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General F.A.Q.

 
 
 

What is your definition of Trans?

We love this quote from author and activist Susan Stryker "Transgender - people who challenge gender norms by moving away from the gender associated with their assigned sex".

 

 

I don't know anyone else that is going.

You are not alone!  TVOP is all about creating community.  Many people show up not knowing other folks and leave with meaningful new friendships.  We strive to make everyone feel safe and included.  Let us know how we can make you feel more comfortable.

 

 

Can I bring my dog?

We're sorry - dogs are not allowed on TVOP trips. 

 

 

I'm 55 years old. Will I be the only person that age?

TVOP trips are open to any age and we have had past participants from ages 5-65. Typically we have courses that are specifically geared towards adults or queer youth. Many of our day trips are open to all ages. 

 

 

I don't have any of my own equipment.

TVOP will supply the majority of the gear for all courses including tents, cooking stoves, sleeping bag and pads, as well as backpacks. Individuals will be responsible for supplying their own hiking boots and clothing. 

 

 

What happens if I get hurt?

Every course has a written and documented emergency protocol plan in the event of emergency. Instructors at TVOP are Wilderness First Responder certified.  These are nationally recognized standards in wilderness medicine. Your safety is extremely important to us.  All participants will be required to fill out a medical form which will be reviewed by the TVOP physician who will help make plans should any medical accommodations be necessary.

 

 

I bind and/or wear compression tops and/or bottoms. Is it safe to wear them while backpacking?

We recognize how important binding/compressing is for many members of our community.  While on a backpacking trip binding/compressing could interfere with physical comfort.  We are happy to talk through some options to help you feel affirmed without compromising your health. Please contact us for more information. 

 

 

Will there be swimming?

We often pass by ponds while backpacking and our participants have enjoyed swimming with the safety and security of swimming with a crowd.  Check to see if your trip has a swimming spot. 

 

 

I have a dietary restriction/special diet/allergy/food preferences. Will there be food for me?

We have created backcountry meals that can fit most dietary restrictions.  Please let us know of allergies, special diets, and/or preferences prior to the trip.  We are happy to accommodate! 

 

 

Can I take my hormone shot while backpacking?

We recommend that you work with your physician to adjust the timing of your shot so you can do it before or after the trip because it is challenging to have a completely sanitary setting while backpacking.  However, if that is not possible, it is feasible to do your shot on the trail.  We ask that you carry a spare needle and syringe in case one gets broken. 

 

 

I'm not sure if I belong.

TVOP trips are open to queer,  LGBTQI, trans*, gender non-conforming, allies, and family members of the LGBTQI community.  If you feel that you might belong - you probably do!

 

 

Why would I pay to go hiking when I can go for free?

You are correct, you can hike for free but we are not just offering a hike, we are creating community.  On a TVOP hike you will: meet other folks like yourself(ves), become a member of the TVOP community, share experiences with others, have someone else plan the logistics of your adventures and recruit others to join you, get to eat TVOP snacks, and have certified Wilderness First Responders on hand should you ever need one.  All of the money we collect goes towards operating costs and scholarships for our summer programs.  Last summer over 50% of our youth received scholarship money.  

 

 

What are the credentials of the staff?

All of our staff are certified at a minimum in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.  The majority of our staff are Wilderness First Responders, all staff have undergone thorough background checks and are experienced and trained outdoor educator.

 

 

Can I bring alcohol and/or drugs?

No. All TVOP trips are substance free. 

 

 

Tips on working on my cardiovascular fitness?

Click here for workout suggestions.

 

 

Can I get my money back if I signed up but now can't go?

Deposits are non-refundable, but they are transferable to another trip.  If you sent in full payment for a trip, 50% of it is refundable up until 1 month before the trip start date.  Within one month of trip start date, there are no refunds.  There are a lot of upfront costs to run backpacking trips.  Thanks for understanding

 
 

Still have more questions?

 
 

Parent F.A.Q.

 
 
 

Who are the instructors on my teen’s trip and what are their qualifications?

Perry, The Venture Out Project’s Executive Director, along with Travis, are both Wilderness First Responder certified, will be leading the teen backpacking trips. Read their bios here.

 

 

Are all of the other instructors and teens LGBTQ+?

Yes, everyone that participates (instructors and youth) are LGBTQ+ identified.

 

 

What will my teen be eating on this trip?

We have a delicious and nutritious menu planned for this trip.  If your teen has any dietary restrictions or allergies (or intense dislikes), please let us know so that we can accommodate them.

The Venture Out Project  trips are a phone-free zone.  Part of what is so special about a Venture Out trip is that for the duration of the trip we are fully present on the trail and with our tripmates.  Cell phones can disrupt the bonding and immersion that happens when we are on the trail.  We understand that for some being away from phones can be the biggest challenge of the trip.  In order to ensure the best possible experience for your teen we ask that you refrain from contacting them except in the case of an emergency.  We provide all parents with an emergency contact number.

 

 

Will I be able to call/text/email my teen when they are on a Venture Out Project trip?

The Venture Out Project  trips are a phone-free zone.  Part of what is so special about a Venture Out trip is that for the duration of the trip we are fully present on the trail and with our tripmates.  Cell phones can disrupt the bonding and immersion that happens when we are on the trail.  We understand that for some being away from phones can be the biggest challenge of the trip.  In order to ensure the best possible experience for your teen we ask that you refrain from contacting them except in the case of an emergency.  We provide all parents with an emergency contact number.

