Distinctive Deer Hill
It’s a journey
A Deer Hill expedition is not a camp, or a tour; it’s a journey. We design 15 to 28-day summer programs for teenagers completing grades 7-12. Each expedition combines awe-inspiring wilderness adventures with opportunities to connect with native cultures in a meaningful way, or work on projects that preserve the pristine beauty of the West. At Deer Hill, you are not chaperoned by your leaders. You steer the rafts, read the maps, belay your climbing partner. And with 27 years of backcountry guiding experience, you can trust us to teach you to do things right. Expand your horizons, learn new skills, make close friends, get inspired, touch a world that is different from your own. These are the ingredients of a journey to remember.
We are a community
We are a family company, still run by founders, Doug and Beverly Capelin, who are intimately involved in all aspects of our programs along with two full-time directors. Most of our guides have been with us for 5-10 years, some of them as participants when they were teenagers. Each summer, around 120 young people join the Deer Hill community. We stay in touch. Since 1985, we have enjoyed personal friendships with public land agents and numerous Native American families. Although we are primarily an expedition company, our 130-acre Basecamp facility infuses Deer Hill with a sense of place for our students as well as in our local community. This is all “value added” to your journey with us.
We are all about quality
Deer Hill is one of the most experienced and respected expedition providers in the business. Our standard group size is 12 students, close in age, with three leaders – an industry leading 1:4 staff-to-participant ratio – because this ensures the most personal attention and the most fulfilling experience. The average age of our program leaders is currently 28, and most of them have been working with us for years. We train our staff ourselves, use our own high-quality equipment, and do not outsource activities to subcontracted outfitters. This is extremely rare in the world of teenage adventure programs, but we consider the extra cost and other demands to be absolutely worth it to ensure the quality of the experiences we deliver.
In fact, Deer Hill is one of a select group of organizations accredited by the Association of Experiential Education (AEE), the same organization that accredits the National Outdoor Leadership School and Outward Bound. Deer Hill meets hundreds of standards in risk management, staffing, and educating. Ask other programs about their accreditation and how they ensure quality. Learn more about our accreditation.
Diversity is vital
Other companies pay lip service to diversity. We ensure it through the Deer Hill Foundation, which helps high potential, low-income young people from different backgrounds be a part of Deer Hill. We know from experience that the more diverse the people, the more real and profound the journey. Another key part of the Deer Hill mission is cultural interaction with the diverse native cultures who live in our corner of the world. We consider these families and communities to be members of the Deer Hill family, and many of them have been enriching our programs and sharing their culture with Deer Hill participants for two decades. For more information about our Foundation and scholarship opportunities, click here.
“It was by far the greatest experience of my life. The independence, the teamwork, the leaders, the wilderness, and the people are what made it so fantastic. These are people who I never want to lose touch with.” Jessica, Brookline, MA