FAQ

What are your COVID policies?

White Pine follows the latest CDC guidance around camp attendance and masking. As of January 2024, that means campers can attend 5 days after the first day of symptoms, if the camper is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and they are not experiencing any other symptoms. Here are the latest CDC guidelines. Masks will not be required for any camper, but we are a mask-supportive community, if your family chooses to mask anytime.  Our refund policy will remain the same and that can be found here. If you feel that your family cannot follow these guidelines, we ask that you consider waiting until next year to participate.

What is the Program Cancellation Policy?

As a small non-profit organization, White Pine Programs spends a significant amount of time and resources planning ahead for programs. We invest in our staff and commit to them months in advance for employment. When families cancel their registrations, it limits our ability to cover our costs and offer scholarships. Although we are committed to paying our staff a fair, living wage, the revenue collected from program registrations only covers two-thirds of our costs. As such, we ask that families think carefully about the negative impact to White Pine when cancelling their registrations and consider donating their registration fee, or a portion thereof, which for some, can be claimed as a tax free deduction. In transparency, White Pine pays ActiveWorks 3.75% of every transaction to use their credit card processing system.  This is the reason we require a non-refundable administrative fee.

Although we avoid doing so, we reserve the right to cancel a program or change a program’s duration or location. White Pine Programs is not responsible for costs associated in these cases. We recommend that you consider refundable tickets for travel.

  • There is a non-refundable $50 administrative fee for cancellations anytime prior to the program’s start date. For programs over $1,500, there is a non-refundable $100 administrative fee for cancellations anytime prior to the program’s start date.
  • Cancellations made within 60 – 31 days of the program’s start date may receive a refund of 50% of full tuition, less the non-refundable administrative fee. We ask that families consider donating the unused portion of their tuition, if they are able.
  • Cancellations made within 30 days of the program’s start date may receive a refund of 25% of full tuition, less the non-refundable administrative fee. We ask that families consider donating the unused portion of their tuition, if they are able.
  • Cancellations 2 weeks or less before the program’s start date receive no refund.
  • We are unable to offer refunds if any duration of a program is cancelled due to inclement weather, government mandate for closure, or circumstances out of our control.
  • If a program is cancelled due to low enrollment, tuition will be fully refundable or transferable to another program within 1 year.

NOTE: If, during registration, a “support” tuition is selected (supporting another participant or camper) or a donation is added to a registration, we make the assumption that the intent is to support White Pine and our scholarship fund. As such, unless requested, only the “actual” cost of tuition (less the cancellation fee) will be refunded. Donations will not be refunded. If this creates a hardship for your family, please call our office and we will make accommodations. 

How do we apply for financial aid?

Our new process is super easy – simply select the tuition your family can afford, then answer a few short questions during registration. Applying for aid does not guarantee we can provide you with the requested amount, however, we will do the best we can based on enrollment and the fundraising we do during registration. Applicants will be notified within 45 days of their registration. If making the non-refundable deposit is a hardship, please call our office at 207-361-1911. We offer tuition discounts of 25% and 50% which can be self-selected during registration. If your family needs more than 50%, please select the lower tuition and provide details to us in the financial aid section. We do everything we can to avoid turning families away, so please ask for what you need. Requests made for aid during registration are reviewed monthly. Should we not be able to fulfill your request, we will provide a full refund of monies paid and your deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot extend financial aid for more than one session to a single family member. If you have questions about the process or want to provide more information about your application, please call our office at 207-361-1911.

My chid has an IEP. Can they participate in White Pine?

Absolutely! One of the most wonderful things about the outdoors is that nature is an equalizer. Many of the children who participate in our programs have IEPs and thrive at White Pine Programs. If your child receives services as part of an IEP, 504, or requires extra behavioral support, please inquire to determine if our camp is an appropriate fit for your child(ren) by calling our office 207-361-1911 or emailing todd@whitepineprograms.org as soon as you register. If a discussion determines that White Pine is not the right fit, we will honor full cancellations. If your child works within an IEP or 504 plan, it is very helpful when families share these plans with us so that we can communicate with teachers, counselors, other professionals such as OT/speech therapists, and parents/guardians about accommodations and strategies. We partner closely with caregivers to make every effort to ensure students are successful in the program. However, safety is our first priority and behavior that puts our staff or other children at risk will be addressed swiftly and may result in a child not continuing with the program.As a small nonprofit, we do not have the resources to provide one on one services to children who need them.  We welcome having outside professionals, such as a school-provided ed-tech/para-professional one-on-one aid, to accompany students to provide that support.

