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A Little More About Us…
GO WEST!!! USA is not designed to correct "bad" behavior, but instead to be a haven of enthusiasm, respect, trust and responsibility.  Disrespectful behavior requiring extensive attention or breaking the law is not acceptable and will result in dismissal. Click here to download a copy of our Youth Application which clearly defines the boundaries of our program.

GO WEST!!! USA is not just a three week vacation for the teens who participate. They must demonstrate a willingness to work together, before and during the expedition.  They must participate in the fundraisers and  community service events. During the expeditions, the teens must (all chores are supervised and/or taught):

  • Fuel the Vehicles

  • Wash dishes

  • Setup/Break Camp

  • Wash Vehicle

  • Hike over 100 miles

  • Cook Meals

  • Check Tire Pressure

  • Change Motor Oil

  • Carry Firewood

  • Change Tires

  • and much more!

With an introduction to:

  • Astronomy

  •  Forestry

  • Orienteering

  • Guitar 101

  • Nature Photography

"Many of our teens here in Central PA have never even seen a starry moonlit night. "   
 - Rob

Our Expeditions are both physically and mentally challenging, but in the end we fully expect the experience to be one of the most rewarding in the lives of the teens who participate.

PROGRAM DETAILS

Overview

GO WEST!!! USA  mixes hands-on service, adventure living, active exploration, and close camaraderie. Teens and staff live together as a small group (12 to 15 students and 2 leaders).

Our main emphasis is to re-introduce our youth to their natural surroundings, while instilling a sense of responsibility and teamwork. There is still ample time to play and wind down throughout the days and weeks. Because you are learning naturally and dynamically on so many levels, the potential rewards are significant.

While each expedition differs distinctly from another, all GO WEST!!! USA programs share firm underpinnings.

  • Long-standing ties at program sites and daily immersion in local life, wherever that may be
  • A natural sense of place and deeper understanding of the culture attained by living in a community throughout the program
  • Careful preparation – our leaders have visited every site, ensuring smooth transition into a functioning program environment
  • Considered year-round planning underpins an intentionally well-rounded experience that blends work, cultural exchange and broad-based, challenging exploration
  • Working together throughout our expeditions, teaches so many valuable life lessons. The young men and women work together and for many this will be their first taste of “real” responsiblity and accomplishment.
  • The teaching of technical skills applied successfully to ambitious, collaborative projects
  • High caliber, diverse leaders who return year after year

We realize that as interested parents you may have many questions about GO WEST!!! USA and our programs. Hopefully the information below will help to answer those questions. If you would like more information or have specific questions, please contact us.

On a GO WEST!!! USA Expedition, teens will share unforgettable experiences with a small group of people in their age group. They will have the unique opportunity to travel across the country and set up camp in scenic places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, various ghost towns, Indian reservations and many other wonderful places. We travel in specially customized vans that are equipped with all the necessary camping gear. All your teen needs is a sense of adventure and a sense of humor! Each expedition is accompanied by a trained expedition leader/driver who will also arrange optional activities such as trail rides, mountain biking, river rafting, etc.

Meals are prepared each day by the teens.  Cuisine includes barbecued chicken & steaks, pasta, salads, and vegetarian meals too! All expeditions offer a very unique opportunity for independent-minded, young-at-heart youth who are looking to explore off the beaten track. GO WEST!!! USA adventures open up a diverse continent for your teen to explore.  Whether on the highway or on some back-country dirt road, your teen will see the sights worth seeing!

Adventure
Teens have the chance to travel just like the pioneers that crossed this country in covered wagons! GO WEST!!! USA attracts responsible young people looking for adventure and the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone by meeting new people and seeing different cultures. These expeditions are not easy or predictable, which adds to the rich spirit of adventure.

Small Groups
Traveling in small groups of no more than 12 people gives your teen not only lots of freedom, but also the feeling of traveling with close friends. In fact, on a GO WEST!!! USA Expedition, teens will be traveling with friends! A large percentage of our young people come to us not knowing anyone else in their small group. The friendships your teen will make with fellow GO WEST!!! USA adventurers last a lifetime.

Our Experienced Expedition Leaders
The expedition leaders driving our GO WEST!!! USA vans are carefully selected, trained and certified. Expedition leaders are not just tour guides. They are adventure expedition specialists, and they are there to help you with any questions or problem you may have along the way.

Our Flexible Itineraries
We’ve allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our expeditions. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our expeditions so exciting. However, we do everything possible to avoid the kind of surprises that you might encounter if you traveled on your own, such as wasting time driving to find an attraction.

Our Custom Vans
GO WEST!!! USA operates specially equipped vans. Each van is chosen specifically to meet the specific demands of the type of travel. They are equipped with powerful engines and have automatic transmissions, stereo cassette sound systems, tinted windows, plush cloth cushioned seats, carpeted interior and air conditioning (limited use only). Our drivers check the vehicles daily according to a checklist. The vans are thoroughly serviced every three weeks and a general overhaul is performed every 3 months.  We have our own operating and maintenance facilities. These measures add up to the best preventative maintenance program possible.  Please note that that smoking is not permitted in the GO WEST!!! USA vans at any time!

Travel Route
Our expedition is well planned, but not down to the smallest detail.  It is possible to stay longer at a beautiful place or choose a different route at any time.  We also always allow ourselves time to spontaneously join in on any festivities, watch a rodeo, or try out our skills at roller skating on the beach course at Santa Barbara.  Everyone has a say in what we do, which makes our way of traveling so interesting. Please be aware, however, that America is a large country and we have to spend a lot of time driving. We have included the most popular sites for our expeditions, but there are many more possibilities.  GO WEST!!! USA gives your teen the choice!

