Engaging young people in Wilderness Expeditions, Service and Native Cultures since 1984. Outstanding adventures and service projects in the American southwest and Costa Rica.
Inspiring journeys for young adults in the American Southwest and Costa Rica. A mature and experienced staff (average age of 28), lead small groups of 12-15 students on expeditions into the rugged and pristine landscapes of the canyons, rivers, and mountains of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and the rain forests, beaches, and rural villages of Costa Rica. Deer Hill's 4:1 student to staff ratio provides personalized attention and instruction during two to four-week long programs. We integrate activities including rafting, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and wilderness leadership with community service. A focus of each program is a service learning project (in most cases applicable to high school credit) and cultural exchange. Deer Hill partners with Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes in the Southwest U.S., and homestays with families in Costa Rica to provide an enriching service component to our adventures. Additionally, we coordinate conservation projects with the U.S. Forest Service in the San Juan Mountains. Learning about the wilderness, native cultures, new life skills and making deeper connections with each other and the Earth are essential to our programs. Deer Hill is for young people wishing to expand their horizons through the challenges of living in the wilderness while making new friends in a non-competitive atmosphere of respect and fun.
Deer Hill is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education.
Q & A with Deer Hill Expeditions
Q: What makes your camp or program unique?
A: Our groups are small and provide each participant with the individualized leadership that creates a successful group dynamic. Unlike other organizations, Deer Hill is located in the heart of the Southwest. We share the best of the mountains, rivers and canyons in our backyard and the best of the tropics in Costa Rica.
Q: Describe a typical day in your camp or program.
A: Our programs aren’t typical and each day offers a completely different itinerary that may include whitewater rafting, canyoneering, rock climbing, backpacking, visiting archaeological sites or community service with our Native American families.
Q: What type of teenager participates in your camp or program?
A: Our participants are enthusiastic and engaged young adults. We don’t require experience only a degree of fitness and a willingness to explore not only the beautiful landscape that we travel to, but delve into the personal landscape.
Q: Where do your participants come from?
A: Our participants come from all over the world. We have participants coming from Norway, France, Belgium, Nepal, Russia, Indonesia, NY, Seattle, San Francisco and beyond.
Q: What is the housing like and what can you tell us about the meals?
A: Our programs occur in the Great Outdoors and most of the trips involve tent camping under the stars. At the start and finish of trips you can enjoy the comfortable cabins and convenience of Basecamp. Our Costa Rica trip involves homestays, beach camping and hostels. Our food is organic, delicious, healthy and often grown right here in the Deer Hill gardens. We take pride in our food preparation and know that we are providing the best food possible to fuel our participants.
Q: Please describe what teens have to say about your program.
A: “My Deer Hill experience was profound. Being able to connect not only with these diverse people but also with nature and most importantly myself is something I will always cherish. It truly changed my life, and I thank everyone at Deer Hill for making the experience so rich.” KB
“The Heart of the Rockies was unlike anything I’ve experienced in my life before. There was tons of fun to be had on this trip, and I really enjoyed being immersed in the wilderness. I will remember these beautiful landscapes for the rest of my life.” Jonah
“Service was fascinating, powerful, and real. I got a taste of how the Hopi live and the struggles they face. Watching a Hopi Kachina Dance was so incredible. It was such a powerful thing to watch something so ancient and spiritually rich. I have never experienced anything more fulfilling than breaking a sweat for the sake of someone else.” CC
Q: Any other information you think teens should know about your program?
A: Deer Hill Expeditions offers a truly unique wilderness experience. For 29 years we’ve led journeys in our backyard- the mountains, rivers and canyons of the Southwest and exciting adventures through the gentle country of Costa Rica.
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