Raising Funds to Participate in the Outdoor Education Program

Each school determines the cost to students to attend Outdoor Education. Teachers may decide to raise money as a school or class to offset or eliminate the program costs for families. Students participating in tuition fundraising often feel unique ownership of their week at Outdoor Education and a sense of pride for their school or class accomplishment.

When choosing a fundraiser, consider the overall costs and profit and the number of hours involved. Fundraisers should avoid competing with other groups, and should reflect the needs of the community (e.g. door-to-door versus one-time event). Successful fundraising requires the establishment of a parent- or teacher-led group that will define tasks, responsibilities, and goals for the fundraiser. Lotteries and raffles are illegal unless tickets are for a donation or are free. School districts are not authorized to conduct bingo games. Check with your school or school district office for a fundraising policy prior to planning a fundraiser.

Fundraising Resources

Packing List

Be sure to bring rain gear, as wet weather can occur at any time of the year. Do not bring alcoholic beverages, televisions, or DVD players.

While there may be some time for grading of papers, Outdoor Education is meant to be a time of experiential, tactile, and mobile learning. We encourage shared practice over the completion of conventional school tasks.

If teachers MUST be off-campus during any part of the week due to an evening class, professional obligation, etc., they are required to make arrangements with their principal and request a replacement teacher who will assume responsibilities in their absence. A ratio of one teacher per class for each school district attending is required to be on site at all times. Questions regarding scheduling, sharing of instructor duties, and accommodation of special circumstances can be directed to the Site Director or staff at (650) 747-0414.

Pre-Outdoor Education Classroom Activities

Student Survey

Please have the students complete the Pre-Outdoor Education survey the month before your school attends the Outdoor Education Program.

Addressing and Preventing Homesickness

Outdoor Education is often a child's first time away from home, so it is normal for a few students to feel homesick. Before your students leave for Outdoor Education, take time to discuss with your class being away from home. Create positive expectations and answer their questions and concerns. Let the students know that they will be busy participating in activities and collecting experiences that will make their return home even more exciting. Please be prepared to answer parent questions about homesickness and contact us if you have any questions. Below are some techniques we commonly employ with homesick students:

  • Encourage homesick students to write a letter home about all the fun things they are doing at Outdoor Education.
  • Assign a special job (such as Time Keeper, Banana Slug Protector, Fungus Counter, Binoculars Carrier, etc.) to occupy a homesick student during day hikes.
  • Read stories to students prior to bedtime to help students fall asleep.
  • Ensure that homesick students sleep in a bunk nearby a good friend or a cabin leader.
  • Assign hiking groups or meal tables so that homesick students have a good friend in their group. (Homesick students may also be assigned to a hiking group with their cabin leader and cabin naturalist for consistency and familiarity.)
  • Share with currently homesick students letters written by former students who overcame their reservations and enjoyed a successful week at Outdoor Education. Homesick students are invited to write their own letters to add to the collection.

Pre-Outdoor Education Curriculum

An important part of the Outdoor Education program starts in your classroom before the students go to Jones Gulch and continues after they return to the classroom. It is important that the students are prepared for Outdoor Education before they actually arrive. For this reason, we have included a vocabulary list below and a number of activities that can be used in your classroom.

Two vital areas should be covered before arriving at Outdoor Education. First, the vocabulary list contains essential words in bold type that your students should be familiar with when they arrive. You can use this list with teaching methods that work best in your classroom. In addition, it is important that all students think about their own behavior and impact on the environment before they arrive at Outdoor Education. To guide this process, we have included an activity titled "Naturally Good Manners" for you to use with your class in the weeks before Outdoor Education.

Mark Nolan

Director, Outdoor Environmental Education

Email: mnolan@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 747-9581

Steve Van Zandt

Manager, Outdoor Education

Email: svanzandt@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 747-0414

Cindy Matsuyama

Administrative Assistant, Outdoor Education Information and Registration

Email: cmatsuyama@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5360