COVID-19 & SOAR Updates

Navigating the Trail through COVID-19

Updated February 22nd, 2023

SOAR’s structure of small groups lends itself to allowing our campers to learn, grow and have fun while navigating our way through COVID-19. Our campers are resilient. Many have demonstrated this throughout the multitude of changes in our lives, but the need for the community, social interaction, self-challenge, and independence that our programs provide has only grown exponentially. Our passion is to provide experiences through our GAP, Academy, or Summer Camp programs that are as safe as possible during a pandemic. Our programs bring friendships, immersion in the outdoors and time away from screens, increased personal responsibility, and so much more.

Using The Experts

So much has changed over the last year. Such as additional guidelines, learning from the few camps that did open, our better understanding of the virus, etc. In addition, our small boarding school (32 students max) as well as our GAP program (12 participants max) are currently operational and having great success.  We are regularly meeting with our internal COVID Task Force to make sure all of our plans and protocols are as safe as possible. As well as in continued compliance with federal, state, and local health officials, the CDC, and the American Camping Association.  Here are some of the resources that we are using to create the safest camp experience possible:CDC, ACA, ACN.

The following information will refer mainly to our summer camp as we are preparing to operate beginning May 2021. However, much of this information applies to our GAP and Academy programs that are currently in operation. If you would like more program-specific information regarding the Academy or Gap please review our Academy and GAP COVID Updates document or reach out to our Admissions department at 828-456-3435 or 

As we detail our considerations and plans below and in our Navigating the Trail to Summer 2021 document, we consider the following

  • As an outdoor program, we are well-positioned to operate with appropriate COVID modifications and protocols.
  • Small-Group Cohorts – SOAR’s model has always been centered around the use of small group cohorts.  We will continue to operate in those cohorts as much as possible.
  • Utilizing as many NPI’s (non-pharmaceutical interventions) as possible.
  • The previous year of mitigation practice that all campers and counselors will have experienced.
  • The continued positive news regarding vaccines.

SOAR’s Current Plans, Procedures, & Considerations

We have detailed our initial plans in the document linked below. Please read through it carefully.
Please understand this is a working document. All of these considerations are subject to change. This document is not our final operations procedures for 2021. Rather it is a snapshot of our thinking if we were to open camp next month, based on what we know now from science and best practices today. While we hope that by Summer 2021 the world is closer to some kind of normal again, we are nevertheless preparing to operate camp in a world where COVID is still with us.

Navigating the Trail to Summer 2023

This year we will require a pre-course health screening. This screening will cover all sicknesses (not just Covid-19).

If you have any questions about this upcoming summer, please reach out. We are here to talk through any questions or concerns you have. Give us a call at 828-456-3435 or email us at

SOAR COVID-19 Refund Policy

SOAR asks that all campers begin to limit interactions with others 8 days prior camp. If a camper must cancel before a course begins, parents can request they attend a later course session. However, due to limited availability, SOAR cannot guarantee a request will be approved. If a camper is unable to attend a course due to limited availability, SOAR’s standard refund policy will apply.

If a camper develops COVID-19 at any point during the course or has significant exposure from anyone testing positive in their direct care group, parents will be expected to remove them from the program for the safety and well-being of all parties. In the event a camper is removed from a course, parents may request a credit towards a future course.

If a SOAR course is canceled due to a COVID-19 related outbreak, tuition monies will be refunded or credited to a future course according to the following schedule:

  1. Course cancellation within the first 3 days of the program – Full Refund / Credit (less deposit)
  2. Course cancellation after the 3 – 5 days of the program – Straight Line Pro-Rated Refund / Credit (less deposit)
  3. Course cancellation after 5 days of the program – No Refund

Tuition may be refunded or applied to future SOAR programs as requested. If a parent chooses to apply tuition to future SOAR programs, you may choose to carry a credit on your account for a maximum of (1) one year. Should you choose to enroll your child in another camp session, you will be subjected to the applicable course price at that time.