ALP Information

How do I apply to the Adirondack Leadership Program?

  1. Submit an application online.
  2. After we have reviewed your application, we will contact you about acceptance into the ALP program. Confirmation of a spot in the ALP requires a $100 deposit.
  3. Once we have received your deposit, we will send out an acceptance packet with more information about preparing for the program.

Who can be involved in ALP?
ALP participants are high school students interested in developing as leaders and as persons. They like the adventure setting and want to learn how to grow in their leadership. Participants come from the North Shore of Boston and beyond. The ALP program is a bridge program between adventure campers and the junior counselor program at La Vida Adventure Camp. However, ALP participants are not required to have attended Adventure Camp in the past.

What is the ALP schedule?
Thursday                        Registration (Meet at 8:45 a.m.) & ALP Departure for La Vida Base Camp        Friday                             Team Training at La Vida Base Camp 
Saturday                         Rock Climb in the Adirondack's
Sunday-Wednesday       Canoe or Backpacking Expedition
Thursday                        Solo and Reflection
Friday                             Expedition End and Celebration
Saturday                         Final Challenge and Drive to Gordon
Saturday                         Camper Pickup at Jenks at Gordon College (Meet at 7 p.m.)

Are meals provided?
All meals are provided except for lunch on the travel days to and from New York. For these travel days, participants should bring $10–20 for food.

How many participants will be on an ALP expedition?
Groups range from 6–10 participants per group and two leaders per group. These small groups allow for participants to be active in the group, form new friendships, and learn new leadership skills hands-on.

Are there male and female counselors who can meet the potential personal gender needs of participants?
Yes, each group has leaders, as well as one female and one male La Vida Sherpa. The average student to leader ratio is 4 or 5:1.

Is the program safe?
Safety is very important to us. La Vida has been running for over 40 years and has had a very good safety record. La Vida has not had a problem with any issues listed below. If you have additional questions about this program, please contact our office at 978.867.4111 or email

If I'm afraid of heights, do I have to rock climb or rappel?
No, every activity is "Challenge by Choice." We encourage you to try everything, but you determine what you do and how far you go in climbing or rappelling.

What is meant by "challenge by choice"?
La Vida has redefined success. It is not always dependent upon completion and is not based on comparison. No experience or super physical strength is needed, just a desire for growth, adventure, and fun. All we ask is that you give every challenge your best effort. We believe in the "power of encouragement" to equip people and will not use nor allow the use of peer pressure to coerce people.

Will we travel every day on the expedition?
You will be hiking or canoeing most days of the expedition part of the ALP program. This means that you have chances to see the mountains, lakes and rivers of the Adirondack State park, develop your backpacking or canoeing skills, set up camps at different sites, and become efficient wilderness travelers. You will carry all your gear as you travel to different campsites. Occasionally, ALP participants also complete a day hike.

Where will we sleep?
Most nights you will have tents that are segregated by gender. Under some circumstances you will spend the night in a lean-to or under a group tarp. 

Are there snakes?
There are very few snakes in the Adirondacks due to the cold climate, and no poisonous ones anywhere La Vida groups travel. In 40 years not one poisonous snake has been sighted.

Are there ticks that give Lyme Disease?
Infected ticks are concentrated on Long Island, along the lower Hudson Valley, and in the Capital District. There has never been a recorded case of Lyme Disease attributed to the Northern Adirondacks.

What is the solo like?
The solo is a unique chance to step back from normal life and realize what is important to you, set goals for the future, and realize what you are thankful for in your life. Participants are placed around 100 feet away from each other and given a significant amount of time to be by themselves to read, journal, pray and be in nature. Participants also have the opportunity to fast during this time.

Do I have to fast on the solo?
No, it is "Challenge by Choice" but the majority of people do fast on their solo—unless they are diabetic, hypoglycemic, or have an eating disorder. If you choose not to fast, food will be provided or you can do a partial fast with a smaller amount of food. Your leaders will prepare you, support you, and ask that you give it a try. They will be checking on you a few times during the day. Fasting has a long history and many others before you have chosen to try it. It is a chance to give up something so that you can understand your life, others, and faith in a context that is different from everyday life.

Are there any showers?
No, there is no running water while you are on the expedition. You may clean up in a stream, but soap (and shampoo on a rare occasion) can only be used 150 feet away from any lake, river, or stream. You will have plenty of opportunity to rinse off in the water. In addition to this, you can bring baby wipes and hand sanitizer with you on the expedition. You will be able to change into clean clothes before returning to Gordon College.

What is the final challenge?
La Vida ends the ALP program with a final challenge run. This run is not a race. You may want to challenge yourself and run the whole way for your own personal record or you may run with a small group or a buddy. Many do not run the whole way, but run a little and then walk some. Again, all that we ask is that you do your best.

If I hurt myself, who is qualified to help me?
Your leaders will be certified by the Wilderness Medical Associates at the Wilderness Advanced First Aid or Wilderness First Responder level. The Department of Environmental Conservation Rangers in the Adirondacks can also be called in for emergencies and there are phones posted at ranger stations throughout the park.