Is there special gear needed to participate in your program?

Dressing appropriately for weather conditions and for one’s ability to carry personal gear are imperative. Along with specific guidelines for this, a gear list is provided for each program’s needs. Please view the specific gear list for your program through the link on the program’s page or in your confirmation email (after registering). Please know creative solutions to acquiring proper gear are encouraged! Secondhand, borrowing from friends and reaching out to us for hard to acquire gear are all great options.

Is there any structure to a day at White Pine?

Our staff is prepared at balancing planned and unstructured time, with a very careful chartered flow to each day. For all of the programs we offer, a day in the field generally looks like this: welcoming everyone as they arrive, the whole group coming together to begin the day in unity, then off on adventures either together or in smaller, more intimate groups. The group reconvenes at day’s end. We are generally outdoors exploring for the duration of our programs.

What should I expect with a day at White Pine?

Getting down in the dirt or snow or mud or swamp etc… kids, teens or adults alike. Expect to be moving at times and stationary at others, to carry all your personal belongings for the day with you, including all your food and beverages, and to get a lot of fresh air- that along with the outdoor activity can make for tired bodies at day’s end. Children will be responsible for carrying their own pack, so be careful not to make it too heavy!

Can I transfer my child to another session if our plans change?

This answer varies by program and we do what we can to work with families. At Summer Camp, however, we often get requests to switch weeks at the last minute and do what we can to accommodate those. Once we are within a 2 week period of the camp starting, we are unable to make those shifts as we rarely can fill the open spots. These shifts are very labor and time intensive and we simply don’t have the human power to handle them. We appreciate your understanding.

How do you handle adverse weather conditions during a program?

We are out in all sorts of weather — rain, sun, cold, heat, wind or biting insects. Dressing in proper clothing for the conditions is important for safety and the enjoyment of the individual and group. For extreme weather events during a program, our staff follows safety protocols to ensure group safety. We have the right to cancel programs due to weather and we do not refund program days missed for weather.

Can my child be grouped with their friend?

Making groups can be a complex task. Our staff has many factors to consider when creating the groups for a program. Any special requests for your child’s group will certainly be considered — and whenever reasonable, accommodated. However, we cannot guarantee requested pairings. When it is not possible, we encourage families to see the opportunities and possibilities that arise when we learn to adapt and stretch our comfort zones.

How is your staff trained?

All of our Lead Instructors have at minimum Wilderness First Aid certification, experience with leading children in nature connection programs, and a genuine love for the natural world. Staff undergo ongoing training throughout the program year and receive positive and constructive feedback to help them with continuous growth professionally.

Along with the above certifications, Trip Guides in Maine are certified as Registered Maine Guides.

Do you require background checks?

Yes, all adult staff and volunteers who have direct contact with participants at White Pine undergo a background check before they become involved.

What is your ratio of staff to participants?

We generally do not exceed a ratio of 1 staff to 10 participants. There are special programs and circumstances that may alter this ratio. However, more often than not, groups will have other staff on site and volunteers assisting. This low ratio allows for more intimate experiences geared towards the group and individuals.

Do you offer custom experiences?

Yes! We currently offer custom experiences based on your nature connection goals. Custom experiences often depend on staff availability, amount of advanced notice, and our assessment of how well we can meet your goals. Custom experiences can include wildlife tracking, fire making, navigation, games, woodland shelter building, local flora and fauna, leadership and team building… experiences may be for youth, teens, adults, corporate trainings, clubs, etc… They can be designed from indoor needs to wilderness experiences.

Do you do birthday parties?

No, we don’t offer birthday parties.