Overnight Camping Accommodation
Two to four people share one roomy tent. We always spend the nights at selected campsites (except hotel nights). If possible, we camp in national parks, by lakes, or by the sea. Even if your teen has never been camping before, he or she will definitely enjoy our comfortable tents. Campsites in the USA and Canada are typically set up on large grounds and are well equipped. You will not only find toilets and showers (sometimes a charge), but often laundry and shopping facilities as well. Some even have a swimming pool!

Baggage
All baggage is transported on the van’s roof rack. We advise your teen to bring tough bags because small scratches and minor damage can occur. All your teen has to bring with him or her is a pillow, hiking boots, and personal belongings (don’t forget warm clothes for cold nights and bad weather) – but please don’t bring too much!

Special Hints
Since teens will want to experience as much as they can in the time we have available, it is best to prepare your teen for considerable driving between some of these highlights. There is a considerable choice of attractions in the daily travel program, but we try to focus on one or two per day. Adventure travel offers us some unexpected surprises at times, for example, bad weather and poor road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may require teens to make the best of the unique situation that we encounter. A spirit of adventure and flexibility will help make the adventure expedition an exciting and unforgettable experience!

Hotel Accommodation
On an expedition you may spend a night or two in selected tourist class hotels, many of which are equipped with TV, air-conditioning, telephone and sometimes a pool and recreational facilities.

Climate
Big differences in temperature between day and night during parts of an expedition may occur depending on the time of year and region you choose for traveling. Weather conditions may eventually result in itinerary changes. A wider selection of temperature details is given in our pre-departure information, which you will receive with your travel documents.

Expedition Start/Welcome Meeting
On the 1st day of the travel program teens will meet their expedition leaders and the rest of their team at a designated time and meeting point to start an exciting expedition.

Meals & Participation
Participation is a key part of the GO WEST!!! USA experience.  Helping with the day-to-day campground chores is all part of the fun! Teens will take turns cooking. We usually cook our evening meals together on our own stove, or we barbecue our food over the campfire. We buy our food in local supermarkets and share the cooking responsibilities in a rotating system. Of course we might also eat in restaurants where available. Traveling with a GO WEST!!! USA expedition leader also gives teens the opportunity to visit the restaurants where the locals eat! Try out many different styles of food such as Southern Fried Chicken, Cajun Jambalaya, Texan Ribs, Tex-Mex Fajitas, and the original American Hamburger. Special diets for vegetarians or ethnic/religious groups are also available. Just let us know!

Extra Costs
Extra meals, optional activities, and personal expenses are not included in the expedition.

Insurance
You take full responsibility for insurance matters. For this kind of travel you must have insurance against accidents, sickness, emergency return expenses, cancellation fees and insurance for lost or damaged luggage. It is a condition of booking that all young people have sufficient insurance before departure.

The Most Fun You Can Have
On all of our expeditions teens can participate in a wide variety of exciting optional activities as described below. Since not every passenger wants to participate in the same activities, they are not included in the expedition price. All these activities are offered by local operators and as such, are not an integral part of our expeditions – you just book and pay for them on the spot!

Hiking
Hike through burning deserts and colorful canyons. Explore the variety of natural wonders-off the beaten track!

Riding
Saddle up and ride through bizarre landscapes – get to know the real American nation on horseback! Spend a thrilling night under the magnificent stars with a horse by your side.

Rafting
Experience the challenge of rafting through carved rock canyons, on America’s wild and scenic rivers. One to three day thrilling expeditions are available to quench your thirst for white water action!

Water Sports
Learn to water ski, Jet Ski, or ride a wave runner over the crystal-clear waters of deep, flooded canyons!

Biking
Feel the wind in your face as you mountain bike through slick rock landscapes!

Other optional activities:
Space Needle, Steam train, Omni dome, Sea World San Diego, Mexico shopping, Roller-skating, Riding, Water-skiing, Boat rental, River rafting, Canoeing, Bicycles Rides, Lobster and Clambake, Mountain biking, Air and Space Museum, Horse farm., Country Music Hall of Fame, Wet N Wild, Cave and Mine tour, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Swamp tour, Gold panning, Boat tours, Glacial flight, Jasper Tramway, Salmon fishing,  Bush Gardens, Edison Winter house, Los Angeles and San Diego Zoo, St. Louis Arch, And much more!

Professional Staff
We have the right Expedition Leaders for your group. All Expedition Leaders are specially trained in handling group arrangements, and they have full support from our Home Office at all times.

Our Expeditions are for You
As GO WEST!!! USA is a nonprofit organization, we gladly accept donations and we will never turn anyone away solely based on their inability to pay for the expedition. v

Discover America
Our unique combination of sightseeing and adventure activities creates an expedition that takes teens to big cities, National Parks, beaches, small towns and many places off the tourist routes. Hike in deep canyons and up high mountains; explore hot deserts and cool lakes; enjoy bright lights and sleepy towns. Our aim is to provide teens with a first rate experience and a unique and unforgettable expedition. We will give teens a flavor of the true essence of this great and diverse country. It’s not always easy, but we love it and know that your teen will too!

Our aim is to give teens a rewarding and challenging summer. At the end of each expedition, we ask group members to fill out evaluation questionnaires for comments and feedback.