Cabin leaders play a crucial role in our weeklong residential outdoor school for fifth and sixth graders. They are responsible for the safety and well-being of a cabin group, assisting naturalists on the trail, supervising shower and mealtime, and facilitating a cabin skit. Cabin leaders come from high schools all over San Mateo County and take a week off school to participate in the program. Cabin leaders generally receive community service credit for their week at Outdoor Ed. Please check with your high school coordinator.

Being a cabin leader is a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding experience. Cabin leaders learn invaluable leadership skills while making new friends and exploring the natural environment. Many cabin leaders have said that their week at Outdoor Ed was a life-changing experience. If you are a high school student in San Mateo County, we encourage you to contact your school representative and join us for an amazing week at Outdoor Education!

Cabin Leader Registration

Cabin Leader Handbook

Medical Form

What Is a Cabin Leader?

Cabin leaders take on the most challenging and important role at San Mateo Outdoor Education (SMOE). You will live with the students, organize activities for your cabin, and assist with hikes and evening programs. Being a cabin leader is a demanding and very rewarding task. For one week, children will become the highest priority in your life. Successful cabin leaders enjoy children and are enthusiastic; responsible and organized; good at communicating with people; positive role models for children; willing to explore and enjoy nature; open-minded; firm, fair, and friendly with children; and willing to ask for help when needed.

Your Responsibilities

As a cabin leader at Outdoor Education, you and a co-cabin leader will be assigned a cabin of 12 to 16 students to oversee. Your job will be to ensure your students' safety and guide them through their weeklong stay at our program. Cabin leaders become members of a team, along with teachers and naturalists, who work together to create a positive learning community for the students. The three most important roles of a cabin leader are:

  1. Oversee the students at all times. Children must always be with a leader. You must watch your students continuously to make sure that they are safe and following rules.
  2. Be a positive role model. Students are easily influenced by the behavior of their high school leader. You need to provide your students with a mature figure they can look up to.
  3. Set a firm tone. Students need structure to guide their behavior. You must become a leader for the cabin, not a friend. You will have to enforce rules and follow through with appropriate discipline when necessary.

Good role models participate in activities, wear appropriate clothing, display enthusiasm, listen to announcements, follow rules, act respectfully towards teachers, are polite in the Dining Hall, and are considerate of people's feeling. Remember, children come to Outdoor Education with high expectations of what will happen during the week. Outdoor Education is a unique experience in the lives of our students. You can match their feelings with your own enthusiasm and eagerness, and a positive, mature attitude.

For detailed explanations on discipline, counseling, and conflict resolution, please see your Cabin Leader Handbook (coming soon). You will also be trained on these important details upon your arrival at Outdoor Education.

Information for Cabin Leaders

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