NBTSC Refund Policy 2020
(Please also see our page regarding NBTSC & COVID-19.)
Here’s our detailed refund policy, in the hopes of being very, very clear. Occasionally somebody gets mad at us (even mean, sometimes) because we don’t give all their money back. The truth is that we do most of our work and incur many of our expenses long before camp, and we often expend a lot of time and energy on individuals who later choose not to attend. Please, don’t register for camp unless you are okay with this policy.* Thank you oh so very much.
*We suggest looking into camp cancellation insurance if you want more security than we are able to offer. (One easy option is to get insurance through CampDoc, our online registration provider. We do not know enough about this insurance to recommend it over others, but it is convenient for some families to purchase it while signing up for camp. NBTSC does not receive any of the proceeds from these sales.)
How to cancel
Contact our main office to let us know that you won’t be coming. Postal mail must be received (not just postmarked) by the dates mentioned below; hence, email or phone is usually the best way to cancel.
Cancel on or before March 31
We return all but $60 of your deposit(s), even if you registered for more than one session. (Yes, we know we call it a non-refundable deposit. Generally speaking it is exactly that, but this early in the year we are happy to return part of it.)
Cancel between April 1 and the cancellation deadline
We return anything you have paid above your $150 per-session non-refundable deposit. We are very busy during this time, and may not mail your check for a few weeks. If you haven’t received it within a month, please prompt us. You forfeit your entire $150 non-refundable deposit, for each session of camp you had registered for. However, if it is important to you to try to get some of your deposit back, you may send us an email explaining your circumstances. (Make sure to include the words “NBTSC deposit refund request” in the subject line.) We will hold onto your request until after the camp season is over in the fall and then consider. If it turns out that the session(s) you had registered for filled up, we will consider your situation individually and at our discretion we may refund up to $90 of your deposit for that/those session/s.
Oregon: July 1
Vermont: August 1
Cancel after the cancellation deadline
We do not give any refunds until after our camp season is over. (It’s over in the fall and then we look at our finances and by around early November, we figure out what is possible.) At that point, we give refunds thusly:
1) Anyone who got contagiously sick enough at the last minute that we asked them not to come to camp at all* gets a refund of all but $160 per session. (This applies only to contagious diseases, not broken legs or non-contagious illnesses, even severe ones. We may require a signed statement from a healthcare provider.)
PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: if a camper who is registered for more than one session gets sick during an earlier session and then cancels their later registration/s, we may choose not to issue a refund. Ask us if you want us to explain the rationale behind that.
*Often a sick camper recovers in time to come late to camp, and we do encourage this when travel distances and expenses are not prohibitive. (We follow CDC guidelines, meaning that after a person has been symptom-free for a specific length of time, we welcome them at NBTSC. While in normal circumstances we do not allow campers to arrive after our orientation meetings and activities, we are sometimes able to offer an individualized orientation program so that we can integrate previously-sick folks partway through camp.)
2) Full worktraders don’t get any of their $150 non-refundable deposit back. It’s difficult for us to reconfigure the worktrader lineup this late in the season.
3) Worktrading (not just full-worktrading) campers who cancel do not normally receive refunds. (When worktraders cancel after our cancellation deadline, this is extremely inconvenient for us – and typically results in extra work for logistics and kitchen staff.)
4) For campers other than worktraders: If your session/s of camp filled up, we retain your $150 registration deposit/s, but refund everything else.
5) If your session was not full: except for contagious folks whom we ask not to attend (see #1 above), we do not give refunds except (at our discretion) in catastrophic, rare, and/or extreme circumstances (see below). Think of it this way: by registering, you contract with us to prepare a place at camp for you, and doing so means that we incur a significant financial obligation ourselves. (We sign contracts with our sites for lodging, purchase supplies, hire staff, and pay for administrative, organizational, planning, and preparatory work.) If it turns out your plans change and you can’t make it to camp, that’s a bummer and we’re sorry and we’ll miss you, but we still had to buy the stuff, sign the contracts, hire the people, and pay the administrators and helpers who plan and prepare for camp.
Something truly catastrophic happens
(Someone in your family is told they have 6 months to live; a dam breaks and your house is underwater; you acquire an extremely serious health condition that makes camp impossible or life threatening for you; etc. )
By all means, contact us! We’re not heartless. We may ask for some kind of documentation and explanation, and we’ll be more flexible if we hear from you sooner rather than later, but if you can’t explain before camp, do so afterward. We’ll consider your situation individually. (Please email us, including the words “NBTSC Refund Request” in your subject line.)
What happens to your prepaid T-shirts, books, field trips, etc.?
We automatically refund them. We don’t ship these items. (But if you have a sibling or close friend coming to camp, and they are willing to transport your T-shirt, books, hoodie, etc., you can inform Maya and we’ll tag your items with your sibling’s/friend’s name. If that sibling/friend neglects to pick up your stuff, we don’t offer a refund or shipping at that point.)
No refunds for partial camp attendance
We do not give refunds when someone chooses to leave camp part way through, whether due to illness, homesickness, or any other reason. Virtually all of our expenses are incurred before the start of the camp session. Also, the staff typically spends a lot of extra time with these individuals before they leave. We are more than happy to do so, but tend to get irritated if they later ask to have their money back.
Similarly, we cannot give refunds to people who have registered for more than one session if they choose during their first session not to attend another session. (Unless that session fills up anyway – see above.)
What if you don’t get your information or money in on time and don’t contact us to work out alternate arrangements, and don’t respond to our attempts to contact you, and we eventually cancel your registration?
You don’t get your deposit back.
How to change a registration from one session to another
Contact us. Your deposit and other camp fees will be applied to the session of your choice. After March 31st there will be an additional fee as follows:
Between April 1st and the cancellation deadline for the earliest of the two sessions involved, $35.
After the cancellation deadline for the earliest of the two sessions involved, $100 per switch.
What if you’ve canceled, requested a refund beyond our normal policies, and are anxious about what we will decide?
We understand! It can be uncomfortable to live with any kind of financial uncertainty, especially when your family is also dealing with health or other issues that caused you to cancel in the first place.
Please, try to also understand that we cannot consider refunds (except those in keeping with our regular procedures spelled out above) until the fall, after our camp season ends and we are able to look carefully at our bank account and see what is feasible. Contacting us repeatedly before this time does absolutely nothing to hasten a refund nor to improve the chances of getting one. Sometimes we feel a bit harassed by these unnecessary and repeated (and sometimes rather bossy) reminders, although we do our best to just take a deep breath and remind ourselves that folks don’t mean to be unkind; they’re mostly just worried and uncomfortable.
What if NBTSC needs to cancel an event?
In the unlikely event that NBTSC needed to cancel an entire session due to extreme weather or some other large and unforeseeable event, we would return all camp tuition. We would not, however, be able to cover any additional expenses you had already incurred, such as airfare. (But, you should know that we’re good at rolling with Life. In 2011, when Hurricane Irene forced our Vermont hosts to cancel our reservation a few weeks prior, our admins Sarabeth and Matt hustled until they found us a new site just 115 miles away in New Hampshire. Since most campers travel to Vermont by car, they were able to simply drive to New Hampshire instead. We arranged van transportation at no extra cost for all the folks whose buses and trains took them to Vermont.) We promise to continue to do our best to keep camp happening, but of course we are not omnipotent. By signing up for NBTSC you do participate in some risk, which alas, seems to be part of human life on planet earth. Some folks like to mitigate this type of risk by purchasing trip cancellation insurance from a reputable agency.