Program Policies

Program policies are subject to change without notice. 
Updated: November 2022

Jump to CANCELLATION POLICIES
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CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICIES

  • Mount St. Helens Institute reserves the right to cancel, postpone or change the venue, date and time of a program should unforeseen circumstances occur, such as severe weather, unhealthy air quality, or other circumstances. 
     
  • In the event that Mount St. Helens Institute must change the date and time of a program, MSHI will provide program participants with as much advance notice as possible.
  • In the event that MSHI must cancel a scheduled program, participants will receive a full refund.
     
  • In the event that a program participant cancels their registration, the participant will be held to MSHI's program-specific cancellation policy below. All program changes and cancellations must be made in writing. 
  • When a registrant cancels, it is often too late to fill the space. As a small nonprofit, cancellations have a financial impact on our organization and staff. These policies help us maximize opportunities for participants and sustain our organization. 
    • Guided Adventures, Volcano Naturalist, Base Camp, Summer Camps, & Family Programs
      • 60 or more days prior to the program start date will receive a full refund minus credit card processing fees
      • 60 days or less from the program start date will receive a 50% refund minus credit card processing fees
      • 30 days or less from the program start date will not be refunded. We may be able to convert your fee to a donation
      • If we are able to fill your space with someone on the waitlist, or you know someone who would like to take your place, you will receive a full refund minus credit card processing fees. 
      • Refunds are issued to the original payment method. We recommend purchasing trip insurance.
    • Volcano Outdoor School & Facility Rentals
      • 90 days or more prior to the event will not be penalized​​​
      • Less than 90 days prior to the event will be charged 50% of the Agreement Invoice
      • Less than 30 days prior to the event will be charged 75% of the Agreement Invoice
    • Online/Virtual Youth Programs 
      No refunds will be provided for a cancellation or no-show. Date exchanges require at least 24-hours advance notice by email (learn@mshinstitute.org).
  • Mount St. Helens Institute shall not be liable for any direct, or indirect, consequential or special costs (damages) that may be incurred due to a program cancellation or dismissal, including, but not limited to, airfare, hotel expenses, cancellation penalties and any other private expenses.
     
  • None of the following will result in a refund of any program fees: illness, injury, homesickness, change of family/school plans, dismissal from the program, inability to complete the program and/or personal schedule conflicts/changes.


PARTICIPATION POLICIES

  • Mount St. Helens Institute programs proceed in rain and unpleasant weather unless it compromises the safety of the group. Appropriate gear, clothing and footwear are very important for ensuring comfort.
     
  • Due to changing weather and terrain conditions and the pace/skill of a group’s program participants, Mount St. Helens Institute cannot and does not guarantee programs will be completed as advertised.
     
  • All program participants (or their parent/guardian) must complete and return a Participant Agreement & Information Form before the beginning of the program.
     
  • Program participants must abide by the rules and instructions given either verbally or in writing by the Mount St. Helens Institute or its designated employee(s). Violation of any of the following participation policies are grounds for dismissal.
     
    • Unlawful conduct is prohibited. Participants must abide by the rules and regulations of the US Forest Service.
       
    • Alcohol is not allowed during programs unless otherwise approved by MSHI.
       
    • Any and all illegal or recreational drugs including, but not limited to, cannabis are not allowed on federal land or during an MSHI program at any time, for any reason.
       
    • Smoking and vaping are not permitted during programs.
       
    • Weapons including, but not limited to, handguns, rifles, shotguns or other firearms; knives, butterfly knives, switchblade knives, daggers; martial arts weapons or implements; explosives; and stun guns or Taser devices, are prohibited. Possession or use of any weapon is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
       
    • Inappropriate conversation or personal conduct; bullying, assault or inappropriate physical conduct; offensive behavior or remarks toward other participants or Mount St. Helens Institute employees and/or volunteers, including use of racial, religious or sexual slurs and/or intimidation are strictly prohibited.
       
    • Theft or vandalism is prohibited.
       
    • Participants or groups must obtain additional permits for some activities including alcohol service (WA State Banquet Permit) and Commercial Uses within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
       
  • Pets are prohibited on Mount St. Helens Institute programs. Service animals are permitted, in designated areas and/or as otherwise permitted by controlling law; please communicate with MSHI about your needs.
     
  • All program participants are responsible for their own health and accident insurance
     
  • Program participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the program site, unless otherwise provided by MSHI.
     
  • Mount St. Helens Institute shall not be held liable for any direct, or indirect, consequential or special costs (damages) that may be incurred due to a program cancellation or dismissal, including, but not limited to, airfare, hotel expenses, cancellation penalties and any other private expenses.
     
  • The Mount St. Helens Institute or US Forest Service and their employees and volunteers are not responsible for the storage, care, custody, or control of equipment, materials or furnishings owned by participants.

HEALTH & SAFETY

  • Physical and psychological safety is our number one priority. Our staff are competent instructors and are trained to make safe and inclusive decisions in the field and at our facilities.
     
  • COVID-19: MSHI monitors COVID-19 Community Levels and adheres to all relevant public health guidance and requirements, including that of the local health jurisdictions. We recommend but do not require vaccinations. We also support each individual's decision to practice social distancing, wearing a mask and opting out of carpools. 
     
    • All Programs: If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home. If you have recently been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, please wear a mask.
       
    • Overnight Outdoor School: we recommend that group coordinators bring COVID-19 rapid tests for use during outdoor school. 
       
    • Overnight youth camps: we recommend that all campers receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at camp.
       
  • Our facilities are permitted through the Cowlitz County Department of Health.