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About Elisa F
Name: Elisa F
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Reviews Written by Elisa F  
 

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

Outstanding Aug 11, 2009
reviewer: Elisa F from New York
My daughter spent four summers at CTY, in Loudonville (NY), Madrid, and this past summer at Princeton. I cannot say enough good things about this program. CTY is an amazing experience for the smart kid who likes academics, reading, and discussing ideas with other smart kids. My daughter first came to CTY after a tough year in middle school in which her peers made her feel self-conscious about being "the smart one" who actually did her homework and raised her hand in class. Coming to CTY and being surrounded by kids who were smart, funny, interesting, and nice made her feel good about herself, and school, again. Before she came, she was a little hesitant about spending three weeks of her summer vacation taking a class, but she was so glad she took the chance. Like my daughter, many kids return to CTY year after year until they age out of the program. The kids work hard -- they really are in class for most of the day -- but there is plenty of time for socializing, sports, activities, and weekend dances. All of my daughter's teachers have been outstanding. CTY operates its programs on many college campuses, so the quality of the accommodations (dorm rooms) and food depends on the individual campus.

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6 of 37 people found the following review helpful:

An expensive mistake Aug 01, 2009
reviewer: Elisa F from New York
My 15-year-old son enjoys hiking and the outdoors and has been happily going to sleepaway camp for a month every summer for several years (with no problems whatsoever and only good reports from his counselors). I thought Adventure Treks would be a great step up from the usual camp experience. Unfortunately, the trip he was on did not go well. He was sent home shortly before the end of the trip for disciplinary reasons, so obviously my opinions about this program were affected by that. I am sharing only my own subjective opinions in this review. My impression is that while the counselors may have a great deal of experience with camping and wilderness activities, they do not seem to have enough training in dealing with teenagers. For example, my son had a problem with another boy, and rather than being separated, the boys were required to share a tent, which inevitably led to more conflict. A couple of the counselors seemed to have a somewhat authoritarian approach that may not be the most effective way to deal with teenage boys (again, this is only my impression, derived from speaking to my child). Out of 23 kids who went on this trip, three were sent home. There were five or six counselors present on this trip, so it was surprising to me that they did not seem to be able to cope with this relatively small group of kids, or to manage situations and behaviors that were less than perfect. My son said that one of the counselors told the kids that they were the worst group of kids she had ever worked with, which does not seem like the best way to motivate teenagers. Four days before the end of the 19-day trip, we got an email from the director, who was apparently trying to put a cheery spin on the fact that things seemed to be going badly -- one counselor had unexpectedly departed, two kids had been sent home due to "self-care issues" (whatever that means), multiple kids had the "stomach flu" (and I learned from my son that one child was taken to the emergency room for treatment of dehydration), everyone was "tired and cranky," the second of two planned backpacking trips had been canceled in favor of taking the kids to a movie, and the director himself was flying in to replace the departed counselor and presumably to try to get things back on track. An hour later, I got a call from the head counselor, saying that my son was being sent home. I had to pay over $400 for a last-minute, one-way plane ticket and pick him up at the airport at 6:00 a.m. We had spent several hundred dollars on the required equipment and clothing for this trip, and at least half of his camping equipment and clothing did not come home with him. He was upset about having been sent home, and did not understand why it had happened. He was also exhausted. He had apparently been having a great deal of difficulty sleeping due to headaches (quite possibly caused by dehydration) and I am sure that his being exhausted and somewhat ill contributed to whatever problems he experienced on the trip. I do not think that my child is perfect and I think there should be consequences for misbehavior. But even assuming that everything that the counselor told me was true, I was surprised that they felt that sending my child home four days before the end of the trip was the only option. However, I was not there, don't have all the facts, and can't accurately assess the situation. I do know that between the cost of the program, the airfare, and all the gear, this was an expensive undertaking, and the results were certainly not what we had hoped for. Despite all that, my son actually had a good time, for the most part, made some good friends, and described some amazing experiences like kayaking among seals. So it was not a complete disaster, but I would be very hesitant to recommend this program to other parents.

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