What is STEP?

Skills Training for Emergency Preparedness (STEP) is a 4-week outdoor adventure program for young ladies ages 15 and older, hosted once a year by the International ALERT Academy. STEP is designed to build confidence on individual and team levels, while preparing young ladies to respond to life’s emergencies, as they learn to put their trust in the Lord.

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Who can come to STEP?

Any young lady who will turn 15 by the end of STEP is welcome to apply.

Is there an upper age limit?

There’s no upper age cutoff for STEP participation, but most STEP students are between 15 and 19 years old.

What if I’m too late and registration fills up?

About 60 young ladies attend STEP every summer, but our facilities are equipped to handle many more, so don’t worry; we’ve got room for you!

How physically fit should I be before coming?

Whether you’re a lifelong athlete or you just prefer an occasional walk on a sunny day, STEP will challenge you to be more active than ever. For ideas on how to get ready for four weeks of running, hiking, and more, check out Preparing for STEP.

How much does it cost?

Tuition, room and board for STEP is $1,495 if your payment is postmarked by May 1, and $1,595 thereafter. 

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

If two sisters attend STEP in the same year, one is eligible for a 15% discount. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer scholarships to STEP students.

Can you accommodate dietary differences?

Our dining hall features a serving line staffed by our kitchen volunteers, so students can refuse any foods that are not appropriate for them, and there are always plenty of options. Please let us know about any dietary restrictions ahead of time, using the Medical History Form on page 10 of the STEP application.

How do you handle prescription or over-the-counter medications?

Students may store vitamins, supplements, and most over-the-counter medications with their personal gear. Prescription medications and homeopathic remedies are turned in to team leaders for safekeeping, but are available to you upon request; plus, your team leader will help you keep track of your doses. If you use an epi-pen or inhaler, we ask that you bring two: one to keep with you at all times, and one for our staff to have on hand as a back-up.

What if I get sick or need a doctor during STEP?

We have a number of paramedics on staff; they will advise and administer treatment for most minor injuries. At your parents’ direction we will seek further medical attention locally if needed, so be sure to submit your insurance information when you apply.

How hot does it get in Texas during the summer?

Texas weather varies significantly from year to year; summer temperatures can range from the low 80’s to over 100 degrees. Our staff closely monitors the weather, and if an outdoor event can’t be done safely, we’ll reschedule it for another day.

What should I bring with me?

Everything you’ll need can be found on the STEP Packing List.

What’s your policy on skirts vs. pants?

STEP students will need both. Skirts are worn whenever possible, to encourage girls to remain feminine in an active lifestyle. Pants are required for certain activities (such as rappelling) for safety and practicality reasons. We’ll let you know what to wear for each scheduled activity.

Where can I find khaki skirts that are the right length?

Skirts must cover the knees while sitting, even with knees crossed. Wal-Mart, Chadwicks, and thrift stores generally carry a selection of the right sizes.

My friend is coming to STEP with me. Can we be roommates?

If you’d like to room with a friend during STEP, let us know when you apply. In some cases, we may place you in the same suite though not in the same room; we want to ensure that you both have a chance to bond with your whole team.

Can I bring my cell phone?

We want to provide all our students with an environment that’s free from distractions, so they can focus on learning more about God and getting to know each other better. You can bring your phone with you, but you’ll only need it when you call home to catch up with your family, mostly on weekends. The rest of the time, it will be checked in with your group leader; that way, you won’t have to worry about it getting dropped or lost on a trail somewhere.

Can my family visit me?

We ask families to keep in touch with their daughters through letters and phone conversations while they’re here; unfortunately, we’ve found that in-person visits not only disrupt an already-packed schedule, but often contribute to homesickness.

What girls are saying

International ALERT Academy

Statement of Faith

The International ALERT Academy affirms the cardinal doctrines of Scripture that have been defended by historic statements of faith. These include the divine inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the original sin nature of man, the atonement for sin by Christ’s shed blood, and the justification by faith in Jesus as the Christ.

We also believe that a complete and inspired statement of faith was given by Jesus Christ when He taught precise commands on how to love God and others, and that these commands transcend all cultures, nationalities, religions, and political systems.