Policies & Procedures
If you have questions about our policies and procedures, please ask!
We believe that the Vermont Wilderness School’s programs should be available to everyone who wants to attend, regardless of individual circumstances. The Great Blue Heron Scholarship Fund provides tuition reductions for VWS programs. Most scholarships provided are discounts of 10-30% of the low end of the sliding scale, but we consider all requests. We ask you to provide a short written description of your scholarship request. We do not ask you to provide evidence of income level or other personal financial information. Please ask for only what you need.
To request a scholarship:
- Complete a registration form for the program in which you’d like to participate. The registration form asks you to indicate the amount of scholarship money you are requesting.
- You must also provide a refundable deposit at the time of your registration. If you are unable to submit a deposit or complete an online registration form, please give us a call or email.
- The deadline for scholarship requests is specified on the relevant program’s webpage. We may be able to offer scholarships after that time, but your best bet is to make your request before this deadline.
- We will respond to your request within one of the scholarship submission deadline. You then have one week after that to decide whether or not you plan to attend. If you choose not to, we will refund your deposit.
- If the scholarship deadline has passed, you can still request a scholarship. Please contact by email or phone to make after-the-deadline requests. Your chances will not be as good, because scholarship fund may already be empty.
Refund & Cancellation Policy
If you need to cancel your registration for a VWS program:
- Cancellations 4 weeks (28 days) or more prior to the program start date will receive a full refund, minus the deposit.
- Cancellations between 4 weeks (27 days) and 1 week (7 days) prior to the program start date, will be refunded at 50% of the program fee.
- Cancellations less than a week (6 days) prior to the program start date will not be refunded.
We do not guarantee a refund or discount if you choose to participate in only a portion of the program. This includes if you are dissatisfied with the program and choose not to complete it. However, we welcome your feedback and a conversation about whether a full or partial refund is appropriate.
Some years the local school districts extend school into late June to make up for snow days. If your child is registered for our summer camp and you receive news (usually in April) that school will be extended and conflict with camp, we will refund your deposit if you choose to withdraw. The deadline for this exception is the last day of May. If you choose to stay registered, and your child will miss the first day or more of camp, we do not offer a pro-rated camp tuition. This is because we still need to cover the costs of staffing and rental of the camp site for the entire week.
The purpose of these policies is to keep VWS fiscally sound. The number of staff we hire, and the equipment and venues we rent, are based on the number of registered participants. If you cancel, especially in the week before a program, we have no way to recoup these costs. We understand that sickness and other unforeseen circumstances cause people change their plans. In these situations, please contact us as soon as possible, and we can discuss the available options. Sometimes there is a waitlist for a program, and someone can pay to fill your slot. Sometimes you can find a person willing to attend in the spot you paid for. We always try to work it out!
If Vermont Wilderness School needs to cancel a program session or sessions you or your family are registered for:
Multi-session programs. Examples:
- A week-long youth camp (e.g. Otter Camp, Shambhala Camp, April Break Camp, etc.)
- A long-term youth program (e.g. Foxwalk, Oyase, etc.),
- A long term adult course (e.g. Hunter’s Heart, Essentials for Resilient Community, etc.)
If a single day of a multi-session program is canceled due forces outside of the control of Vermont Wilderness School (e.g. inclement weather, Covid-19 social distancing requirements, etc.) and cannot be rescheduled, no refunds will be made for that session. If additional sessions are cancelled, VWS will offer program credit equal to the value of the missed sessions OR a refund equal to the value of the missed sessions minus a $10 processing fee.
Single-session programs. Examples:
- A single-session (typically 1 day long) non-residential program (e.g. Birding by Ear, Tracking in Winter, Track & Sign Evaluation, etc.)
- A multi-day residential program (e.g. Lynx Tracking Trip (3 days), Land Stewardship Camp (4 days), Art of Mentoring (5 days), etc.)
If a single-session program is canceled due to forces outside of the control of Vermont Wilderness School (e.g. inclement weather, Covid-19 social distancing requirements, etc.) and cannot be rescheduled, we will credit your payment toward a future program OR refund your payment minus a $10 processing fee. If a portion of the session is cancelled (for example if we have to end a program 1 or 2 days early due to severe weather), no refunds or credits will be provided.
How will you know if your program is canceled?
The program director will send you a message via email if a program or program session will be canceled. They will give as much notice as possible but unpredictable weather unfortunately requires last minute changes occasionally.
For parents of children enrolled in academic-year VWS programs: if the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union cancels school due to snow or hazardous weather, or if the sheriff declares the roads are closed due to hazardous conditions, our programs will be cancelled. If Supervisory Union issues a delayed start, we will still plan to open on time. However, we ask for your understanding if our instructors are delayed by road conditions. They will start as close to on time as possible. In addition, we encourage parents to travel only when you feel it is safe.
You can check here for current school closings.
Late Pick-Up Policy
Our staff have families, too! If your child remains in our care beyond the appointed pick up time we reserve the right to charge you for the additional supervision costs incurred. The cost is $10 for each fifteen minute-increment. By signing the registration form you agree to this policy and agree to be charged accordingly.