Frequently Asked Questions

AYF's Response to the Coronavirus

This page offers answers to your questions related to COVID-19 updates. Please review this message from the AYF’s statement on summer 2020 programs. We hope the information below will answer many of your questions. Please reach out to a Director or Registrar with additional questions.

This first section is a very quick review of the most important information. If you scroll down or click each section title, you will be taken to more comprehensive lists of questions and answers.


Adventuring Daringly into the Unknown (Click for More)

  • Please visit our Best Self Every Day virtual options as we work to stay connected and build community in the months ahead.
  • Please help us by spreading the word of these virtual options and the changes in program offerings to all in your network.

Enrollment and Program Questions (Click for More)

  • The AYF works in conjunction with local schools, so camp dates for summer 2021 will be set as schools release their 2020-2021 calendars. We will let you know summer 2021 dates as soon as we are able.

Four Trails Questions (Click for More)

  • We plan to honor your progression through the Four Trails program. We’ll be taking the coming months to define what this might look like and plan to reach out to individual program areas soon.

Financial and Refund Questions (Click for More)

  • Refunds for Merrowvista and Miniwanca camp programs will occur first; followed by refunds for the National Leadership Conference a week later.
  • You will receive communications for refunds for camp and Conference separately if you are enrolled in both.

Seasonal Employment Questions (Click for More)

  • We are ready to begin hiring for summer 2021 today!


Adventuring Daringly into the Unknown


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Since there isn’t going to be onsite programming, what can we expect instead? And how will the AYF support its community this summer?
  • As the season unfolds, we will be developing programming at a distance via “Best Self Every Day”.
  • We are working on building forums where campers can connect with their peers and we have every intention in gathering in community in whatever way can.
  • We also assume that our campers themselves will help to inform how we best do this by sharing what they’re most interested in. We look forward to hearing their voice and welcoming their creativity!
  • Please click the “Submit a Suggestion” link at the end of this page to submit your ideas.

How can I support my child in the weeks ahead? My child is feeling down, what can I do?
  • Please encourage them to attend our staff facilitated conversation groups in the upcoming weeks. You learn more via Merrowvista’s Virtual Valley and Miniwanca’s Cyber Sand Dunes.
  • We encourage you and them to invite their camp friends to attend as well. This way, the conversations they’re having with their peers will be facilitated and we can work to help steer them in a healthy direction.
  • Using these forums, we will also share resources and sources of inspiration and support to help us all learn how to navigate these unprecedented times.
Who knows about these changes?
  • We have made a strong effort to communicate to all of our stakeholder groups, but we assume that there are some people who are not yet in the know for a variety of reasons. Please share this news with all who would be impacted by this decision.
Is the AYF okay? Is there a way I can help?
  • These are difficult times. This pandemic-induced program interruption has meant the elimination of nearly all program revenue for this year and, as a result, the loss of need for 12 beloved staff members’ positions. In addition to these layoffs, our Senior Leadership Team has also taken a reduction in pay.
  • We are so grateful for the generosity of so many in our Founder Family. We also ask for your continued financial gifts to support our ongoing work, maintaining sites and systems to ensure our swift return to mission-supporting programs.
Will you need volunteers when this is over? How can I help?
  • Thank you so much for thinking of the AYF in these difficult times! There are several ways you can help. We are looking forward to offering fun, engaging, and creative virtual programs throughout the summer season and welcome your feedback and input.
  • When it is safe to do so, we will look to schedule work weekends and other community and volunteer events.
  • We anticipate many volunteer opportunities that will be available when we open programs again at Miniwanca and Merrowvista. Please stay tuned for more information about Volunteer Weekends and opportunities to volunteer for programs such as summer camps and the National Leadership Conference.
  • The AYF would gladly welcome a donation in support of our virtual programming efforts to continue supporting our mission of inspiring youth of all ages.
Can I come visit camp?

Recognizing the importance of giving people access to natural outdoor spaces, AYF has revisited our site usage policy. We have shifted our policy to make it possible for small groups of individuals to safely access the Miniwanca and Merrowvista grounds.

