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For almost 4 decades years ARCC has offered extraordinary summer programs for teens. We are extremely proud of the lasting impact that ARCC students have had on the people, the communities and the environment around the world.

Eighteen Summer Programs For Teens on Six Continents

ARCC offers 18 different summer program options on six continents. ARCC Summer programs for teens take place between June and August and last from two to four weeks. We work diligently to ensure the sense of discovery and adventure is genuine on all our programs as our groups often travel to remote locations rarely visited by outsiders. Our student population is widely distributed from throughout the United States and we have a number of international participants as well.  All of our summer programs focus on global learning through 3 distinct categories: service learning programming, cultural immersion programming, and global focus programming.

Authentic and Varied Service Learning

A common theme running through all ARCC programs is that our students engage in intimate, authentic encounters with the people, cultures and the lands they visit, while giving back to these communities in a meaningful way. ARCC spends a great deal of energy finding and developing authentic service learning opportunities for our students.  ARCC service projects make a positive impact, both on the populations we work with and on our own students.  ARCC projects are rich in experience and fulfilling in character.  Our students justifiably come away from them proud of the impact they are having on the communities in which they live and work.

ARCC volunteer programs are also characterized by having a variety of distinct types (construction, animals, children, environment, etc.) of service and volunteer projects. Not surprisingly, teenagers get bored doing the same thing day after day. By varying the types and locations of service activities we have found our students stay more engaged with the projects and the communities.  We also know that different projects resonate with different students. Some students particularly enjoy construction based projects. Others find their passion working in schools or orphanages. On an ARCC summer program, we give our students the opportunity to experience it all.


Having fun is a goal of any ARCC Summer experience, but it is important to recognize that ARCC is not a catered vacation. You will be involved in all aspects of the group’s adventure from sharing travel responsibilities to leading the group. There will likely be long travel days as well as hard work on service projects. However, ARCC is also not a survival school. Our purpose is to teach you skills and expose you to new cultures in an enjoyable and positive environment. This does not mean it will always be easy or without challenge, but at all times we will have a supportive group atmosphere, and most importantly, we will have great fun in the process.

The Group Makeup

All ARCC groups are co-ed and are comprised of 12 to 18 participants. Most often, students come on ARCC programs by themselves although friends are welcome to come together. ARCC students come from all over the United States and from as far away as Europe, Latin America and Asia. Students are not necessarily superstar athletes nor outdoor experts, but average teenagers who want an exciting and fulfilling summer experience. The group will also have at least two experienced trip leaders accompany each group.

Group Consistency and Bonding

Each of our 12-18 person groups consists of students of comparable ages. We will never group 13 year-olds with 18 year-olds simply to fill out a program. We also don’t “remix” groups constantly throughout the program. The students and leaders who meet at the airport on the first day of the adventure are the same ones who travel together throughout the experience, and tearfully hug good-bye at the end. We feel that having small groups of like-age students ultimately leads to a strong family-like bond that is the cornerstone of every ARCC program.


Food is a critical component of every ARCC program. 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. When possible we strive for our students to be involved in the cooking process. On programs where student’s cook for themselves, students are divided into cook groups which are then responsible for the selection, preparation and cleanup of the group’s meals. In locations where group cooking is not an option, groups eat in restaurants, small hotels/guesthouses or in the local communities. Meals are always selected with an emphasis on freshness and variety. We always make sure to have extra food to ensure that no one is hungry. Allergies, vegetarian and other diets can generally be accommodated.

Sleeping Arrangements

Sleeping arrangements depend largely on which program you are considering. 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, while it won’t always be fancy, it will always be clean and safe.


ARCC provides all group equipment required for the programs. We also provide all gear necessary for activities including service projects, surfing, SCUBA diving, rafting, kayaking, etc. You need to provide your own personal equipment and clothing. Almost all trips require you to provide a backpack/duffel bag and a sleeping bag. A detailed clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be provided once you enroll.


All ARCC programs have a “gateway city” where the group meets on the first day of the program and where students depart from on the last day of the program.  You are responsible for getting to and from the gateway city. At the start of the program, ARCC leaders meet all students at a convenient meeting location (typically baggage claim) in the gateway city’s airport.

Once gathered in the gateway city, most ARCC groups then fly together with trip leaders to their program’s initial destination.  (As an example, all students on our Thailand programs meet in the trip’s gateway city of San Francisco, and then fly together to Bangkok.)  At the end of the program, the group will fly together to the gateway city where the leaders will assist the students with checking in and getting to connecting airlines heading home.


There is no experience necessary for ARCC Summer programs; however, your responsibility begins by selecting the ARCC adventure that is most appropriate for you. ARCC staff members are available to discuss each program in detail to help you find the program that best meets your needs.  While there are no prerequisites for participating in one of our summer programs for teens we do expect our students to arrive with the following:

A Willingness to Learn

Education is a significant and important part of every ARCC program. All programs incorporate discussions on subjects related to the activities on the program and to the areas in which we travel. We expect all of our students to actively participate in classes and the learning process.

A Positive and Unselfish Attitude

ARCC asks all students to have a positive and open-minded attitude on the program. Enthusiastic, motivated and positive participation in the program helps create the best and most rewarding travel experience for everyone.

Physical Preparation

Students are responsible for arriving on the program physically prepared for the trip’s activities. These programs don’t require you to be an Olympic athlete. However, the trip activities, especially some of the service components, can be physically challenging.  Some trips also require you to walk moderate distances, at times at altitude.  The better overall condition you are in, the more you will enjoy your experience with ARCC .