 

 

What happens in case I need to reach my teen for an emergency?

We will provide you with our emergency contact number in advance of the trip.   
 

 

 

What happens if my teen gets injured on a trip?

All Venture Out Project instructors are Wilderness First Responder certified and well-trained in assessing and treating injuries that occur on the trail.  Depending on the severity of injury we will either treat on scene, and or/evacuate the teen to the nearest hospital.  We will contact the parents/guardians immediately.
 

 

 

Will someone help my teen manage their medication/allergies?

We can help with reminders, but we ask that your teen be able to self manage their medication/allergies.

 

 

Is someone available to pick my teen up/drop them off at the airport/train/bus station?

Yes, the nearest airport is Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford, CT.  We can pick your teen up at any transportation hub within an hour's drive.

 

 

Can my LGBTQ+ teen’s sibling/friend/ally go on a trip with them?

The Venture Out Project exists to create a safe and welcoming space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.  For the comfort of the other participants, we are asking that everyone be LGBTQ+ identified. However, a “Bring your Ally Trip” is in the works!  Contact us for more details.  

 

 

Will all of the other teens know each other?

Teen are coming from all over, and in most cases will not already know each other (and will be very excited to meet other LGBTQ+ teens!)

 

 

My teen has never backpacked or camped before.  Will they be the only one?

Our trips are designed to be beginner friendly and we will show them everything they need to know!  Our participants will come from a wide variety of experiences. They will not be the only one who has never backpacked or camped before.

 

 

My teen sometimes has a hard time in new social settings.  What does The Venture Out Project do to help with this?

We will do everything we can do to ensure your teen feels welcomed and a part of the group.  Creating community is one of the primary goals of The Venture Out Project.  Everything that happens within our trip will be done together….from cooking groups to sharing tents.  It is amazing what bonds can form in just six days.

 

 

How do I apply for a scholarship?

The first step to applying for a scholarship is to sign up for a trip.  On the sign-up page you'll see a question that asks if you are applying for a scholarship.  Click yes on that box.  When we receive your sign-up form we'll contact you about how to proceed to the scholarship application.  Note: We understand that your registration may be contingent upon receiving a scholarship and there is no commitment on your part until you've gone through the scholarship process.  

 

 

Have TVOP employees had background checks?

Yes, all employees of The Venture Out Project have passed the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check.   

 
 

Still have more questions?

 

Policies & Guidelines

 
 

Inclusion conversations

Some of us have met before, some of us will be meeting everyone for the first time.  TVOP trips are about building community and finding new friends.  So let's do our best to make sure our conversations are welcoming to everyone. 

phones

Part of what is so special about a wilderness trip is the fact that we are away from the normal distractions and activities of daily life.  To preserve this we ask that you please not use your phones on the trip other than as a camera.  

 
 

Substances

There is a strict no alcohol policy on TVOP trips. Smoking of any kind must be done away from the camping area and the group. (Absolutely no smoking allowed on youth trips). 

Know your Limits

The Venture Out Project adheres to the Challenge as Choice principles. By coming on this trip you are choosing to challenge yourself.  We are here to support you in that challenge and in return we ask that you know your limits and make sure that you are challenging yourself within your stretch zone and not into your panic zone.

Administering Hormones on the Trail

We recommend that you work with your physician to adjust the timing of your shot so you can do it before or after the trip because it is challenging to have a completely sanitary setting while backpacking.  However, if that is not possible, it is feasible to do your shot on the trail.  We ask that you carry a spare needle and syringe in case one gets broken.

 
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Classic vs. Experienced

To ensure you have the best trip possible, please review the two trip levels we offer and plan your wilderness in accordance with these levels. If you have specific question or concerns about a trip we offer, please contact us.

 
 
 

classic Trip

No prior experience needed

  • Average: 6 miles/day
  • Lunch: 30-40 minutes
  • Breaks: Typically one 5-10 minute break per hour. More often if necessary. 
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours per day
  • Terrain: Gentle, no more than 500'-1000' elevation gain per day.
  • Camp: Arrive around 3pm.                   

Experienced TRip

TVOP Advanced backpacking trips are physically and emotionally challenging.  They are designed to push you.  In order to ensure participant and group safety, all participants must have previous backpacking experience and have demonstrated ability to handle long days on the trail.  If this does not sound like you, please check out our classic trips.

  • Average: 10 miles/day
  • Lunch:15-20 minutes
  • Breaks: Typically one 10 minute break every 2 hours. More often on difficult terrain. 
  • Hiking Time: 8 hours
  • Terrain: Varied, rough terrain, could include 2000'-5000' elevation gain.
  • Camp: Arrive around 4-5pm.
 
 

Custom Trips

Custom trips allow you to tailor the experience to fit your group. The staff at The Venture Out Project will work with you to develop the right experience for your school/team/group/family/GSA/club.  You may be looking for a way to develop cohesion within your organization, you may want people to learn specific skills, or you may just be looking to bring a group of friends into the woods to have a good time out in nature.  Whatever the intent, The Venture Out Project can help you design the trip of your dreams and we'll take care of all of the logistics and safety issues so all you have to do is enjoy your adventure .

Examples of a custom trip:

  • 7-day school backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail
  • Backcountry skiing in the Rockies
  • 3 Day backpacking trip to the White Mountains
  • Mountain biking in Moab or the Tsali trails in North Carolina
  • Teambuilding workshop on a high ropes course in Vermont

Contact us to start planning your custom trip: travis@ventureoutproject.com