Important points:

  • You do not need a reservation or permission to visit sites.
  • Please adhere to the important notes on signage.
  • Buildings are locked and there is no electricity or bathrooms available.
  • Waterfronts are closed. Our boats and tubes are not available.
  • If you see AYF staff at work, give a friendly wave from a distance, but remember to observe precautions and stay 6 feet away for safety.
  • Please use common sense and leave no trace after your visit.
  • Enrollment and Program Questions


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    What program will my camper be in next year?
    • As we shape programming for next year our goal will be to meet as many needs as possible. We are going to be more flexible than ever in the hopes of honoring each camper’s progression through the camp program. We’ll be taking the coming months to define what this might look like and will be in touch as soon as we know more about next year’s programs.
    What happens to NLC participants years? How will this impact graduation and what “year” participants will experience in 2021?
    • We hope that this will have very little impact! We plan to do exactly what was planned for 2020 in 2021 instead.
    • NLC participants will stay with the same class and year that they were enrolled in for 2020. For example, if for this summer (2020) you were going to be a 2nd year, you will still be a 2nd year for the 2021 program. The plan is for each class together and for everyone to receive the full NLC experience.
    When will the dates for next summer be set?
    • The AYF works in conjunction with local schools, so camp dates for summer 2021 will be set as schools release their 2020-2021 calendars. We will let you know summer 2021 dates as soon as we are able.
    Will SSW and Family Camp be rescheduled?
    • Yes, we remain hopeful to offer these programs at a later date, but it is too early to say what this will look like. Stay tuned for details!

    Four Trails Questions


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    Will I be able to enroll in the same Four Trails program next year and will it be with my same trip group?
    • We plan to honor your own progression and your trip group’s progression through the Four Trails program. We’ll be taking the coming months to define what this might look like and plan to reach out to individual program areas (Explorer, Adventurer, Voyageur, Odyssey, and Vista) when we know more about next year’s programs.
    How will I know I am with the same group of friends next summer?
    • We encourage you to stay connected with your trip group through the Miniwanca or Merrowvista online slack communities found via the Best Self Every Day section of the website. If you need help contacting specific individuals within your trip group, please reach out to us directly and we can help facilitate that connection.

    Financial and Refund Questions


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    Can I get a refund? When will it be processed?
    • AYF will gladly refund your registration(s) in full with all fees waived. Due to the high volume of refunds, we will process refunds on or before May 15th, 2020. We apologize for any inconvenience.
    • We will be in touch with you directly to discuss your refund options.
    • We would be grateful for you to donate a portion of your tuition refund to help AYF to navigate this difficult chapter. More information will be available before the May 15 refund date.
    • Refunds for Merrowvista and Miniwanca camp programs will occur first; followed by refunds for the National Leadership Conference a week later.
    • You will receive communications for refunds for camp and Conference separately if you are enrolled in both.
    Can you apply my deposit for this year to next year?
    • Yes, absolutely! We will be in touch with you directly to discuss your refund options. You will have the option to roll your tuition payment forward to hold a spot for 2021.
    I'd like to defer my revenue to a future program, but what if there isn't an option my child wants to enroll in next year? Or what if I or my child change our mind later?
    • We appreciate the current challenges of planning for the future. At any point prior to February 1, 2021, AYF will fully refund you any funds that you are rolling forward. After February 1, 2021 AYF’s standard refund policy will apply.

    Seasonal Employment Questions


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    When will you begin hiring for next summer?
    • We are ready to begin hiring for summer 2021 today!
    • We hope that if you have been offered a position for this summer that you will immediately consider joining us for the season ahead.
    • Please reach out to your hiring director to secure your spot.
    Will there be ways for me to get involved or volunteer this summer?
    • Those of you who had planned to be on staff, we are looking to still engage you in healthy ways to support this community.
    • We appreciate that so many of you have offered to support.
    • We will look to find ways to tap your capacities and share your gifts!

    In the AYF, we sometimes quote Albert Camus, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” This pandemic is easily as hard as the darkest, bleakest days of winter. It is our deep hope that this situation will allow each of us to find that invincible summer within. Camus goes on to say, “And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” Our community, our values, and our practice of previous summers at Miniwanca and Merrowvista will all help you be your best now more than ever. A best self is built through the practice of living a balanced life; finding the mental, physical, social, and spiritual pieces of yourself that need attention and nurturing them. A best self, in turn, feeds and nurtures the surrounding community; seeking ways to support others and find support when needed. If anything, this experience proves that even distant from one another we are still connected. We hope that you will seek to be true to your own self this summer, to stay connected to your home, camp, and wider world communities, and that we can all, collectively, dare to make a positive difference.