students, which in turn leads to safer programs.


All ARCC Program Leaders are required to have at minimum a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification, which is roughly 80 hours of active backcountry first aid training.

Prior to leading programs for ARCC, all leaders are required to be up-to-date with their WFR training as well as attend an additional 10 days of staff training and trip preparation. While these first aid skills are most frequently used for scrapes, bruises, blisters, and general traveler sickness, we’ve found that this level of medical training prepares our leaders to respond to a range of potential events including emergencies.


We hire smart, experienced, and mature Trip Leaders to operate our programs.

A typical trip leader is in their 20s or early 30s and is selected from a group of highly qualified candidates with varying backgrounds and experiences in trip leading and working with teenagers. ARCC leaders are enthusiastic about serving others and, most importantly, working with young adults and helping our students thrive.

ARCC believes strongly in being proactive about the safety of our students which is why we have a philosophy of “Safety First” in whatever we do. Whether designing our trip itineraries, hiring our staff, choosing our locations, selecting outfitters, or developing protocols, our first consideration is always for the safety of our students, staff, and partners.

In addition to ARCC leaders, ARCC has invested years of relationship building into local and in-country partners and guides. These local experts help to support trip logistics, activities, projects, act as translators, and introduce us to the countries or regions they call home. ARCC is also an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.


ARCC was one of very few organizations to run multiple programs in the summer and fall of 2020. ARCC carried this momentum and experience throughout 2021 and 2022 with successful and meaningful domestic and international programs. Since the pandemic began, ARCC has sent out well over 1,000 students and participants with the support of our Medical and Mental Health Directors. The experiences gained operating programs in a COVID-19 environment have been invaluable, and we are proud that all programs have been safe and meaningful for our participants and their families. Please see ARCC’s APPROACH TO COVID-19/FAQs for additional details.