Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Last Updated: June 15, 2020
We will update this page as needed.
In these uncertain times rest assured that the safety of our participants and employees is our single biggest priority. This remains top of mind as it always has and always will. Over the course of our 37 years, we’ve proactively managed many global emergencies and have done so while maintaining our reputation for consistently operating teen summer programs of the highest quality.
Since 1982 we have been on a mission to help teenagers venture outside of personal comfort zones, experience beautiful natural settings and exciting cities, make lifelong new friends, while becoming the best versions of themselves. Although we are not operating travel programs this summer, we will be here with the same commitment for 2021! Thanks for your support during these most difficult of times. Stay healthy!
Which programs are running this summer?
Click here for our summer 2020 Pre-College Online Academy
Letter sent to our enrolled families
A final thank-you to all who would have been our summer family in 2020,
With tremendous sadness, we have now completed advising all enrolled families that we have cancelled our remaining programs for the summer of 2020.
From the initial report of Covid-19 out of China, through the devastating spread into Italy, and then to the second week of March when it overwhelmed the USA and Canada, we held out hope that the summer was still far off and it would be possible to operate our programs. We work all year long planning our programs to give our participants the opportunity to grow and thrive in a new environment. As well, teens need programs that allow them to just be teens, that is unwind, relax, have FUN and recharge their batteries from calendars jammed with extracurriculars and academic pressures. We were determined to provide these opportunities.
In the end, with the health of our participants, staff and the communities we visit and interact with as our number one priority, we could not operate. This is not because we believe in a risk-free environment, but because we invest so deeply in understanding, managing and minimizing risk as well as having emergency plans at every point of a program. Given the many unknowns including the virus itself, border crossings, mandatory quarantines that could be reinstated quickly even after removal, uncertainty with airlines and other suppliers, as well as regulations that could change suddenly, there were too many inescapable risks that could not be managed.
We are grateful to each and every one of you, our enrolled families! Your trust in our judgement and leadership is the greatest compliment. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we dealt with this most complicated and fast evolving challenge in as fair and best way possible for our many participants, parents, staff and suppliers. We appreciate your many wonderful emails of support!
To hang in as long as possible, we asked for support above and beyond normal from our summer leaders. As training weekends and program assignments were postponed, we were awestruck by their emails of diehard commitment and calls of support. They said just let them know and if we need them, they are ready. They love being with our teens! Mentoring them and in turn learning from them! Bonding with them! We saw these past months, now more than ever, just how very dedicated and committed our summer staff are to our mission and teens – to your kids! We look forward to you getting the benefit of their leadership and inspiration in 2021!
Over 37 summers, our greatest satisfaction has been the relationships built through our summer programs. These include so many lifelong friendships, some becoming college roommates, and even some marriages. So many of you are enrolled for a 3rd summer and beyond. We have had families do 10 trips with us over multiple children. Of special joy has been the number of parents who traveled with us in the 80’s and 90’s and are now sending their children with us as a tradition in the family! For the many returning alumni, we can’t wait to see you again! You know the tears from the farewell on the last night of our program captures just some of the emotional impact we are so proud of!
To those of you who have not yet been on one of our programs, we are so saddened for what you will miss and we especially look forward to meeting you and sharing our WCC magic and new friends with you in 2021!
Look out for our early enrollment savings to be online by August 1.
We are determined to make 2021 your greatest summer ever!
Stay safe and healthy!
From all of us at Westcoast Connection
Safety, Our #1 Priority
Westcoast Connection was built on making a tremendous investment in trip planning, safety protocols, staff training, and many other areas to eliminate as much preventable risk as possible. We closely monitor COVID-19 updates and use multiple sources to stay educated and make informed decisions, including the:
U.S. Department of State, Travel Advisories
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO, UK Government)
Smart Traveller (Australian Government)
We also consult organizations we are members of, including the National Tour Association (NTA) and Student Youth & Travel Association (SYTA).
Additionally, we subscribe to alerts and information from WorldAware, a leading provider of safety and risk management information.