We are thrilled that your child will be attending San Mateo Outdoor Education. In addition to academic learning, the program provides a unique opportunity for students to develop self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and social responsibility. Students take care of themselves by making their beds, caring for their clothes, and keeping themselves clean. They work as part of a team by setting up meals, cleaning the dining hall, and creating their cabin skit performance. The opportunity for new friendships and the spirit of cooperation make the week at Jones Gulch a memorable social and educational experience.

Prior to Outdoor Education, a naturalist visits your child's school and provides a presentation to help prepare them for the experience. You are welcome to attend this session, but please note that the presentation is designed to be student-focused. Your child's school may also offer a parent information session.

We want to assure you that your child will be safe and cared for at Outdoor Education. Your child will be supervised at all times by their cabin leader, naturalist, or teacher. Our Healthcare Specialist, providing medical supervision 24 hours a day, is responsible for dispensing any necessary medication and will contact you if your child experiences any health problems while at Outdoor Education.

It is not unusual for some students to miss their families and homes for the first few hours at Outdoor Education. You can help prepare your child for their time away from home by communicating your enthusiasm and excitement. Promises to retrieve your child if they are unhappy are generally counterproductive. Children who believe that parent pick-up is an option do not adjust well to their new surroundings. Full benefit of the Outdoor Education experience requires uninterrupted attendance. For more notes on homesickness and separation, please consult Advice For Being Away From Home.

A week at Outdoor Education is a once in a lifetime experience that your child will always remember. The learning and excitement shared with friends and classmates is often mentioned by graduating high school students as a highlight of their school years. Thank you for helping the Outdoor Education staff and teachers make this the best possible experience for your child.

Welcome to the World of San Mateo Outdoor Education

The San Mateo County Office of Education conducts an award-winning Outdoor Education program in cooperation with local schools and the San Francisco YMCA Camp at Jones Gulch, nestled in the Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains in La Honda, California.

Mark Nolan

Director, Outdoor Environmental Education

Email: mnolan@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-9581

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