SOAR has two Outdoor Education Centers – one located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Balsam, North Carolina, and the other in the majestic Wind River Mountains just outside of Dubois, Wyoming. In addition, we also offer programs in the Florida Keys, the Los Angeles area, Northern California, Belize, Costa Rica and in the Adirondack Mountains.
The Balsam Base is a modern facility designed with a rustic charm. The Lodge is the center of activity at Base. It houses the kitchen, business office, equipment room, recreation room, group meeting space and dining area. A bathhouse complex is adjacent to the Lodge with private bath and shower facilities, a group meeting room, and a twenty-four foot climbing wall. In close proximity to the Lodge are the low and high ropes course, activity field, and Adirondack-style shelters scattered throughout the woodlands of the base. These shelters serve as the student and staff living quarters while they are on base. When out in the field, students will sleep in tents at various campsite accommodations.
Eagle View Ranch is located four miles west of Dubois, Wyoming. The dining pavilion and riding arena are centers of activity at Eagle View. The dining pavilion is constructed of lodgepole pine and houses the kitchen, bath and shower facilities and covered dining area with fireplace. The Riding Arena not only has an unforgettable view of the surrounding mountain ranges, but also provides a wonderful venue for students to work on equestrian skills. The Eagle View Lodge sits on the lower property and houses the administrative office and classrooms. A second kitchen complex is adjacent to the Lodge as are the horse corrals and tack buildings. Several outfitter-style shelters and two tipis are scattered throughout the Douglas firs of the ranch and serve as student and staff living quarters while they are on base.
The Florida, California, and the Northeast courses utilize a number of campsites and campgrounds that offer bathroom facilities. Students will sleep in tents while on course.
If you will be driving to the course site, you will be provided with arrival times and directions in the Parent Handbook. Transportation may also be provided between select local airports and the course locations. If you child will be flying, we ask that you arrange airline arrival and departure times within a specific window, which is detailed in the Parent Handbook. Please check with the Admissions office prior to booking flights.
To Download SOAR's Transportation Policy as a PDF, click here.
To Download SOAR's Transportation Policy as a Word Document, click here.
A registration fee of $250 for each summer session should accompany the student application for guaranteed enrollment. The total fee balance, for all courses, is due two months prior to the start of each session for which a student is enrolled.
After June 1st, full payment must be received in order to confirm your spot in the course.
SOAR reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment.
Please review our Complete Financial Policy at www.soarnc.org/financialpolicy.html
Looking for ideas on a longer summer adventure? You can create your own summer plan by selecting desired courses and coordinating dates. Students may choose to remain at SOAR between sessions. Contact SOAR for assistance in program selection or click here to download "Multiple Course Tracks 2013".
Staying Between Courses
Students participating in more than one SOAR course are invited to stay at Balsam Base or Eagle View Ranch between courses. Activities are fun and relaxed as students recharge for their next course. There is a fee of $100 dollars per day which includes all activity costs.
The Registration Fee will only be refunded if the applicant is not accepted. Although the registration fee is non-refundable upon cancellation of a course, the fee may be used as a deposit for another course during the current season or as a deposit for a course during the next season only.
The balance of the tuition (minus the registration deposit) will be refunded according to the following schedule:
* Prior to 60 days - Full refund
* Between 30 and 60 days - 50% refund
* Between 15 and 30 days - 25% refund
* Within 15 days of course - No refund
Students may be removed from course due to a variety of reasons, injury or illness, behavior issues, family emergencies, or other factors. In the event a student leaves a course early, no refund will be given.
Limited scholarships for summer courses are available to students based on financial need. Applicants are encouraged to apply for financial aid early, as this fund is limited. Please contact our Admissions office for the necessary forms.
Equipment and Clothing
All expedition equipment will be furnished, with the exception of personal clothing, personal gear and sleeping bag. Upon acceptance, each participant will receive a complete Gear List.
Individuals in good physical condition can successfully complete every aspect of their course. The use of tobacco or illegal substances will not be tolerated.
NC Base Camp (828) 456-3435
P.O. Box 388, Balsam, NC 28707
Philosophy: SOAR believes all individuals identified with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) possess inherent talents and gifts. These abilities can mean incredible success in adulthood once these students negotiate the challenging obstacles of childhood, adolescence, and a traditional education system, usually unable to respond to individual learning styles.
Therefore, the SOAR model is based on two fundamental principles. First, youth with LD and AD/HD flourish when they are encouraged to focus on their strengths in an experiential setting. The second principle acknowledges that success can be generalized by encouraging our students to develop and utilize strategies, enabling them to compensate for those challenging characteristics of LD and AD/HD. To this end, SOAR staff strive to ensure success for each student across a wide range of experiences. Such success, in turn, builds essential self-esteem and self-confidence.
Based on these two foundations, SOAR participants develop problem solving skills, effective communication strategies, increased self-awareness, and social skills. Program activities include a broad base of wilderness adventure experiences that empower students to make healthy choices, learn more about themselves, overcome challenges, and establish relevance from these experiences to other aspects of their life.
SOAR's Specialty Courses are open to SOAR alumni and students with the maturity and experience level to be successful on the course. Acceptance is conditional on the approval of the course director. Most specialty courses are led by one of SOAR's year-round staff including Richard Peters, John Willson and Joe Geier.
SOAR’s programs are designed to allow students the opportunity to increase their independence while away from home. Independence is gained through self-motivation and life skills instruction. With this in mind, we involve our students in many decision making processes, such as setting individual goals, developing group guidelines, as well as trip and meal planning. This also comes into consideration when developing SOAR’s communication policy, detailed in our Parent Handbook.
SOAR is dedicated to serving the needs of individuals with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) and is proud to be the finest: