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  • what is "a little alaska"?"
    "a little alaska" is how we refer to a short but immersive experience in cordova. our eclectic town features a perfect balance of civilization + wilderness, and lends itself well to sampling alaska in 9 or more fun-filled days. the 2024 year dates are not yet finalized. in addition, there is a two day ferry to anchorage add-on option. see the "how do i get to and from cordova" faq for more info on the ferry add-on option.
  • what is a typical day like?
    summer days are long in Cordova; it never gets fully dark, only dusky. at midsummer, it’s full daylight by 5am and light past 11pm, with twilight lasting for hours. in general, our participants enjoy the opportunity to explore the area on their own, collaborate with the group on the daily outing, participate in prepping meals, and meet new friends. a typical day consists of breakfast and clean up, an outing in town or in the wilderness with us, a sack lunch to eat while out adventuring and returning to our home where we'll regroup and have some downtime. depending on interest there is also one day for participants to plan themselves be it hanging out on our property or venturing on their own or in small groups (with facilitation by and keeping in touch with us). adults participate in all outings. in between the outings, there is time to venture out on your own. for example, when some of us are cooking dinner, others might walk to the local park for a spontaneous game of ultimate frisbee. at the first day welcoming and orientation session we will explain in more detail but basically, if you're going out and about let us know and let us know the estimated return time. the evening finds us gathering for dinner at our home and potentially more unsupervised free time after dinner, when you might decide to head to the grassy field to play soccer or into town to grab a milkshake. we may accompany participants because, hey...we like milkshakes too...but participants may also be unsupervised. we do not provide 24-hour adult supervision of participants. we do require participants to stay in touch and let us know if they are going out on their own and what their plans are. please see the "is experiencing a little alaska, in Cordova safe?" faq below for more information as well as the "how much unsupervised time is there" faq.
  • what kind of outings?
    each day centers around a planned outing. adults attend all outings. a sampling of potential outings include hiking to Crater Lake or the top of Mount Eyak; kayaking in Orca Inlet; walking near Sheridan glacier; canoeing Alaganik River; hanging out at GI Joe Island and swimming in the Eyak River; glacial mud bathing alongside the Copper River; a town day where we tour Main Street and the local museums, City Center and boat harbor. depending on group interest, one day can be an on your own - where individuals or small groups decide what they want to do with facilitation from and keeping in touch with us. outings are weather dependent and depending on weather and group interest may also include activities based out of our house such as smoking and canning salmon and making jam and cottonwood salve. because we are a small group, there is some flexibility and opportunity to customize your stay with specific interests you may have such as bird watching, wilderness photography, artist studio tours and wetlands restoration to name a few. let us know if you have specific interests and we can discuss it further when we meet one another in the videoconference that occurs after you complete your application.
  • is experiencing a little alaska, in Cordova, safe?"
    yes! the community of Cordova is a tight-knit one; very kid-friendly and safe for residents and visitors, alike. neighbors watch out for each other, people leave their property unlocked, and children travel freely to friends' homes and the town. cordova is frequently ranked as one of the top safest cities in Alaska. at the first day welcoming & orientation session we go over our common sense principles and ground rules, many of which cover safety. in general, participants must inform us of their planned destinations and estimated return during unsupervised time which occurs between the main group activity for each day. some destinations might be the slough down the hill from our house, the local library, local taco wagon, boardwalk trail above a pond at the hospital etc. Eric and Molly have cell phones that parents and participants can reach us on (barring unforeseeable out-of-service moments). we also ask participants to carry their cell phone (with our numbers programmed into it) in order to check in with us and in case of emergency. we encourage discovery and independence and we provide the space and freedom to achieve it, but for the sake of community and safety, we impose certain rules and ask that each person respects and agrees to these during our time together. these will be discussed in more detail during orientation, are in the "what is expected of me" FAQ and are also in the Code of Conduct each participant receives in the enrollment packet.
  • what about covid?
    we continue to monitor the recommendations regarding how to best keep ourselves and participants covid free. we do not require vaccinations or pre-travel testing. we have some rapid antigen tests available but recommend participants bring their own. masking is not necessary unless we go to venues that require it. we have an air filter for the bunkhouse. you can read more about it here. if we cancel the program due to another pandemic, like we did in 2020, you will be fully refunded.
  • what types of people enjoy a little alaska?
    we host teens aged 14-19 (flexible) from many different places, cultures and backgrounds. young people of any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender presentation; neurodivergent or not teens; and unschooled, homeschooled, and self-directed learners come to our community to be themselves while expanding their boundaries in the Last Frontier.
  • do I have to be an unschooler, homeschooler or self-directed learner to attend?"
    no, you do not need to be any of those to attend. we are unschoolers and give young people large amounts of freedom and responsibility (usually much more than traditional camps and schools) to design their lives as they see fit. if you feel you're able to handle and navigate that type of freedom responsibly, and are motivated and conscientious, we welcome you to join us. if you still have questions about this, feel free to contact us directly.
  • how many people participate in a little alaska?
    we invite teens from all over the world to join us in groups of 6-10 at our home and bunkhouse in Cordova. we find this size group to be ideal for facilitating a safe and quality experience; whether we're indoors or out, in one group, several, or spending time in solitude.
  • when can we visit a little alaska? how long will we stay?
    our 2024 session dates are june 19-june 27. the first and last day are reserved for arrival to & departure from cordova. the 7 days in-between are spent becoming a little alaskan. for those who want to ferry across Prince William Sound the day after the program ends, we offer a ferry add-on which includes a 7 hours ferry ride, an hour drive to anchorage, an overnight in anchorage and transportation to the anchorage airport. see the faq "how do i get to and from cordova" for more info on that.
  • how much does the experience cost? what does the price cover?
    our stay/play/learn time in a little alaska costs $1950 if you apply by March 31, 2024 and $2,250 for applications submitted after March 31, 2024. payment plans are available. the price covers full accommodation for the duration of your stay, all ground transportation including pick-up from and departure to the airport or ferry, all meals, laundry and detergent and all a little alaska sponsored group activities. for more information, please see the faqs "all this sounds fun and adventurous, how do I sign up?" and "what if i sign up, then discover i can't go?" below as well as our registration, payment & cancellation policy on our sign up page which can also be found here. we offer two BIPOC partial scholarship. see the "are there scholarships or discounts" faq for more info. new for 2024, we are able to offer one financial aid partial scholarships. details are being finalized.
  • what is not covered in the price?
    souvenirs, toiletries, electronic devices, chargers, batteries, other personal items and fees and activities not sponsored by a little alaska are not covered. the ferry add-on option is not covered in the price - see the faq "how do i get to and from cordova" for more info on that. attendees must also purchase their own transportation to and from Cordova.
  • how do I pay?
    we realize not everyone can plunk down the full fee at once and are open to working with you to make it feasible for you and your family. you can pay in installments at no extra charge. arrangements will be made on an individual case basis. there are multiple ways to send payment to a little alaska. you can pay by check, credit card, paypal, venmo and some cryptocurrencies. a check can be mailed to a little alaska, po box 1033, cordova, ak 99574. we can take your credit card info over the phone at 907 831-9146. for paypal, venmo and crypto, please email or call us. please see the "all this sounds fun and adventurous, how do I sign up?" FAQ below for more details. also, see our SIGN UP page for details on how to apply before considering payment and to access our registration, payment & cancellation policy.
  • are there scholarships or discounts?
    we offer two BIPOC scholarships. each scholarship is for half off the full program price, $1,125. if you identify as BIPOC and are interested in a scholarship, check the box on our application and submit your application by march 31. if we receive more than two requests for a BIPOC scholarship, in early april we will put all the names into a hat and pull out two names in a live drawing. after march 31, if there are any scholarships left they will be given out as applications are received. for planning purposes, after march 31 we will be unable to hold scholarship spots open - we will be filling each spot as applications come in whether a request for a scholarship has been made or not. for best chances of receiving a BIPOC scholarship, submit your application by march 31. we have a partial financial need scholarship planned for 2024 and are hammering out the details. if you are interested in this, check the box on your application. if you would like to make a donation for a financial need scholarship, please check the box on our application form or contact us at mollymulvaney@gmail.com
  • how do I get to and from Cordova?
    even though the town is on the mainland, there are no roads to and from Cordova. the only way to access the community is by plane or boat. Cordova has twice daily 737 jet service operated by Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines has a popular mileage plan credit card that often has a significant mile bonus upon signing up and after, a year, a low cost companion fare. they also offer an optional unaccompanied minor service for teens ages 13-17. alternatively, the Alaska Marine Highway system operates almost daily ferry service with a six and a half hour ferry from Whittier or Valdez on the M/V Aurora. while it's logistically tricky to get to Whittier and Valdez it's not impossible, especially if you are extending your time in Alaska and meeting family or friends on the Whittier or Valdez side. click on the highlighted text for links to more information about getting here. some participants are not able to leave cordova and get all the way home in a twenty four hour period. that can be handled in a variety of ways. some participants stay with relatives or friends at a halfway point like seattle. others have their immediate family meet them in anchorage or at a halfway point, spending a few days there and then returning as a family to their home. sometimes we are able to offer an add-on option to join us on the six and a half hour ferry ride across prince william sound from cordova to whittier the day after the program ends on the M/V Aurora. it is NOT an open ocean crossing. from whittier it's an hour drive along beautiful Turnagin Arm to anchorage where we spend the night. the following day we transport participants to the anchorage airport and facilitate connections. we offer this for a rate of $150.00 which includes the cost of a ferry ticket (currently $72), breakfast, lunch and dinner, overnight lodging, transportation to the ferry in cordova, from whittier to anchorage and to the anchorage airport the following day. this option is dependent on the ferry schedule and we are not always able to offer it. if you are interested we will discuss this in our initial video call.
  • can you accommodate minors that opt for an airline's Unaccompanied Minor program?
    as of last check, we can accommodate Unaccompanied Minor arrivals and Unaccompanied Minor departures. it's very easy for us to get to the airport and we have the staff capability to assist with departures (inlcuding waiting for a minor to board the plane). nonetheless, contact us before enrolling a participant that will require U.M. service in case U.M. policies have changed.
  • where will we stay? what's the lodging like?
    attendees arrive as guests, and immediately become part of our family. accommodations are our house and an octagonal basic bunkhouse with bunkbeds. the bunkhouse has heat, electricity and a compost toilet. there is a full bath with shower in our house. sleeping quarters are co-ed or separated by gender/gender identity depending on the preference of participants and their families. depending on the situation and family input, staff may or may not sleep in the bunkhouse. staff does routinely check to see that participants get decent sleep and respect each other's boundaries. the bunkhouse is located on our property about 20 feet from our home. our home is in town, a quarter of a mile from main street. participants have round-the-clock access to our home, including a full bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, deck and loft. tucker, a short haired cat lives in the house but does not occupy the bunkhouse. there might be an overnight stay in a US Forest Service cabin with an outhouse. the cabins do not have running water, electricity or flush toilets.
  • what kind of food can I expect?
    for the most part, we cook for ourselves and you can expect meals with meat (including local game and fish) and vegetarian options. if we know ahead of time that you are vegan and/or gluten or dairy free we can happily accommodate you. if your dietary habits are particular or unique, be prepared to choose from the more limited selection of food available in Cordova. please note this on your application and we'll discuss this with you during the videoconference that occurs after we receive your application. meals are available every day at our house although participants may elect to try one of the local restaurants; most establishments have some, but often limited, vegan and gf options.
  • can you accommodate special dietary needs?
    we will do our best. it will be up to you to describe in detail the full extent of the accommodations needed. we'll discuss this during the videoconference, so please be sure to note this on your application form.
  • I have a disability...can I come to a little alaska?
    we'd like to automatically say “sure!” but we’re not certain we can accommodate everyone. a good portion of our outings include hiking and other physically demanding activities. let’s talk about it and if we feel we can find a way to make it work, we will! if you have more questions about this, please contact us via email or phone.
  • what is expected of me at a little alaska?
    our values include respect, kindness, acceptance and personal responsibility: we respect each other, all creatures, and property we are kind to each other we accept people for who they are and what they believe in we take responsibility for ourselves, our well-being, our behavior and our words we encourage connection with one another but sexual activity is not allowed we foster a culture of open communication and collaboration we do not censor an opinion or use of swearing and profanity as long as it is used in the spirit of friendly conversation we will not tolerate hate, bigotry or disrespect of another human, being or culture on any level we're responsible for your safety so we do have some basic non-negotiable guidelines for unsupervised time that include letting us know where you are going, checking in with us while you are out and about and not being gone for prolonged periods of time. while we don’t have formal bedtimes, we ask that you act like a responsible young adult and not bother other people in the bunkhouse during the night. If we see that you’re not getting enough sleep to participate in our group activities, we’ll work with you to help you get rest. once accepted to a little alaska, you'll receive a code of conduct in your enrollment and welcome packet to review and sign. please let us know if you have any questions about this.
  • what is a little alaska’s policy on drugs, alcohol, and tobacco?"
    we have a zero-tolerance policy on the use of illegal drugs (including non-prescribed medications) and alcohol. ideally, even if you are of legal age, our preference is no smoking or vaping of tobacco products during your stay in Cordova. if you are of legal age and it is a hardship for you to not smoke or vape legal tobacco products, let’s talk. smoking and vaping are never allowed inside our home, bunkhouse buildings and vehicles, and are not allowed by participants under the legal age.
  • do I have to attend every outing?
    no, but we hope by committing to join us, you'll bring your desire to participate in as many things as possible in the spirit of discovery and support of other group members. even if it's outside your comfort zone or you're not very interested. at the same time, we recognize that quiet personal time is important, and if you want to just do your own thing that will almost always be an option.
  • is this experience affiliated with a religion?
    no, a little alaska is not affiliated with any organized or otherwise religion. we welcome all, whatever they believe or do not believe, and encourage thoughtful and respectful dialogue about spirituality and religion.
  • all of this sounds fun and adventurous. how do I sign up?
    the first step is to visit our "SIGN UP" page. there, you'll find a step-by-step explanation on how to apply to and register for a litte alaska. after meeting each other via video conference and being accepted at a little alaska, your next step is to make a $450 USD deposit to hold your space. this deposit must be received within 30 days of the email sent to you saying you've been accepted.the $450 deposit is not automatically refundable, although part of it might be depending on circumstances. please see our registration, payment & cancellation policy on our SIGN UP. in the same email, you'll receive enrollment paperwork including a packing list, code of conduct, medical questionnaire and a waiver and liability releases. the signed code of conduct, medical questionnaire and releases must be received by us within 30 days of the email sent to you saying you've been accepted. you can make payments. arrangements will be made on an individual case basis. all payment agreements will be outlined in the personalized enrollment paperwork we'll email you. you'll need to complete the paperwork and submit it with your deposit. final payments are due 2 months prior to the start date of each trip.
  • what if I sign up, then discover I can't go?"
    if you cancel the trip prior to 2 months before the start date of the trip, we'll fully refund any payment beyond the initial deposit of $450. there's a good chance we'll be able to refund some or most of the $450 deposit but we can't guarantee it. for cancellations after the 2 month cut-off date, we'll try to refund the payments made beyond the $450 non-refundable deposit, but can't guarantee it. if we're able to place another participant in your spot, there's a good chance we'll refund payments made beyond the initial $450 deposit. this refund is discretionary and if refunded, may not be issued until a few weeks after the end of the trip, as we'll be busy with preparations, the trip and post-trip restocking. the same applies to the $450 deposit. there's a chance we'll refund some of it but can't guarantee it. in summary, there is a $450 non-refundable deposit. payments made after that are fully refundable provided you cancelled the trip at least 2 months prior to the start date. after that there is no guaranteed refund of any payments. depending on circumstances, we may refund all but a partial amount of the $450 deposit. we understand unexpected things happen and if that is the case, we're willing to discuss the best way to handle the situation and are open to the possibility of refunding, but can't guarantee it. please understand we incur costs as we plan our time in a little alaska, and cannot provide a refund guarantee beyond what we have already stated. if we cancel the program due to circumstances out of our control such as a pandemic or a catastrophic fire you will be fully refunded.
  • what if I miss my plane or have other travel delays?
    we recognize there may be travel delays. we're less than two miles from the ferry terminal and thirteen miles from the airport, so it's easy for us to accommodate delayed schedules.
  • how much unsupervised time is there?
    a little alaska offers more freedom and responsibility to participants than a typical organized trip, tour, or camp geared to teens. we do not provide 24-hour adult supervision of participants. we do keep track of and in touch with participants who may, for example, decide to walk to a local restaurant or go elsewhere. we have outings planned for every day but one and adults attend the outings. in between the outings is time to venture out on your own, checking in with us before doing so, letting us know your plans and agreeing on a return time. unsupervised time takes place within walking distance of our house. depending on interest, we offer one day that is unscheduled where participants can make a plan on their own or with others. we'll facilitate those plans but will not necessarily be with each person or group for part of the day. please see the "is experiencing a little alaska, in Cordova safe?" faq above for more information as well as the "what is a typical day like" faq. if you still have questions about this, feel free to contact us directly.
  • is this one of those camps that doesn’t allow devices like smartphones and texting?
    not at all, how would you share memes or maintain streaks if you leave your devices behind? we won’t limit your use either. we know you won’t be on a device all the time because who really is? we’re confident you’ll be having fun doing lots of things with the group, including sharing memes. of course, if you don’t want to bring a device that's fine too.
  • bears?
    in all of our years exploring the wilderness of Cordova (and Kodiak Island, which has by far the highest concentration of brown bears in the world) we've never had a dangerous encounter with bears. we travel in big groups in the wilderness during our program, which in and of itself is a deterrent to bears in the wild. bears don't like to be surprised, and they don't like to be around humans. when bears become aware that humans are around, their instinct is to move away; this same instinct typically keeps bears out of town. at the first day welcoming and orientation session we'll cover wilderness safety in general and specifically bear biology and staying safe in bear country. all participants will be trained to use bear spray. we can’t guarantee you will see a bear, but when we do, we always marvel at the experience. for more info, we like this video, Staying Safe in Bear Country. if you still have questions about this, feel free to contact us directly.
  • what happens if I get sick while in Cordova?
    Cordova has a fully functioning hospital wth doctors and nurses on staff and emergency room facilities. in the case of serious illness, we would arrange transport and accompany you to it. we will also call parents as soon as possible to notify and ask for their desired course of action. in the case of routine illness (e.g. cold, flu, stomach illness), we support participants with basic health advice and over-the-counter medications approved on their health form. at our welcoming and orientation session, we'll outline safety procedures including emergency contacts, hospitals, and emergency procedures. we'll make sure everyone understands these procedures. each participant’s family will provide the proper release forms so that should medical attention be needed, we'll be authorized to act on your child’s behalf.
  • do I need health insurance?
    a little alaska requires all participants carry health insurance. this can be in the form of regular health insurance from the U.S., a supplementary travel insurance policy purchased by the participant, and even some credit cards offer types of trip coverage. we do not require, but do recommend, checking your policy to see if air ambulance service is included. in the event a participant needs more extensive care than what's available in Cordova, air ambulance (helicopter) would transport the patient to Anchorage. if medevac service isn't included with your current policy, you can purchase it separately.
  • what if I have asthma, allergies, or diabetes?"
    please make sure to note your condition in the online application and and we'll discuss it during the videoconference.
  • how do I keep in touch with people Outside while in a little alaska?
    in alaska, we refer to anywhere not in alaska as "Outside". the town of Cordova has wifi and roaming data service, although when we're out exploring or if we spend a night in a cabin like this one, we may be out of range for part of a day and night. each participant is encouraged to bring devices with videoconferencing capabilities to keep family at home up to date. if you don’t have a device or these capabilities, we're happy to work with you to use ours. depending on the participant’s communication style, parents may reasonably expect to hear from participants on a frequent basis and are free to contact them.
  • do participants help with cooking, dishes and cleaning?"
    you bet! we’re all in this together.
  • are there opportunities to volunteer?
    why yes there are and we're glad you asked. Cordova has a strong tradition of community and environmental interdependence. we plan to spend at least part of one day giving back to the community. examples include pulling invasive weeds for the Copper River Watershed Project, chopping wood for a neighbor in need.
  • what's the weather like in Cordova?
    there's a saying up in a little alaska: "there's no bad weather, only bad clothing". there's rain, and then there's Cordova RAIN. we live in a temperate rain forest so our activities take the weather into consideration. wet conditions lead to activities like a hike among the big spruces, which keep things drier, or an exploration of the Illanka Cultural Museum which (along with hundreds of artifacts) has one of the few fully intact Orca whale skeleton displays in the world. we also have plenty of inside activities such as canning salmon, making jam, playing games, and making music. and really, once you suit up and get outside...it's usually not as bad as you think.
  • does the sun set in summer?
    if you are in Utqiaġvikthe sun doesn’t set for 60 days! but we're about 600 miles south of Utqiaġvik and the sun does set around 11pm and rises again right before 5am. it's a long twilight and doesn’t start to get very dark at night until mid-august. it catches us by surprise every year when we sit down to dinner thinking it's around 7pm then realize it’s well after 10pm.
  • i have a question that wasn't answered
    ask away! send an email to summer@alittlealaska.com or give Molly a call or text at 907 831-9146.
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